Kumarakom: General Information

Area: 14 acres approximately
Altitude: 1,600 metres (5,249 feet) above sea level
Location: South West of Kerala
Language: Malayalam, English and Hindi
Best Time to Visit: September to December & January to March
STD Code: 0481
District: Kottayam
Winter Temp (October to March): 18°C- 32°C
Summer Temp (April to September): 20°C- 37°C
Best Time to Visit: September to December & January to March

On the shores of the Vembanad Lake, amidst the palm fringes and paddy field lays the most popular destination in Kerala-Kumarakom. Bestowed with impressive backwaters, shimmering lake and ancient shrines, Kumarakom is an ideal destination for those who are looking for a relaxed holiday. One can read the vivid description of the city in the 1997 Booker Prize–winning novel-The God of Small Things.

It is believed that Kumarakom was named after Lord Kumaran, a deity worshipped in the region’s temples. Earlier the area was under the rule of Vadakkancore kingdom, which lost its political foothold to the rulers of Travancore in 1750. According to the legends, Kumarakom was discovered by a British monarch-George Baker in 1876. He was so impressed with its scenic beauty, tranquil backwaters, and mangrove trees that he decided to settle there and turned the fertile land into paddy and coconut farm. Hence, Kumarakom was born. George Baker made his home in Kumarakom and today this bungalow is a five-star resort in this idyllic destination.

Kumarakom is best known for its backwater cruise offering a scenic view of lush green surroundings around. Emerald green backwaters of Kerala are flanked by rich vegetation, paddy fields, long lazy boats and miles of solitude and peace. Kumarakom has a strong network of backwaters that are ideally suited for travelling via ferries and houseboats. All the houseboats rowing on the backwaters are decorated to a luxurious perfection, thereby luring tourists in huge numbers. Furnished with king-size beds, panelled with rich, polished teak flooring and filled with natural light, house boats are supremely comfortable.

Canoe ride in Kumarakom will take tourists to one spectacular land of aerial and avian species-Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. Sprawling over an area five hectares, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is the hot spot to catch sight of famous domestic and migratory birds. Here one can manage to spot species like larks, herons, cuckoos, owls, the Siberian crane and a flycatcher. Alternatively, explore the natural surroundings at a more leisurely pace by taking a short walk through the picturesque forests.

Once done with exploring the mystical backwater, now it’s time to drift along on Vembanad-largest lake in Kerala and one of Asia’s largest freshwater lakes. The pretty lake is the centre part of Kumarakom town. Here tourists can see lily pads dancing on the shimmering water, coconut plantation, submerged paddy fields and an endless expanse of water with a tinge of blue, green and brown. Sprawling over an area of 200 sq km, Vembanad lake surrounds the islands of Pathiramanal, Perumbalam, and Pallippuram. For adrenaline seekers, Vembanad is a veritable playground. The lake is the favourite hot spot for adventurers to indulge in activities like angling, yachting, and boating. The size of the lake is so huge that it borders the three major districts of Kerala- Alappuzha, Kottayam and Ernakulam.

There is a plethora of pilgrimage sites in Kumarakom. On a vacation in Kerala, one can’t afford to miss out on exploring the calmness of tranquillity of Kumarakom. Shiva Temple in Thalikkotta, Jama Masjid Thazhathangad, St Mary’s Church, Cheriapalli, and the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple are some of the famous shrines that can be seen here.

The fascinating nature in Kumarakom is ready and waiting for any seasoned traveller to explore. Whether seeking relaxation, rejuvenation or on a honeymoon trip, there is something to keep everyone happy in Kumarakom.

Interesting Facts

  • Vembanad Lake in Kumarakom is the longest lake in India
  • ‘The god of small things’, a bookers prize award winning novel written by author Arundhati Roy was set in the village around Kumarakom. The story was raised in the nearby Aymanam village. ‘History House,’ a famous landmark in the novel in now the Taj Garden Retreat Hotel, a luxury Ayurveda retreat. 

Things to do in Kumarakom

  • For bird lovers, Kumarakom is a paradise as it is home to more than 300 types of Birds. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a hub of famous migratory and domestic birds.
  • Visit Vembanad, the longest freshwater lake in India to indulge in some adventure activities. It is a famous spot where tourists can go for boating or spend evening by fishing. It is not without reason that Kumarakom is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Kerala.
  • Take a backwater cruise in the Vembanad Lake.
  • Don’t forget to see the snake boat race. Visit Kumarakom during the months of August or September and see Kerala come alive with energy and enthusiasm. Snake boats are the traditional battle vessels of Kerala.

Where to Stay:Wondering where to stay in Kumarakom? In Kumarakom, tourists can either stay in a houseboat, along the backwater or can sojourn at the luxury hotel properties. Many of these hotels are overlooking the Vembanad Lake, in the heart of backwater. Mostly resorts in Kumarakom offer backwater cruise for an overnight stay or to catch the glimpses of the sunset. Best resorts in Kumarakom where tourists can plan to stay are:

  • Kumarakom Lake Resort
  • Vivanta by Taj Kumarakom
  • Coconut Lagoon
  • The Zuri Kumarakom
  • Aveda Resort and Spa
  • Royal Grove
  • Vismaya
  • Waterscapes KTDC Backwater Resort
  • Backwater Retreat Theme House
  • Vembanad Lake Villas
  • Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere
  • Paradise Resort
  • Indraprastham Houseboat
  • Kumarakom Lake Resort
  • Aveda Resort and Spa

Shopping:From ancient period, Kerala has always been the most important spice trading centres for the foreigners. Shopping in Kumarakom is always on the top of itinerary chart for many tourists. Take a pick from artistic brass, intricate handmade jewellery, vibrant Kathakali mask, Traditional Silk Sarees, adornments carved out of coconut shells, camel-bone carvings, wood carvings, embroidered screw-pine mats and Kathakali masks. In Kumarakom, fresh and aromatic spices are also available in abundance.

How to Reach

By Airways: The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport which is 80 km away from the main town.

By Railways: Nearest railway station is the Kottayam railway station which is 16 km away from Kumarakom.

By Waterways: Kumarakom is easily accessible by boat from Muhamma (a town nearby Alleppey). The boat ride to Kumarakom is scenic and beautiful.

By Roadways: Roadways is probably the best and least expensive mode of transport to explore Kumarakom. Buses run by Kerala tourism are well-connected with all the major cities around. Famous cities nearby Kumarakom are:

Major Cities Duation Distance
Ernakulam 1 hour 13 mins 48.1 km
Thiruvananthapuram 4 hours 1 mins 161 km
Alleppey/Alappuzha 54 minutes 32.6 km
Wayanad 7 hours 40 mins 299 km
Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) 5 hours 29 mins 234 km
Dindigul 6 hours 19 mins 262 km
Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu) 6 hours 23 mins 253 km
Kozhikode 5 hours 41 mins 221  km
Kottayam 54 minutes 14.4 km
Kochi 1 hours 13 mins 48.1 km
Kothamangalam 2 hours 2  mins 76.7 km
Munnar 3 hours 45 mins 138 km