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Kumarakom - Adrift On The Backwaters

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Tucked away on the backwaters of Kerala, a vibrant and living network of canals, estuaries and lakes, is a quaint little village called Kumarakom. It is a timeless world where one can luxuriated in the gentle pace of unhurried activity. Here, where the land celebrates the bounty of nature with a riot of vegetation, one may leave the world of strife behind, go fishing with a simple rod and line, admire the grace of local fishermen as they cast their nets with the elegance of dancers… Out on the waters of the Lake Vembanad country crafts, some sporting patchwork sails that balloon in the wind, cruise by.

What makes Kumarakom special is that despite the fact that it has a number of 5-star luxury resorts and hotels it still retains its unsullied beauty. In fact, two properties, the CGH Earth Hotels’ Coconut Lagoon Heritage Resort and the Taj Garden Retreat – one very traditional and the other very colonial – first earned this little hideaway its dot on the tourist map.

The never-ending song of birds remains visitors that they are on the edge of the famous Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary where a number of species from distant Siberia come to roost. In fact a visit to the sanctuary which is populated by wild ducks, geese, tern, cormorants, darters, stocks, herons, crane and a variety of feathered creatures is almost mandatory. Later spoil yourself with an ayurvedic spa treatment and let magic touch of a masseur coaxed the tension out of your knotted muscles.

One of the highlights of a Kumarakom holiday is sailing down the backwaters in houseboats that have been ingeniously grafted onto traditional rice boats knows as kettuvalloms. These two-bedroom crafts are fitted with all modern hotel amenities including bathrooms with running water and onboard kitchens.

Sailing down these magical waters is like drifting into a mysterious world that seemed untouched by time. For the backwaters are in a state of constant flux as the drama of everyday life unfold along its banks: women washing utensils, a buffalo being ferried across in canoes, organ music filtering out of churches along the banks, children enjoying a swim, a politician addressing a rag-tag assembly in rapid fire Malayalam....

Come evening you set off on a sunset cruise and watch the setting sun paint the sky with a flourish of gold and red. The next morning reclaim paradise as it unravelled across Kumarakom in a bright new avataar. Laze around in its pristine setting or maybe even go on a cruise down the narrow canals that crisscross the neighbouring town of Kottayam

File Facts Kumarakom lies on the banks of the Vembanad lake in Kerala. The nearest town and railway station is Kottayam (15 km)

Kochi (50 km) is the closest airport. From here drive to the little town of Thanneermukkom on the far banks of the lake and take a ferry to Kummarakom / Kottayam. Many of the resorts have their own ferries that take guests directly from Thanneermukkom and/or Kottayam to their properties.

One may also use Kumarakom as a stopover on the way to or from Periyar National park.

Most resorts will arrange a houseboat / Kottayam / sunset cruise(s) on request.