Kerala Back Water
History of Kumakorom

In 1878, the marshy mangrove on the bank of the Vembanad Lake was cleared and replaced by coconut plantations. The person in the wake of this maneuver was one George Alfred Baker of Essex who had arrived in India sixty years earlier to take up missionary work in Kottayam. The Englishman was so awestruck by the splendor of Kumarakom that he settled here and made Kumarakom his abode.


Positioned 14 kms from Kottyam and around Kuttanad region lies Kumarakom popularly known as the rice bowl of Kerala. A huddle of tiny islets on the Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is a pictorial, unsoiled village. An incredibly stunning ecstasy of mangrove forests, pea green paddy meadows and coconut coppices intermingled with enthralling waterways and canals. Kumarakom, located on the Southern coast of India enjoys a proportionate tropical weather.
Nature has poised its magic to perfection here. Copious luxuriant coconut palms lining the rivers bow to look at its likeness on the shimmering rivers. Ubiquitously, nature is unsurpassed.

The flourishing pastures and the countryside life are interspersed with the beautiful Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. Stretched across 14 acres, the bird sanctuary is a desired haven of migratory birds and a bird lover’s paradise. Teals, egrets, darters, herons, teal, waterfowl, cuckoo, wild duck and migratory birds like the Siberian stork that live there in teems are an enthrallment for guests.
 The finest way to watch the birds of the Kumarakom sanctuary is a boat trip round the islets 16 km west of Kottayam on the Vembanad lake. The Sanctuary teems with local waterfowls and over wintering migratory birds such as the Siberian storks. Boats are available for backwater cruises in the lake.


The Kerala Backwaters are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast (known as the Malabar Coast) of Kerala state in southern India. Local people call it Kayals The backwaters of Kerala- twisty inland lakes networked by canals - extend to over 1900km..

Vembanad lake is the largest of the lakes, covering an area of 200 sq km, and bordered by Alappuzha (Alleppey), Kottayam, and Ernakulam districts. Just 12 km from Kottayam, this exclusive backwater destination sited on the banks of the Vembanad lake is considered the gateway to the backwaters of Kuttanad. The port of Kochi (Cochin) is located at the lake's outlet to the Arabian Sea. Alleppey, populariy known as " Venice of the East" has a network of canals that meander through the town. Boating across these soothing stretches is an experience exclusive to Kerala.

Large Kettuvalloms (traditional country crafts over 60ft. in length) have been renewed into luxury houseboats for these cruises The Vallam Kali (the Snake Boat Race) held every year in August is a major attraction. 12km from Kottayam, this unique backwater destination situated on the banks of the Vembanad lake is considered the gateway to the backwaters of Kuttanad.

Bird Sanctuary

Inhabiting an islet on the Vembanad Lake at a distance of 12 kilometers from Kottayam in Kerala, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is an enjoyment for the bird lover. Showcasing a mystifying collection of unique birds among the pantheon of general bird population it is an ideal place for tourists to enjoy the serene loveliness of the environs.

The solitary tones that can be heard at this point are that of placid flow of water and smooth calls of the birds. Tourists can chill out here for a while if they are worn out of leading a swift existence. A visit to this sanctuary will endow with them a peep into the astounding work of the natural world. The main attractions are local birds like the waterfowl, cuckoo, owl, egret, heron and the water duck, as well as the migratory Siberian cranes.

A travel tour to Kumarakom bird sanctuary would show that it is a place located and the main draws of the bird sanctuary happen to be the waterfowls and Siberian cranes. Migratory birds happen to be the major attractions of the bird sanctuary with the most appropriate time to visit being from November to February. The centrally located place in the Kumarakom bird sanctuary being the much popular, "Baker's Mansion" which happens to a 50 year old construction and once a Kerala tourism development corporation's hotel used to run in it. AREA - The park is spread over an area of 101 acres.

The temperature in summers ranges between 34.2°C to 22.6°C. Winter temperature ranges between 18 °C to 35 °C
Best Time to visit - The ideal time to visit the park is between June to August. For those, desirous of watching the migratory birds, November to February is the best time.
The people living on the banks of Vembanad Lake are generally amiable and pursue an orderly and fit existence. Their clothing is spotless, usually pristine whites and they maintain their home and environs unsoiled. Fishing is an occupation for the natives and they are noticed walking neck-deep in water carrying terracotta pots loaded with fish.

The main language of Kerala is Malayalam. Besides Malayalam, English is also spoken and understood by the mainstream of the inhabitants, as are Hindi and Tamil.


The food largely consists of rice and fish. Fish is a very significant item in their menu. 'Karimeen' (Pearl Spotted Fish) is a special gift of the backwaters. However South Indian, North Indian, Tandoori, Chinese and Continental cuisine are likewise enjoyed. Toddy tapped from coconut trees is a preferred drink among the men folk as well as visiting tourists. 'Kappa' Tapioca) and fish curry, served with toddy make an exceptional combination.

Boat Contest

The yearly Snake boat races are a exhilarating fiesta held in Alappuzha, Kerala, India, just before the festival of Onam in August or September every year. These annual races characterize many classes of boats, but the most magnificent event is the race involving the colossal Snake Boats or Chundanvallams at the annual races or Vallamkalis held on the Punnamada Backwaters at Alappuzha. The Snake Boats or Chundanvallams, can seat up to 100 people. The rowers pull with all their strength, sitting two in row along the length of the Snake Boat. The boats drift low in the water and have an elongated curvature. The prow is pointed in shape or may have an ornamental knob at the end. The prow rides low in the water with the length of the Snake Boat expanding behind it.

Apart from rowers, the Snake boat carries a cox, and leaders who retain the tempo of rowing through hymns, songs and exclamations.. The excitement of the Snake Boat Races has to be experienced to be appreciated. The snake boat races at Alappuzha have become a popular attraction for international travelers. The pleasure of the Snake Boat contests has to be experienced to be cherished. The snake boat races at Alappuzha have become a trendy fascination for worldwide vacationers. You can see the amazing Snake Boats of Kerala on Kerala tours with Kerala Backwater.
You can see the amazing Snake Boats of Kerala on Kerala tours with Kerala Backwater
A calendar of the snake boat races of Kerala from July to September :

  • Champakulam Moolam Boat Race
  • Aranmula Uthrattadi Vallamkali
  • Payippad Jalotsavam
  • Nehru Trophy Boat Race (Squads of rowers compete for the Nehru Trophy)
  • Available for backwater cruises in the lake