Majority of the backwaters of Kerala lie in the Kottayam district with a mesh of lagoons, rivers and canals opening up to the Vembanad Lake, offering a panoramic view of the splendid beauty. The backwaters attract major tourists amongst all the Kumarakom tourist places due to its sheer brilliance of placid green water, green hills, Coconut groves and Chinese fishing nets in the backdrop.
With tourism thriving majorly in this region, one can find numerous houseboats done up the traditional way pampering their guests to a most luxurious visit at the backwaters.
Opulent resorts on the banks too make for a great idyllic and revitalising stay amidst nature with the best of Ayurvedic massage and treating to authentic Kerala Seafood. Spend a day at the backwaters with fun-filled activities close to nature either fishing, Canoeing, kayaking or just sightseeing.
Location: 16 km from Kottayam town on Vembanad Lake.
Timings: Sunrise to sunset.
Aruvikkuzhi is a waterfall which is active during the monsoons of Kerala and is all dried up during summers. The place attracts a lot of visitors during the weekends as it is a popular picnic spot due to its natural surroundings. The meandering natural pathways take you to the cascading water falling over rocks.
It is enveloped by thick rubber plantations providing a serene and idyllic setup. As the sunlight gleams on the descending water, it changes colour and warmth with every hour. Children have unlimited fun bathing under the waterfall for hours while elders sit gleefully absorbing every moment of nature’s bounty.
Location: Oravakkal Koorali Road. (2 km from Pallickathode)
Timings: 6.00 am to 7.00 pm every day.
One of the most stunning destinations out of all the Kumarakom tourist places, is Vagamon. This hill station tucked 1100 metres above sea level is all that a traveller looks for after hectic days in a city bereft of fresh air. This hill station is a chain of mesmerizing hillocks, beautiful valleys, bountiful tea gardens and cascading water.
The skyline offers different hues of green as far as visible to our eyes. The luscious green has the prowess to revitalize, rejuvenate and reawaken the tired body and soul. Trekking is a very common sight amongst the visitors here to scout the place and unleash mother nature.
Location: Kottayam-Idukki border.
This little Island in Muhamma, Alappuzha on Vembanad Lake has won the hearts of many who have either visited or stayed at this enclave. Pathiramanal Island is a place to visit in Kumarakom, as it attracts a host of migratory birds across geographies.
One of the best experiences to approach the Island is to hire a boat on rent from Kayippuram jetty, which takes you through a lavish green stretch where the greens of the land merge with emerald green water and create ripples of serenity in the soul. It is home to approximately 140 species of local and migratory birds, thus be ready with your binoculars and camera to shoot the right moments.
Location: 4 km from Kumarakom towards North-east and 1.5km from the Muhamma boat jetty.
Timings: Sunrise to sunset.
Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple
This ancient Shiva temple holds great relevance as this is where the Pandavas and Sage Vyasa had worshipped. The multi-tiered gate greets you to a divine space where the heart and soul are in complete bliss. As per history, the famous Nataraj statue situated inside the sanctum sanctorum of the temple was donated by the erstwhile Maharaja of Travancore. The eternal lamp, alight throughout the year is placed right in the middle of the temple.
Plan your visit in February to be a part of the 10 days long affair known as the “Celebration of Light”. The temple is also popular for the annual Ezharaponnana, which is seven-and-a-half elephants finished in gold.
Location: Ettumanoor Temple Road, Kottayam, Ettumanoor.
Timings: 4.00am to 12noon and 5.00pm to 8.30pm every day.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
The 14 acres of lush greenery is nestled carefully over the Southern bank of Kavanar River and is a Birder’s delight. A scheme of pathways leads one to the different sections of the sanctuary to unleash the rich diversity of its flora and fauna. Photography enthusiasts flock this place to capture migratory birds like the Siberian Crane, teal, flycatcher and a few local birds like the moorhen, Brahmini kite and Cormorant which are frequent visitors here.
The native Kingfisher in psychedelic colours, golden back woodpeckers, doleful parrots, owls and egrets have had the Ornithologists amazed.
Location: Boat ride from Vembanad Lake or Kavanar River.
Timings: 6.30am – 5.00pm every day.
Entry Fees: Rs.50/- to Rs.100/- per head.
The immaculate aquamarine water of the beach is one of the places to visit in Kumarakom. It can steal the day-long tiredness as you watch the gentle waves lashing against yellow sand. You may also opt to stay at the many Resorts lined on the shorelines for the perfect sunrise and sunset over the mighty sea. Indulge in Yoga on the beach for a celestial connect, sit and meditate late in the evening on the seashore for a transcendental feel.
Numerous adventure sports like Parasailing, water skiing, snorkelling, and other beach activities are organised to keep the visitors engaged and give them an adrenaline rush. Do not forget to dine at the shacks lined on the shore as sumptuous Seafood is cooked and served in local style. Mind you, the fresh- catches are hard to resist.
Location: Kumarakom, Kottayam.
Timings: Sunrise to Sunset.
The pulse of Kerala can be felt at the Vembanad lake, which is a confluence of ten rivers. The largest Lake in Kerala also the pride of the state is a labyrinth of several groups of small islands, lagoons, canals, and estuaries presenting an overwhelming display of nature’s glory. Being a tourist hot spot exclusively for backwaters, one may find over five hundred Kettuvallams, traditional houseboats either plying or anchored to the banks.
The Kumarakom Bird sanctuary is on the banks of Vembanad, showcasing hundreds of migratory and local birds in their flamboyance. Book your tickets for Kerala August, as the famous Nehru Trophy Boat Race takes place in the Jade green flowing water of Vembanad Lake every year.
Location: 16 km from Kottayam.
Timings: Sunrise to Sunset.
Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple
This ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is a holy place to visit in Kumarakom because of its traditional style architecture and murals displayed elaborately depicting tales of the mythological era. This 500-year-old temple constructed by the then king, Thekkumkoor is pride of Kottayam.
The temple premise has a six-inches long Shiva Linga with Goddess Parvati standing on its left. Koothambalam is the main arena in the centre which serves a stage for cultural performances during festivals and ceremonies.
The 10-day long annual festival, Phalguna Utsavam, falls in the March/April which attracts ritualistic arattu and also displays a procession of caparisoned elephants. Various temple arts and cultural programmes are put on the show as part of the festival. The other two festivals of the temple fall in the month of Thulam (October/Nove
Location: Temple Rd, Thirunakara, Kottayam.
Timings: 4.00 am to 11.00 am and 5.00 pm to 8.00 pm every day.
Built-in 1550 AD, this Church belongs to the Knanaya Orthodox Syrian Community. Godavarma Raja of the Thekkumkoor royal family contributed land for the construction of this grand Church in those days.
The church has gained popularity for a few things, like the Persian cross which is believed to be one of the seven crosses carried by St. Thomas, the apostle who came to southern Kerala in AD 52. Inscriptions in Pahlavi language, the language of the Sassanian dynasty of Persia, can be seen on the cross.
The intricate paintings on the altar and the ceiling seek attention from a lot of visitors. Locals believe that several cryptographers have been trying to decipher the Pahlavi inscription for the past few centuries and the mystery still continues. A superlative serenity surrounds when you stand in front of the Holy Virgin Mary Church which is beyond expression.
Location: 2 km West of Kottayam.
Timing: 7.00 am – 6.00 pm every day.
The Thanneermukkom bund was constructed to prevent tidal action and intrusion of salt water is one of the places to visit in Kumarakom as it is the largest mud-regulator in India. As the barrier divides the lake into two parts one with brackish water and the other half with fresh water fed by the rivers draining into the lake, it has distinctive shades of green and blue.
The Thanneermukkom saltwater barrier connects the two districts of Kottayam and Alapuzzha with Vechoor villages lined on either side of the bund.
It is an outstanding sight to watch the open blue sky, bluish-green water and distant olive green trees all merging somewhere in the in-accessible horizon. For a better view of the picturesque surrounds, drive through the road parallel to the bund or hire a boat to navigate at leisure.
Location: Kuttanad, across Lake Vembanad.
Timings: 12 pm to 12 am every day.
St Mary’s Church
The oldest, yet well preserved Orthodox Church in India was built in 1579 with a fusion of typical Persian and Kerala style of architecture. The walls of the Church are adorned with murals which have been designed in Western and Oriental style. The altar of the Church is decked with embellishments in gold which glitters in the presence of a congregation. The galleries, pillars, cornices and the windows talk tons about an era bygone.
Visitors from any and every religious background are free to worship the Lord here. The annual festival of this church, Vithukalude Perunnal attracting a lot of locals and tourists is celebrated on the 15th of January which is also known as the Festival of Seeds.
Location: Cheriapally Junction, Kottayam.
Timings: 7.30 am to 12.30 pm every day.
When in Kerala, spoil yourself to the taste of Toddy, a local alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of Coconut palm tree. The art of Toddy making is an art by itself as the process of toddy tapping is a feast for the eyes. Strong healthy men climb towering trees to extract sap from the cut flowers which is collected with dexterity and then allowed to ferment for a day to yield toddy. Within a matter of a couple of hours, it turns mildly aromatic with alcoholic properties.
Toddy had with local Kerala cuisine is the best combination to explore the gastronomic delight of the region. Shops serving genuine toddy are found in plenty across Kumarakom, The Kumarakom Toddy parlour, Pallipadam Toddy shop and Kokkothottam Toddy shops are to name a few.
Vaikom Mahadeva Temple
This ancient Shiva temple at Vaikom is the most revered Hindu temple. The temple takes pride in the golden flagstaff and the inner roof has sculpted narration of the Ramayana. Premises of the 8 acre courtyard is revelled with river sand and is guarded with compound walls and four gopuras on either side.
The most important Prasada is the Bhasma or the Vibhoothi, these are ashes taken from the fireplace of the kitchen where Sri Vaikkathappan is believed to work in the disguise of a Brahmin.The most popular festival is the Vaikkath Ashtami which is celebrated with pomp and joy.
Location: Vazhamana Rd, Vaikom, Kottayam.
Timings: 3.30 am to 12 pm and 5.00 pm to 8.00 pm
The rock is situated in the sprawling Jatayu park spread across 65 acres of land which is a breathtaking place to visit in Kumarakom. The rock theme garden has been dedicated to the mythological character of Jatayu of the Ramayana fame who had attempted to rescue Sita from the clutches of Ravana.
The sculpture of Jatayu has been positioned at a place where the mighty bird took his last breath. The Jatayu Earth’s centre also plans to have a 6D theatre and an audio-visual based light museum housed inside along with an adventure zone with 20 games.
Location: Chadayamangalam, Kollam.
Timings: 10.00 am to 4.00 pm every day.
Entry Fees: Rs.400/- per person.
Bay Island Driftwood Museum
This unique museum displays a huge array of quality driftwood sculptures of high artistic value and is an interesting place to visit in Kumarakom. This is the brainchild of Rajji Punnoose, a charismatic lady with creative pursuits who had once picked driftwood pieces from the seashores and converted to artistic wonder.
Root stumps, rotten branches, twisted tree trunks collected from the shores of Bay of Bengal during cyclones and turbulent sea conditions have been glorified to sculptures which will leave one mesmerized by the ingenious talent. Ms Punnoose features in, ”The Limca Book of World Record” for her innovative skill of transforming, not so useful driftwood pieces to artistic masterpiece.
Location: Chakranpadi, Vayitharamattom, Kumarakom.
Timings: 10.00 am – 5.00 pm, opens 30 minutes late on Sundays and closed on Mondays.
Entry Fees: Rs.50/- per head.
Kumarakom Craft Museum
The Kumarakom Craft Museum has an exquisite display of collections done through centuries of rare and unique items. One of the major attractions amongst Kumarakom tourist places draws maximum visitors during the weekends. Out of the many exhibits, a piece that is appreciated the most is a landscape painting done with strands of hay on a black coloured cloth.
This museum doubles up as a souvenir shop for you to take home memories of a mesmerizing holiday in Kumarakom, Kerala. Kathakali masks, antique figurines of Gods and Goddesses worshipped in this part sculpted by skilled artisans to perfection will draw your attention. You may plan to buy some knick knacks like key chains, little models of houseboats and elephants on your way back home.
Location: Old Curiosity Shop Kumarakom, Kottayam.
Timings: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm every day.
Entry Fees: Entry on a pass.
This 1,000-year-old Mosque also known as the Thazhathangady Juma Masjid stands tall with its magnificent architecture and mind-blowing ornate wood carvings. The carved wooden gabled roof, the soulful inner courtyard, latticed windows and doors with intricate woodwork and the traditional bath area reflect the craftsmanship of skilled artisans.
The oldest Mosque in Kerala in strategically situated on the banks of River Meenachil providing a gentle breeze enveloping the place with tranquillity. Men wearing Munda, their traditional outfit are seen worshipping at this holy place with faith and utmost diligence.
Location: Thazhatangady, Juma Masjid, Kumarakom, Kottayam.
Timings: 12 noon to 12 am every day.
Kottayam is the latest destination in India, for it has grabbed all attention for the variety of travel destination it offers. Located in the South-west of Kerala, the erstwhile Cottayam during the British Raj was known as the Akshaya Nagari as it was one of the main centres for literature.
The locals take pride in being the first town to reach the cent percent literacy mark in India long back in the eighties. Kottayam is home to numerous tourist places, where a mere 5-6 days would not do justice to explore the region.
Culturally rich and naturally alluring, this place has loads to delve into ranging from the backwaters, lakes, lagoons, hill stations, churches, temples, Mosques and Sanctuaries. Every tourist gets to have a share of the pie called Kottayam.
Distance: 32 km from Kumarakom.
This little town of Kottayam located in the foothills of the Western Ghat has gained popularity and features in the list of Kumarakom tourist places. Kanjirappally is also known as the “Gateway of Highrange” as geographically it is the entrance to the Hill country of Kerala.
This place holds strong relevance historically and culturally as it served as a major trade junction amongst the commercial centres in east and west. The place has probably taken its name from the abundance of Karinjam trees in this part of the region.
Though busy, this place still has the ability to refresh one’s senses with its fresh non-polluted air and local food. There are numerous options for stay in case one plans to visit and explore Kanjirapally to the core.
Location: Kanjirappally, Kottayam.