Explore the Top 10 Attractions in Kumarakom (2023)
Aptly known as ‘God’s Own Country,’ Kerala is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Located in the southern part of India, this exotic state is famous for its natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, golden sandy beaches, mist-covered hill stations, wildlife sanctuaries, grand festivals, Ayurvedic massages, and serene backwaters. Kerala lies on the coast of the emerald blue Arabian Sea, which adds to the charm of this place.
While there are many places to see in Kerala, one of the most famous towns that stands out is that of Kumarakom. When you are in God’s own country, you must make it a point to visit Kumarakom, the gemstone in Kerala’s crown. With its emerald green surroundings, a widespread network of lakes, canals, and backwaters, Kumarakom is a traveler’s paradise.
Dotted with numerous temples, churches, and mosques, Kumarakom is a big draw for bird watchers from all over India as many exotic migratory and native birds have made the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary their home.
Kumarakom is the one place in Kerala where you can enjoy the rich and diverse variety of forests, rivers, hills, plains, the sea, and ghats all in one place. Observe the many birds flying overhead as you relax on the deck of your houseboat. Choose to stay in a tiny cottage at the Pathiramanal Island or float across the backwaters in a Kuttuvallom (traditional Keralan houseboat), Kumarakom will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will remember forever.
So without any further delay, let us explore the many places to see in Kumarakom.
Where is Kumarakom Located?
The popular tourist destination of Kumarakom is located near the city of Kottayam. It is just 16 kilometers from Kottayam. Set against the backdrop of the famous Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom used to be a part of the jurisdiction of the king of Thekkumkur in the past. Today this little coastal town is renowned for its backwater tourism and the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary.
Kumarakom is actually a cluster of many tiny man-made islands that have been reclaimed from the Vembanad Lake, the largest lake in Kerala. Due to its serene backwaters and small islands, the town is sometimes also referred to as Little Venice.
Explore the Top 10 Attractions in Kumarakom
Kumarakom is known for its emerald green backwaters, paddy fields, delicious local cuisine, fishing, traditional Kettuvallom houseboats, and many luxury and budget-friendly resorts. There are many places of interest to check out in the town. The Juma Masjid, Vaikom Mahadeva Temple, Thazhathangadi Valiapalli, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, and many other places of interest will keep you busy with an exciting itinerary.
Let us explore some of the best attractions of Kumarakom.
1. Kumarakom Backwaters
Most of the backwaters in Kerala are located in the Kottayam District. From here, there is a vast network of rivers, lagoons, and canals that open up into the Vembanad Lake, offering a breathtaking view of natural beauty. The Kumarakom backwaters remain the number one attraction for tourists as they throng to Kumarakom to check out the unique brilliance of emerald green waters, coconut groves, Chinese fishing nets, and green hills in the background.
There are numerous traditional houseboats that dot the backwaters, and you can decide to spend an evening or a couple of days to receive the traditional welcome of Kerala. There are many luxurious resorts that dot the backwaters as well that offer the best of Ayurvedic massages and treat you to some mouth-watering authentic Keralan seafood.
The Vembanad Lake is the starting point for most of the backwater cruises along with Alleppey. Most cruises last from sunrise to sunset.
What Is The Best Time To Take A Backwater Cruise In Kumarakom?
The best time to visit Kumarakom for taking the backwater cruise is between September and March, when the weather remains pleasant and allows you to make most of your trip. Most backwater cruises remain closed during the monsoon season.
2. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Sprawled across 14 acres, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is one of the most breathtaking and beautiful bird sanctuaries you will see in India. Also known as the Vembanad Bird Sanctuary, it is located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake and on the southern bank of the Kavanmar River on the famous Kumarakom backwaters. This sanctuary in Kumarakom is a favorite destination for many migratory and native bird species, which make this entire area appear to be a dreamland, with the squawking and cooing of birds echoing throughout the abundantly green surroundings. This is the ideal place to kick off your visit to Kumarakom, especially if you are a nature lover and bird watcher.
The bird sanctuary initially used to be a rubber plantation and was known as the Baker’s Estate. Today, the sanctuary is managed by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation and is a paradise for spotting exotic birds of all kinds.
What Birds Can I Spot At The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary?
You can also visit the neighboring areas like Poothanpandi Kayal and Pathirmanal if you want to spot some exquisite and rare birds. At the sanctuary, you can spot local birds like cuckoos, owls, herons, and waterfowls. Migratory birds like the Siberian Crane, flycatcher, lark, teal, and a variety of parrots have also made this their home. Other birds can also be spotted here during the migratory seasons, some coming from far-off areas in the Himalayas to Siberia.
Some of the main attractions that draw many bird watchers to this sanctuary are birds like waterfowls, egrets, moorhens, darters, cormorants, water duck, the Brahminy kites. The Indian Cormorants are one of the most common birds found here and throughout the backwaters in Kerala.
What Other Things Can You Do At The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary?
As you take a walk through the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, walking and jumping across puddles, you will be able to get a beautiful experience of seeing a wide variety of birds resting in the trees and flying about. You can also rent houseboats and motorboats here to watch the birds up close. If you decide to take a boat ride along the Kavanar River, you will be able to see the neighboring areas of Pathirmanal, Narakathara, Kaipuzha Muttu, and Poothanpandi Kayal.
There are many walking and trekking trails throughout the sanctuary, along with a beautiful butterfly garden.
When Is The Best Time To Visit The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary?
The best time to visit the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is during the months of November to February when the migratory birds flock to make this their home for the next few months. For those who want to come to spot local birds, the best time would be during the months of June to August.
3. Aruvikkuzhi Waterfall
This magnificent waterfall in Kumarakom comes cascading down from an impressive height of 30 feet. This is the perfect destination to visit in the monsoon season when it is full to the brim with gallons of water. The surrounding landscape is covered with dense forests, and there are many trekking trails that you can explore here.
4. Kumarakom Beach
The Kumarakom Beach is well-known in the area for having some of the most fascinating water sports and recreational activities. The pristine blue waters are perfect for swimming, while the golden sandy beaches are perfect for relaxing and rejuvenating. There are several restaurants and food shacks on the beach where delicious local cuisine is served. Image Source
5. Juma Masjid
Located on the beautiful banks of the stream of Meenachil, the Juma Masjid is an ancient mosque in Kumarakom. It is believed to be one of the oldest mosques in the country and is renowned for its architectural beauty. You can check out the beautiful carvings on the wooden structures of the mosque, and the royal interiors are a sight to behold.
6. St. Mary’s Church in Cheriapally
St. Mary’s Church is located in Cheriapally, which is just a stone’s throw away from the Kumarakom city center. Built in 1579, the church belongs to the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church and is known for being one of the oldest orthodox churches in India. Tourists come from all over Kerala to Kumarakom to see the beautiful structure of the church, which is a perfect combination of both Keralan and Persian style of architecture, which has been preserved very well over the years.
7. Kumarakom Craft Museum
The Kumarakom Craft Museum is a must-visit when you are in Kumarakom. It houses a stunning collection of numerous antiques, including a variety of woodwork, paintings, decor items, portraits, etc. You can find some of the most well-preserved traditional artifacts and antiques belonging to South India. You can even purchase many beautiful locally created artwork and craftwork from the museum shop.
8. Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple
Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is of great relevance to history buffs and Hindus all over the world because it is here that the Pandavas and Sage Vyasa worshipped Lord Shiva. When you first reach the temple, you will find a multi-tiered gate that welcomes you to this divine and spiritual place.
Historical records show that the former Maharaja of Travancore himself donated the famous Nataraj statue located inside the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. There is also an eternal lamp that remains lighted throughout the year. It is located right in the center of the temple and is of great importance.
It is best to plan your visit to this great Shiva temple in February so that you can witness the 10-day Celebration of Light festival. The temple is also famous for the yearly Ezharaponnana procession in which seven and a half golden elephants are taken out. Each of the seven elephants is two feet high, while the eighth one is only one foot tall. This is why they are called seven and a half elephants. It is only on the night of the eighth day of the festival that devotees get to witness the procession of these golden elephants.
9. Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple
This is another ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is famous due to its traditional architectural style and murals that elaborately depict the many tales of Hindu mythology. Thirunakkara Mahadeva temple in Kumarakom is believed to be 500 years old and constructed by the king of that era.
The temple contains a six-inch-long Shiva Linga along with a statue of Goddess Parvati standing to its left.
There is a ten-day annual festival known as Phalguna Utsavam that falls in the months of March-April that is famous for a procession of caparisoned elephants. Many temple arts and cultural programs are also carried out as part of the festival.
10. Thazhathangadi Valiapalli
Constructed in 1550 AD, the Thazhathangadi Valiapalli Church in Kumarakom belongs to the Knanaya Orthodox Syrian Community. This grand church was built on land donated by the Godavarma Raja of the Thekkumkoor royal family. The church has become famous in recent years for the Persian cross that is believed to be one of the original seven crosses carried by St. Thomas. St. Thomas was the apostle who came to Kerala in AD 52.
There are intricate paintings on the church’s altar and the ceiling that you must check out for the sheer brilliance. Many locals believe that various cryptographers have tried to decipher the Pahlavi inscription in the last few centuries, but the mystery of what the inscriptions state still remains unknown.
With so many different places to see and things to do in Kumarakom, you should book your trip to this beautiful coastal town immediately.