June 26, 2010

The Park on Vembanad Lake

An enchanting picnic spot not too far away from Trivandrum, Kumarakom is a backwater tourism destination, where one can boat, fish and just watch the Kerala countryside. Kumarakom on the Vembanad Lake is fascinating. Interspersed with lush green mangrove forests, paddy fields that stretch out far into the horizon and rows and rows of coconut palms that criss-cross the backwater canals, the little village of Kumarakom is in reality a group of small islands.

Vembanad Lake Tour

Kumarakom is part of Kerala's rice bowl, the Kuttanad region and is ideal for backwater cruises. A beautiful backwater spot within hailing distance of Kumarakom is the 14-acre bird sanctuary on the eastern banks of the Vembanad Lake. The sanctuary named after the village is a favorite haunt of migratory birds. There are egrets, darters, herons, teals, waterfowls, cuckoos, wild ducks and Siberian storks. The best way to watch the birds in the Kumarakom sanctuary is a boat trip round the islands.

A boat ride into the countryside can offer a close look at the life in the villages. There are fishermen in their small boats looking for fish while the women, neck-deep in water, search for the shy but tasty Karimeen fish with their feet. Or you could stay awake at night when fishermen glide over the dark waters with a flaming torch in their left hand and a net in their right. The fish, attracted by the light, are scooped up in the net.

One can cruise down the Kumarakom backwaters in houseboats, which have a living room, a bedroom, a bath and a private sit-out for passengers. A number of these houseboats are joined together to become boat trains to facilitate larger groups of visitors.
Vembanad Lake

One of Asia's largest freshwater lakes, the Vembanad Kayal, as it is locally known, is a giant reservoir and a major ecological resource. The dense vegetation on its banks is a wonderful sight. The boats that ply on the lake vary from the large cargo carriers with mat-roofs to the houseboats.

Reaching Kumarakom: 

The best way to reach Kumarakom is by boat. Reach Quilon or Kollam, just an hour away from Trivandrum and then take the regular ferry service through the backwaters to Alleppey from where Kumarakom is just a short distance away.

The way to Kumarakom is through the Muhamma Boat Jetty, which is around 170 km from the Trivandrum International Airport. By railways, take a train to Kottayam, which is only 16 km by road. The other way is through Cochin, from where one must take a south-bound train to Chertala on the route to Alleppey. Chertala is 14 km away from Kumarakom.

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