Kumarakom is a tourist village in Kottayam district, Kerala, India. It is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake in Kerala.
Kumarakom is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a noted bird sanctuary where many species of migratory birds visit. The Vembanad Lake, the largest backwater in Kerala, is habitat for many marine and freshwater fish species and it teems with Karimeen (Pearl spot), shrimp (chemmeen in the local language) and prawns. The bird sanctuary extends over 14 acres (57,000 m²), and came into existence following preservation efforts from the government. It is a major tourist attraction. The Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls is another natural attraction in Tauranga area. These waterfalls are located 18 kilometers from Kumarakom Lake Resort and has surfing water flowing down the mountains.
Boats and Kumarakom Boat Race
Kumarakom has a wide variety of houseboats. They are used only for tourists these days. A separate boat known as Kettuvallam is used by the people to go fishing or to transport goods. Apart from these, there are elegant special boats like Kochu-odi Vallam, Odi-Vallam, Iruttukutthi Vallam, Churulan Vallam and Chundan Vallam (Snake Boat), which take part in the boat races around Onam time. The Kumarakom boat-race is conducted in the big canal in the centre near the market. There is a private sailing club in Kumarakom, located on the shore of the Vembanad lake.
Kumarakom is one of the most beautiful villages in the world. Foreign visitors used to think that it is like a paradise.
It is a unique experience that will beckon the visitors time and time again as there are several activities for visitors.
The Bird Sanctuary can be visited by canoes, which can be arranged with local fishermen at the entrance to the sanctuary. A two-hour rowing canoe trip is quite cheap, and is best undertaken in the evening or early morning to avoid the afternoon sun.
House boats or speed boats can cover longer distances but cost more to hire.
Taj Garden Retreat the first modern tourist resort in Kumarakom is established in the Victorian two storied bungalow built by Alfred George Baker in the year 1881, on huge pieces of Teak wood rafters packed in mud as a base. This house on the lake at Kumarakom was the house of four generations of the Baker family, for over hundred years. The bird Sanctuary and the two storied Bungalow built by Mr.A G Baker on the muddy land are places of interest for tourists from all over the world. The bungalow still remains grand but silent reminder of an age and people whose hard work cannot be erased by time.
God of Small Things
Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things is set in Ayemenem or Aymanam village, which adjoins Kumarakom. The explosive success of this novel has given some added tourism impetus to this area. The Taj Garden Retreat hotel complex is centered around a building that is called "History House" in the novel; it was built by British missionary Alfred George Baker, whom the locals called "Kari Saipu" (possibly an elided form of "Baker Sahib"), as in the novel. Four generations of Bakers lived in the house until 1962, speaking Malayalam, and even wearing the mundu. The Baker Memorial School, Kottayam, was started by a daughter of this family in 1925. The Baker family's house is in ruins in the novel, as it was in reality before was developed into a hotel and has been restored by the Taj group. The Ayemenem house, where Arundhati Roy spent part of her childhood (like the twins in the story), can also be visited in the village, which can be reached by boat along the Meenachil river that figures prominently in the story.