Kumarakom is a popular tourism destination located near the city of Kottayam (16 kilometres (10 mi)), in Kerala, India, famous for its backwater tourism. It is set in the backdrop of the Vembanad Lake which is the largest freshwater lake in the state of 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.
Kumarakom has a wide variety of houseboats and is well known through out the world for housboat experience. 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 Bird Sanctuary
The Kumarakom bird sanctuary is located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake and is one of the most important bird sanctuaries in Kerala. It is spread across 14 acres. It is home to rare species of migratory birds that include Siberian stork, egret, fly catchers, wood beetles, darter, heron, king fishers and teal among others. Migratory birds even from the Himalayan region in North India also flock to the Kumarakom bird sanctuary in Kerala. It is one of the "must see" tourist destinations in Kerala. Large numbers of national and international tourists visit Kumarakom to stay in these beach side hotels and resorts and undertake boat cruises along the backwaters in Kumarakom.
Pathiramanal is a 10 acre island set in the midst of the Vembanad Lake. Pathiramanal is also known as the sands of midnight and can be accessed only by boat.. Pathiramanal is a forest with several rare species of migratory birds flocking to the island. It is one of the most important tourist attractions in kerala and is accessible from Alleppey also. Boating facilities are available to visit this famous tourist spot in Kerala.
The Aruvikkuzhi waterfalls are one of the important picnic spots in Kerala and are 2 km from Kumarakom bird sanctuary. The waters here cascade down from a height of over 100 feet and tourists arriving in Kumarakom also visit these waterfalls that are a magnificent sight to watch.