Destinations - Kumarakom / Kottayam

Kumarakom is a serenely beautiful and scenic backwater destination, a charming peninsula jutting into the ever-effervescent Vembanad Lake that is dotted with plenty of traditional rice boats and canoes, leaving a scene that is immensely pleasing to the eye. Kumarakom slumbers on the banks of the famous Vembanad Lake. The Vembanad Lake with its majestic canals, streams and distributaries along its banks weave an intricate and enchantingly beautiful web. The gorgeous green of the fringed palms ripple in the blue waters and blend into wavelets. The whole atmosphere spells peace, bliss and tranquillity.Bordered by the lofty Western Ghats on the east, the Vembanad Lake and the paddy fields of Kuttanad on the west, Kottayam is a land of unique characterestics.

Vembanad Lake

The Vembanad Lake is the largest brackish lagoon in Kerala. It covers an area of two hundred square kilometers and is surrounded by the districts of Alappuzha, Kottayam and Ernakulam. Situated at sea level, the lake is separated from the Arabian Sea by a small island. The width of the lake varies from five hundred metres to four kilometers with a depth of one metre to twelve metres. The lake, an enchanting picnic spot and a fast developing backwater tourism destination, provides boating, fishing and sightseeing experiences that are truly exhilarating.

Vembanad lake is the longest lake in India, and the largest lake in the state of Kerala.

Backwater Boating

Cruising along the backwaters of Kerala will be an unforgettable experience in your life time. Meandering streams, chirpy birds, murmuring forests, and the slender breeze of god's own country makes you feel the heaven is here. Above all, spending a night in the lap of nature inhaling the serene environment will calm your body and soul makes your journey worthwhile. The most exciting part of backwater cruising is the splendid journey through a fabulous house boat. The houseboat is perhaps the most exciting tourism product of the state of Kerala. A houseboat usually have one or two bath attached air conditioned bed rooms, an open lounge, deck kitchenette and a crew comprising oarsmen, a cook and a guide. The houseboat that we reserved for the cruise had the above amenities. There are even four and five bed room houseboats.

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary (also known as Vembanad Bird Sanctuary) is situated on the banks of Vembanad Lake. Set in the Kerala Backwaters the bird sanctuary is an ornithologist's paradise and a favourite haunt of migratory birds. The park is also home to a large number of water birds.

The main attractions are local birds like the waterfowl, cuckoo, owl, egret, heron, cormorant, moorhen, darter, Brahminy kite and the duck, as well as the migratory Siberian crane. Parrot, teal, lark, flycatcher, and other birds are seen here during their respective migratory seasons. Some of the migratory birds come from the Himalayas, and a few from far away Siberia. Dawn is the ideal time for bird watching when the birds prepare to leave their forest homes and fly over the lake. An early morning trek, well before sunrise, is recommended for avid bird watchers.

The best time to bird watch is between June and August. To watch Migratory birds, November to February is the best time.

Kottayam

Bordered by the lofty and mighty Western Ghats on the east and the Vembanad Lake and paddy fields of Kuttanad on the west, Kottayam is a land of unique characteristics.Panoramic backwater stretches, lush paddy fields, highlands, hills and hillocks, extensive rubber plantations, places associated with many legends and a totally literate people have given Kottayam District the enviable title: The land of letters, legends, latex and lakes. The city is an important trading center of spices and commercial crops, especially rubber. Most of India's natural rubber originates from the acres of well-kept plantations of Kottayam.

The best time to bird watch is between June and August. To watch Migratory birds, November to February is the best time.

Boat Races

In the festive months of August and September, the rivers in and near Kottayam are turned into festival centres. The serene lakes come alive during Onam with a spectacular water regatta - the snake boat races. It is amazing to watch oarsmen, at least a hundred in one boat, slice their way through the waters to the fast rhythm of their own full throated singing. In the Kumarakom boat race conducted at Kavanar and Kottathodu rivers, about 50 types of boats viz veppu, ody, churulan and few snake boats participate.

Wagamon

Situated 64kms from Kottayam, this enchanting hill station at an elevation of 1100 metres above sea level is a trekker’s paradise. This enchanting hill station on the Idukki-Kottayam border dotted with tea gardens and meadows, will soon be one of India's foremost Eco tourism projects. The breeding centre of the Kerala Live stock Board is located here.

Elaveezha Poonchira

Elaveezha poonchira, a hill station near Melukavu Mattom, 60kms from Kottayam is gaining tourist importance. Located among three beautiful hillocks Mankunnu, Kudayathoormala and Thonippara, Poonchira is a place of picturesque charm. Legends say that the pool here was a bathing place for Panchali the legendary heroine of Mahabharata. The D.T.P.C. is developing this place into a trekking spot. A tourist bungalow with rooms and dormitory to accommodate 15 people has been constructed. The beautiful valleys of Poonchira are spread across thousands of acres. The verdant landscape punctuated by the gigantic hills, each rising to around 3200 ft. is an ideal place to unwind. During the monsoons when the valley fills up to form a scenic lake, this place unveils yet another beautiful slice of nature. Elaveezha poonchira means valley where leaves don't fall and is named so because the place has no trees. This is also one of the best places in Kerala to witness both the sun rise and sunset.

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