Situated 14 km from Kottayam in Kerala, Kumarakom has become synonymous with backwater cruises across the world. A scenic bunch of islands clustered around the Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is about 70 km from Kochi (Cochin). Kumarakom is a part of the Kuttanad region, the rice bowl of Kerala and is surrounded by lush paddy fields crisscrossed by canals and the lake. The Vembanad lake has its maximum length and breadth near Kumarakom.
One school of thought believes Kumarakom is derived from the words kuminja and akam; meaning the land formed by accumulation of sediments. According to another, it is a combination of words Kumara and aham (home); referring to the Lord Kartikeya’s temple.
Alfred George Baker is believed to have laid the foundations of Kumarakom by reclaiming 500 acres of wetlands from the Vembanad lake during the 1840s. Arundhati Roy’s Booker Prize-winning novel The God of Small Things is set in Ayemenem or Aymanam village near Kumarakom. The novel has an British character Kari Saipu, who is modeled on Baker. History House, where Baker lived, still stands on the banks of Vembanad.
The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Aruvikkuzhi Waterfall and Bay Island Driftwood Museum are some of the places to visit when you’re in Kumarakom.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN KUMARAKOM
A visit to the backwater capital can’t be complete without a stay in the houseboats. Houseboats have single, double or triple bedrooms. Some are equipped with air conditioning units. Living in a houseboat for one night could cost you anywhere between Rs 7,000 and Rs 15,000 from March to October and between Rs 8,000 and 17,000 from November to February.
Kumarakom also offers budget, mid-range and luxury hotels. Resorts and homestays are also available. A considerable number of the resorts are located in south Kumarakom and Kavanattinkara. Several hotels and resorts also have houseboats of their own.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN KUMARAKOM
Situated on the banks of Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is a non-vegetarian’s paradise. Prawns, crabs and oysters caught fresh and scooped down with appams or Porottas is a delight. Don’t forget to try Karimeen (Pearls pot) curry. From fancy restaurants to shacks selling fresh catch of the day, Kumarakom abounds with eateries that suit every budget.
BEST TIME TO VISIT KUMARAKOM
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Kumarakom is as given below. The best time to visit Kumarakom is also specified.