Kumarakom is situated in Kottayam District, in Kerala State, in India; it is on the west of Kottayam, and on the north east of Alappuzha (Alleppey). The total area of Kumarakom is 52 Sq.Kms. (12,844 Acres) out of the above, 24 Sq.Km. is part of Lake Vembanad, 16 Sq.Km. is Paddy fields, the area of the settlement of the village is only 12 Sq.Kms.The whole of western, southern and part of northern boundary of Kumarakom is Lake Vembanad. Kumarakom was a very small place till 18th Century; major part of Kumarakom was reclaimed from Lake Vembanad, by using the sand from the lake. Kumarakom comprises of reclaimed land, lot of canals, Meenachil River and lake Vembanad.
How to Reach
- By Road: Kumarakom is only 10Km from Kottayam Town, 22 Km from Cherthala,22 Km. from Vaikom,35 Km from Alappuzha,65 Km from Ernakulam/Kochi, 280Km from Kozhikode, and 178Km from Trivandrum.
- By Rail: Kottayam Railway Station, Cherthala, Alappuzha or Ernakulam Railway Station
- By Air: Nedumassery International Airport at Kochi,in Ernakulam Dist., Karippur International Airport at Kozhikode and Trivandrum International Airport at Trivandrum.
- By Water:Muhamma, Allappuzha, Ernakulam/Kochi and Kollam
History of Kumarakom
Millions of years back Kumarakom and lake Vembanad was part of Arabian Sea, you can see the similarity of the sand in the sea and the same in Kumarakom & the lake Vembanad. A Tsunami like incident had taken place and a costal land formed in between Sea and Kottayam, thus Alappuzha, Kumarakom and the lake Vembanad formed. Till around 18th Century there was no change for the shape of Kumarakom or the lake Vembanad.But since then Farmers, reclaimed thousands of acres of land from lake Vembanad to 20th century, for cultivating mainly Rice and Coconut Trees.
Kumarakom is very fameous-why?
Kumarakom Village is a world famous Tourist Destination, Well known for its back waters, three sides of Kumarakom, is surrounded by Lake Vembanad, and also Meenachil river is flowing through Kumarakom.Lobsters and Pearl Spot Fish ( Karimeen) from Lake Vembanad is very tasty, backwater cruising in House Boats, Motor Boats, Speed Boats and Country Boats, are very enjoyable, up and down Ferry Service to Muhamma, Birds Sanctuary visit, Sight Seeing in Kumarakom by water and road will be a unique experience,Kumarakom is very close to Pathiramanal,Well connected by Roads, from Kottayam, Alappuzha,Ernakulam/Kochi and also by water transportation, Many Resorts and Hotels including Five Star Deluxe Resort, Five Star Resort, Four Star Resorts, Budget Resorts/Hotels, Lake side Cottages, Home Stays, Agricultural Research Centre, two famous Boat Races in Kumarakom and two very famous Boat Clubs, which have won many times, Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race, held in Alappuzha, Road access to Munnar and Thekkady, there is only 10 Km. to Kottayam Railway Station,35 Km to Alappuzha, 85 Km. to Nedumbassery International Airport at Kochi.140 Km.to Thekkady and 165 Km to Munnar
This is the largest Backwater of Kerala, which extends from Alappuzha in the south and Thrissur on the north and its length is 97 Km. The lake has maximum width of about 8 km. and is about 4 to 26 feet deep. Four Rivers mainly Meenachil, Manimala, Pampa and Achankovil directly drain to this lake .The total area of the Vembanad Lake is 13,224 Hector (32,700 Acres) Fascinating Lake Vembanad is the main attraction of Kumarakom, the maximum length and the breadth of the lake is visible from Kumarakom , As the Arabian Sea is on the west of Kumarakom, there is always very good breeze and the waves in the lake, which is more on the Kumarakom side than other places.
Beautiful Sun set can be experienced from Kumarakom, Watch the house boats, motor boats, speed boats, country boat and fishermen’s boat sail past. Unique scenery, through out the day, and also the breeze and the waves of the beautiful lake. Joyous sights of the sunset, stars, moon set. Watch the beautiful sight of the lights and fire works on the western side of the lake and the stars in the sky during the night. Enjoy the rainy season by experiencing the rain coming from far away and also the breeze and the waves of the lake, natures live sound and light show of thunder and lightning at night. Vellavaley–fishermen catching the pearl spot fish by the bare hand.
Kumarakom Backwater Cruising
Kumarakom backwaters are one of the best backwaters for backwater cruising, in a House Boat, Motorboat, and Speedboat or in a Country boat. The main cruising area in the lake is around 20 Kms. long and around 8 Kms. breadth. You can enjoy the beautiful Resorts on the lake Side of Kumarakom, Bird sanctuary, Fish sanctuary, St.Peters church, Beautiful Cross constructed in the Lake, the Pathiramanal Island, R Block,C Block, Alleppey Backwaters, Punnamada, Finishing Point of Nehru Trophy Snake boat Race Etc. Cruising through Kumarakom Backwaters is excellent, as you can enjoy the breeze and waves of the lake vembanad, and also the sun set. You can view the fishing by the fishermen and also the unique fishing by hand, called the Vellavali.
House Boat cruise for 2 hours will be enjoyable and full day House Boat cruising will provide the best experience of the Unique Kumarakom Backwaters.
Motor boat cruising through the lake and the canals will give the full experience of Kumarakom village and Speed Boat cruising through the lake through the wind and the waves of the great Vembanad Lake will give memorable experience, country boating for few hours will be totally different experience. Sun Set cruising in a House Boat, Motor Boat and country boat will provide one of the best backwater experiences.
Pathiramanal Island (Midnight Sand)
Pathiramanal is a beautiful island in the Vembanad Lake it lies on the boarder of Kumarakom.There is only 30 minutes journey in a Motor Boat and only 10 minutes journey by a Speed boat from Kumarakom to Pathiramanal, and from Alappuzha it will take more than 2 hours to reach Pathiramanal by motor boat and 45 minutes in a speed boat .The Island covers an area of 68 Hectares (168 Acres)
There is a legendary story regarding the creation of this island, One famous Brahmin who possessed supernatural powers was travelling through Vembanad lake in a country Boat. During the travel the Brahmin wanted to pass urine,but passing urine in the lake water was considered a sin .So with his supernatural power he created an island called pathiramanal ( Mid- night- sand) in the lake.
The undisturbed atmosphere of the island provides favoured breeding ground for various Birds.This island has its own unique flora with rare plants like crocodile apple, various climbers,mangrove,medicinal plants etc.
There are 180 species of birds are found in the Kumarakom bird sanctuary, the story of the bird sanctuary begins in the year 1847,when Mr Alfred George Baker started developing a vast area of Vembanad Lake shore at Kumarakom.he planted Mangrove bushes and created a green belt on the lake shore to protect his land and crops. He also kept an area of about ten acres of land with mangroves to accommodate local as well as migratory birds coming from far off regions. No one was allowed to enter the area to disturb the birds. A permanent Bird sanctuary was thus formed which may be the first of its kind in the country. There is a walkway of around two and a half km. through the bird’s sanctuary, to view the birds. Kumarakom Birds Sanctuary is at the northern border of kumarakom and it is only 4 km. from Kumarakom Govt. Boat Jetty.
North eastern side of the lake Vembanad near to the bird sanctuary, a protected fish sanctuary for pearl spot fish ( Karimeen),(Etroplus suratensis)the first of its kind in India, was established in Open vembanad Lake,on an experimental basis.A variety of nest and reef substrates were dsposited on the floor of the lake to provide artificial nesting surfaces for karimeen. Half split coconut shells,large boulders of laterite blocks ,specially designed cement concrete tetra pods and piles of coconut trees were used as paaru and reefs simulating breeding habitats for fish in this open lake sanctuary.
Drift Wood Museum
Bay Island Driftwood Museum, is on the northern side of Kumarakom and close to Birds sanctuary, is a thrilling experience for the explorers,since 2001. It is owned, designed, established and operated by a woman artiste, a retired school teacher Smt.Raji.Punnoose. It displays beautiful blend of nature’s creativity and rarely seen objects. She painstakingly recovered these rare objects from the Andaman Seas, The artefacts created and sustained by the sea waves for millennia weighing many tons big and small collected improvised are exhibited over here. Government of Kerala awarded its prestigious most innovative tourism project award in 2004.
The museum provides a unique learning experience of immense natural heritage and scientific value. These are wonderful pieces of art of the Mother Nature, collected while floating on the shores in the Bay of Bengal near Andaman & Nicobar Islands, aged millions of years, seasoned in the ocean for centuries and moulded as sculptures through hydrodynamic process by the sea waves.
Regional Agricultural Research Station
The Coconut Research Station, Kumarakom was established in the year 1947 to cater the research needs of coconut in the reclaimed alluvial soils of Kuttanad. 24 hectares of land required for establishing the station was obtained from the R.B.A. Baker. This was upgraded the status of a Regional Agricultural Research Station in 1982.The total geographical area of the farm attached to the RARS is 45 hectares’.
Objectives of the Station: The main objective of the station was originally to conduct research on coconut and coconut based cropping systems with special reference to coconut diseases. Now the Station is conducting the problem oriented location specific research on all crops in the special Zone (5254 Sq.Kms. in Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, and Thrissur) of the problem areas. The main mandate of the station is research on coconut and coconut based farming systems and integrated farming.
Lead Function: Coconut and Coconut based farming system, Rice in Kayallands, Karappadam, and crop-livestock-fish integrated system.
Crops: The bulk of the land area is planted with coconut(20 hectares.)Rice occupies an area of 3 hectares, the other important crops grown are banana,vegetables,garcinia,clove,nutmeg,cocoa,pepper and fodder grass.1.50 hectares is utilized for culture of fish and prawns.
Staff: When the Coconut Research Station was established in 1947,it had a strength of 2 scientists and a few supporting staff. Now there are 10 Scientists,11 ministerial and technical staff and 31 labourers.
Projects: The station operates a number of research projects funded by different agencies.
Agriculture Farm & Sales Centre: Lot of vegetables seeds, fruit trees, Ayurvedic plants, & spices plants, coconut trees & Palm trees are sold here.
Kumarakom Boat Races
Kumarakom, is very famous for it’s Boat clubs and the Boat Races. Sree Narayana Jayanthi Public Boat Race and Kavanattinkara Public boat Race are held during the Kerala’s festival of Onam holidays. More over there is Kottayam Boat Race is also held every year during the Onam Festival. Many types of Boats including Snake Boats participate in the race.
Kumarakom Boat Clubs
Kumarakom Boat Club and Kumarakom Town Boat Club are the most popular Boat Clubs, in Kerala which won many trophies in many boat races and also they got the Nehru Trophy for the Snake Boat Race held every year in Alappuzha ,consecutively for many times.
Illikkalam Puthen Chundenvallam (Snake Boat)
Illikalam puthen chunden vallam was constructed in June 2009 and kumarakam town boat club will be participating in the Nehru trophy boat race at Alappuza on 8th august 2009. 1300 C.Feet of Anjally and Teak wood is used for the construction of this Chundan Vallom,in addition to 350 kg.of iron,30Kg. brass. 115 people will participate in this boat for the boat race. Trials for the Boat Race will start from 15th July and most of the boat races start from August to October, in every year.
Banks & ATM
a) State Bank of Travancore with ATM facility is in the Illikkalam Chambers, which is on the main road of Kumarakom, in between Kumarakom Govt Boat Jetty and Kumarakom Market Junction,. This only one and half Km. from Illikkalam Lake Resort.
b) South Indian Bank with ATM facility is situated near the St.Johns Attamangalam Jacobite Syrian Church, after Kumarakom Market Junction
c) ATM of Catholic Syrian Bank is situated on the way to Kumarakom Birds sanctuary.
One is situated is in the Illikkalam Chambers, near State Bank of Travancore’s ATM and generally open from 8am to 9 Pm
This is situated in the Illikkalam Chambers, behind State Bank of Travancore which is on the main road of Kumarakom, in between Kumarakom Govt Boat Jetty and Kumarakom Market Junction, This only one and half Km. from Illikkalam Lake Resort.
Working time is from 8am to 5 pm and is situated on the back side of State Bank of Travancore.
Old Curiosity Shop
Location -about 4 Kms. from Govt.Boat Jetty, This is in a two storied building on the main road, after the birds Sanctuary and the Kavanar bridge.Tel No.0481-2526160
Antiques,Handicrafts,Spices,lot of old Kerala vessels, equipments, Coats and different types of chairs, fancy items, Books on Ayurveda etc are available over here.
Kerala State Beverages Corporation
They have an out let, which is very close to Kumarakom Boat Jetty and usually it works from 10am to 9pm, and will be closed on 1st of every month, and on national holidays.
It is only 100 meters south of Kumarakom Market Junction, and the Telephone number is +91481 2524339.
Thanneermukkham Salt Water Barrage
This is only 12 Kms. away from Kumarakom by road, and it is on the north west of Kumarakom, only 15 minutes in a Speed Boat, one and half hour in a House boat or in a Motor Boat. Its length is 1400 meters and have 62 shutters at both ends ,470 meter long reclaimed portion in the middle and the western and eastern portion with 470 meters each at both sides with 31 shutters on each side were completed in 1967.The construction of the remaining middle part was completed in 1977.These 62 shutters were fitted on the northern side of the bridge to control the entry of saline water from Arabian Sea to the southern part of the barrage to facilitate two crops of paddy in a year.
The original decision was to keep the shutters of the barrier open for the period from 31st March to 15th December (9 months) every year after the harvest of punja crop.
The major objective of this project was to prevent the intrusion of salinity to the lake vembanad during summer to enable a second paddy crop in every year.
Mr John Abraham,Illikkakam ,Kumarakom wrote in Malayalam Manorama daily an article vehemently criticising the project .He said that the project would upset the balance of nature and prevent tidal flow causing water pollution and health problems.
Vellavali-Unique Type of Fishing.
One of the very strange way of fishing in this region is Vellavali, and only one type of fish called, Karimeen (Pearl spot) is caught by bare hand by fishermen by this way of fishing called Vellavali. Karimeen is a popular fish and is generally found in the Backwaters of Kerala. It is a very tasty fish and usually it may grow more than 200 grams and the general size will be the size of a human palm, but it is having bones also.
Small wooden country boat is used for the fishing, and in each Country Boat 5 to 7 people will be there for catching the fish in the backwaters. They will carry minimum 3 long bamboo poles; one man will use one of the poles from the backside of the Country Boat for moving the same and others will use oars to move into the pre planned fishing spot.
They will carry a long Valli (Unique fishing equipment) of around 85 Mar (475 Feet),this Valli was formerly made up of long thick coir and the tender coconut leaf. Thousands of the same leaf after removing the mid-rib will be attached to the Valli, each leaf will have average 1 inch thickness and 2 to 2.5 feet length. This leaf will be attached with the distance of up to 8 inch. Now a day’s plastic is being used for the coir and for the leaf.
Two men will tie each end of the Valli just above their hip and will take one bamboo pole each and they will jump down from the country boat to the water and they will start their forward movement by walking, swimming or jumping with the help of the pole,and they will keep the distance of around 75 feet, thus they will drag the Valli in a U shape through the down of the water. Two to three persons will be following at the back side of the U shaped Valli, they will make sounds with their hands and legs by swimming, beating and cutting into the water
The fish (Karimeen) which is already in the U shaped valli,by seeing the peculiar glittering colour of the leaves of the valli usually get scared and move forward to the back side of the U shaped Valli ,very fast ,but when they reach at the down of the U shaped vally,they will get further scared by hearing the artificial sound of the fishermen diving in the water and immediately they will dip into the mud,to get escaped,when it goes through the mud at the bottom of the water,because of the movements of the back fin,mud will come up in the water.The fisher men at the back ,will be watching this by diving and looking at the bottom,then the fisher men will know immediately where exactly the fish is under the mud and the fisher men will dive into the bottom of the water and with their bare hand ,using only the fingers,they will catch the fish on the head,and dive back to the surface of the water and by keeping the balance in the water by floating ,they will throw the fish into the small country boat ,which may be in the distance of 5 to 25 feet away. One fisher man will be in charge of the country boat, who will try to keep close to the divers so as to enable them to throw the catched fish from the water, very soon into the Country Boat. The divers will go back soon into underground of the water as so many fish will be dipping into the mud again and again till the drawing of the Valli stops by the first two persons. They start their fishing by 8am and stops by 2pm, usually they stop the fishing which depends upon, the climatic condition (Severe breeze & waves and also underground water should be clear, then only the divers can see the movements of the fish) and also depends upon the volume of the catch of the fish. Generally they get from 5 Kg to 20 Kg fish (30 to 120 fish)
The surprising fact is that the diving fishermen even go down up to 24 feet without any diving materials, for catching the Karimeen in this unique way.
Hindu Temples & Deities in Kumarakom
a) Sri Muthen’s Nada Mahadeva Temple
Mahadeva is lord Siva,There are many siva shrines all over kerala.The Mahadeva temples in Vaikom,Kottayam and Ettumanoor are fameous Siva Temples.
Festival-April (4 days before Vishu)
Location—Konchumada, Kumarakom south
b) Thekkumkara Sri Ardhanariswara Temple
Main Idol-siva & Parvathy Sitting together in the same idol having half male and half female.
Location—Pandan bazaar, Kumarakom south
c) Puthiyakavu Devi Temple
There is a shrine dedicated to Bhagavati,in one form or the other,for example ,as bhadrakali,Thampuratti,Annapurnneswari,Durga,Parameswari or dev,in almost every village, and in Kumarakom there is no exception.
Main Idol- Bhadrakali
During festival time ,two days before the hoisting of flag, there will be an artistic performance as part of a religious rite known as THEEYATTU (A kind of ritual worship of Goddess Kali)
Location—Near Govt.High School, Kumarakom South
d) Sri Dharma shasthaTemple & Subrahmanya Temple
Both of this Temple are inside the same wall, This is the first temple in Kumarakom.
Subrahmanyan(Kumaran)/ Sastha (Ayyappan)
Location—Near Govt.High School, Kumarakom South
e) Sri Kumara Mangalam Temple
This famous Temple was consecrated in 1903 by Sri Narayana Guru who has greatly contributed tothe upliftment of the oppressed classes.
Main Idol-subrahmanyan (Kumaran)
Location-Near Kumarakom Location
Christian Churches at Kumarakom
a) St.Johns Vadakkumkara Church
Established in 1760
b)St. Peters Church
Established in 1770
c) St.Johns Vallara Puthen Church
Established in 1841
Location—Opposite of Kumarakom Panchayat Office
d)St.Johns Attamangalam Jacobite Syrian Church
Established in 1853
Location-Near Petrol Pump,Kumarakom
e) All Saints C S I Church
Established in 1894
Established by RG A Baker
f) The Navanazreth Holy Family Church
Established in 1919
Location—Near Konchumada, Kumarakom South
g) St.Johns Orthodox Syrian Christian Church
Established in 1940
Location –Near Petrol Pump, Kumarakom