About 94 kms from the city of Kochi, you will find this beautiful lake city called Kumarakom. The lovely mangroves, coconut trees and lush green rice fields on the banks of Vembanad lake will captivate you during this trip. The food, temples, the rickshaw ride, lazy boat ride, Kalaripayattam, the music and Kathakali – you can experience every bit of Kerala culture here in Kumarakom. So let’s browse through top things to see and experience in this enchanting Kumarakom.
We planned this travel to Kumarakom to celebrate my daughter’s birthday. It was a family trip and Club Mahindra, Kumarakom came to our rescue with last minute reservations. We were not keen on staying on a house boat so these cottages perfectly suited our requirements. We came back with the best birthday celebrations and loads of memories from the trip.
History on enchanting Kumarakom
Kumarakom city is built on a man made land on Vembanad lake. The name Kumarakom is derived from the oldest temple ‘Kumaran’ – being Kumaran’s Akam (House). As Meenachil river originating in Eastern side of Kerala ending in Kavanar brought a lot of sand and silt with it. Years of accumulation of such sand and silt gave rise to a huge delta on Vembanad lake. Alfred George Baker manually reclaimed it in year 1847. He planted mangroves, coconut trees and rice fields to develop the land as exotic backwater village.
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How to reach Kumarakom?
Kumarakom is just 1.5 – 2 hours drive from Kochi airport. We had a very peaceful drive with views of multi colored Kerala towns and lush green waving rice fields. In spite of the Kerala floods last year, the roads are in good condition making it an pleasurable road trip experience.
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Our top 5 experiences in Enchanting Kumarakom
Birthday celebrations in Club Mahindra, Kumarakom
We had planned a nice quiet evening dinner to celebrate the birthday. But the hotel staff surprised us with birthday cake and a birthday celebration attended by all the other guests of the resort. My daughter was delighted with all the attention and pampering. It was her first birthday away from her friends and she enjoyed it fullest due to the resort staff.
House boat or Shikara Ride
Early next morning we went for a shikara ride. A ‘shikara’ is a houseboat for a nice lazy boat ride along Vembanad lake. We could spot a few birds en route, like heron, cormorant, kingfisher and Bramhani kite.
Kumarakom Bird sanctuary is also famous for its migratory bird like Siberian cranes, teal, etc
The early morning boat ride through the Kerala backwaters had a calming effect. there is something about these waters that calms your senses and relieves you of stress.
Food in Kumarakom
The boat ride was followed by yummiest breakfast at the local hotel. When we docked after our shikara ride, we were ravenous. But we reached the hotel, the lady owner told us she was still preparing food. So we ordered a freshly cut pineapple. I am not sure whether it tasted delicious just because we were hungry. But it was surely a yummy experience! The piping hot idli and dosa with yummy chutney followed the pineapples. It was a perfectly filling breakfast!
Fun facts about Idli which is a savoury rice cake! You can find its references in ancient Sanskrit and Kannada literature of 9th to 13th century. There is a possibility that we might have imported it from Indonesia during that period. Here is an interesting article about how it might have originated in India! May there be multiple theories as to its origin, but now the Idli Dosa Appam are very much a part of authentic South Indian Meal!
Temples of Kumarakom
The next day we decided to visit five famous temples in Kumarakom –
- Shri Dharma Shashtha Temple and Subrahmanya Temple
- Shri Kumara Mangalam Temple
- Sree Muthenta Nada Mahadeva Temple
- Thekkumkara Sri Ardhanariswara Temple
- Puthiyakavu Devi Temple
We came to know that these temples were open only from 5 am to 11 am in the mornings and 4.30 pm and 7.30 pm in the evenings. So we decided to take the evening tour. Many of the temples were Shiva temples and extremely old. The devotees offer oil to Lord Shiva to help keep the lights going on at all hours.
Also your dressing is important if you are planning to visit the temples. Males have to remove their shirt inside the temples during prayers. Avoid wearing western dresses as you visit these temples.
History of Kathakali dates back to 16th-17th century. The dancers perform stories from Hindu mythology, mainly Ramayana and Mahabharata. The one we saw was the story of Shurpanakha in Ramayana. The elegant dance steps, the intense music of various instruments and the pitch toned voices singing the story complement the head dress and make up of the dancers. The mudras and facial emotions communicate the story to the audience. The entire presentation keeps you hooked to your seats.
You can watch it in our YouTube video:
On the last day we left for Kochi airport. On our way to the airport, we bought loads of banana chips from the authentic Kerala store.
The three days in Kumarakom was a perfect family getaway!!
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