Situated in Kottayam district in Kerala, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is an ornithologist’s paradise. It is located close to Kumarakom village in Kuttanad region which has become synonymous with backwater tourism in Kerala.
A favourite haunt of migratory birds like the Siberian stork, egret, darter, heron and teal, the sanctuary is situated on the eastern bank of Vembanad Lake and is spread across 14 acres.
Developed in a rubber plantation, Alfred George Baker is believed to have laid the foundations of Kumarakom village and the bird sanctuary by reclaiming 500 acres of wetlands from the Vembanad lake during the 1840s. Baker’s descendant Henry developed the plantation into an attractive bird sanctuary. The sanctuary was formerly known as Baker’s Estate
The main attractions are waterfowl, egret, heron, cormorant and Brahminy kite. Migratory birds from Himalayas and as far away as Siberia make the sanctuary their home during winter between November and May. Siberian cranes are the most prominent visitors to the park.
The breeding season of resident wetland birds such as white ibis, Little cormorant, egrets and herons, Indian Darter, kingfishers, etc. occurs between June and August.
There is no dearth of options to stay in Kumarakom town. A visit to the backwater capital can’t be complete without a stay in the houseboats. Houseboats have single, double or triple bedrooms. Some even have AC. Stay in a houseboat for one day could vary between Rs 7,000-Rs 15,000 in Mar-Oct and between Rs 8,000-17,000 in Nov-Feb. Kumarakom also offers budget, medium range and luxury hotels. Resorts and homestays are also available. A considerable number of the resorts are located in Kumarakom south and Kavanattinkara. Many of the hotels and resorts also have houseboats of their own.
Options to eat in the sanctuary are limited. 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 an epicurean’s delight. Don’t forget to try Karimeen (Pearlspot) curry. From fancy restaurants to shacks selling fresh catch of the day, Kumarakom abounds with eating places to suit every budget. Restaurants and houseboats also offer vegetarian meals served on banana leaves.
Kumarakom experiences tropical climatic condition and can be visited throughout the year. However, temperature rises up to 38 degree Celsius during summers (March to May). June to September is the time of monsoon. The best time to visit Kumarakom sanctuary to watch birds is from June to August. November to February is the best time to watch migratory birds.
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.