Nestled around Vembanad Lake, the village of Kumarkakom in India is famous for offering some of the most beautiful backwaters and sacred temples in all of Kerala.
The area is laid back and relaxed with a lush landscape, a fantastic ecosystem (especially if you’re an avid birdwatcher!), delicious local cuisine and cultural attractions that shouldn’t be missed.
Located on the southwestern coast of India, Kerala is hot all year around with temperatures between 27c and 33C throughout.
But, if you’re looking to maximise your exposure to the sun (and who isn’t while on holiday?) you’re best off visiting between November and May when you’ll experience up to 10 hours of sunshine per day.
On the other hand, between June and September you’ll be limited to just 2-5 hours per day. This is also when humidity and rainfall are highest.
One of the most unique features of this region is the Kumarkakom Bird Sanctuary, a huge natural expanse that stretches across 14 acres. This is an ornithologist's paradise and many flock here to catch a glimpse of egrets, darters, herons, teals, waterfowls, cuckoo, wild duck and migratory birds like the Siberian stork. Enjoy a tour of the sanctuary on a canoe, ideally in the early morning or later in the evening when it’s less hot.
For a photo opportunity, you may also like to visit the towering Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls, located close to the main town. Other attractions worth mentioning include Vembanad Lake and Kumarkakom Backwaters where you’ll find lovely, colorful cottages build on stilts amongst the coconut groves.
The serene coastline of Kumarkakom Beach is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Take in the beauty of the region on a leisurely walk or recharge with a spa treatment. Of course, those hoping for something a bit more exciting will find a number of watersports and activities, including snorkeling and windsurfing.
For the traveller that loves food, Kumarkakom certainly doesn’t disappoint. Enjoy local cuisine in a fine dining atmosphere at Currymeen or try local seafood in a more laid back environment at Tharavadu Restaurant. For dinner with a view of a beautiful lagoon, check out Lime Tree, which serves Arabic, Chinese and Indian food.
Whether you’re looking for a wild night out or a tasty cocktail, Kumarkakom has something for you.
If bright lights and loud music are up your street, try Maquees. If you’d rather sip your drink while looking at a beautiful landscaped garden, try The Trunk Call Bar.
Kumarkakom is home to a number of sacred religious sites.
Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple, revered as one of the most sacred in all of India, is a must-visit while in Kumarkakom. Unlike some other temples, there is no dress code although modest attire is encouraged. While some visit to worship Shiva, the famous woodcarvings and peaceful energy of the ancient building are also something to behold.
You can be certain of at least one thing when visiting Kumarkakom: You won’t have to look far for an adventure.
Houseboats, speedboats and fishing boats are available to rent or take tours on and Vembanad Lake and Kumarkakom Beach offer a host of activities for the young at heart.
Scuba dive or snorkel to get glimpse of at least a few of the 150 different species of fish that swim around in the lake or conquer your fear of heights while parasailing over the beach.
Public buses will take you to all corners of the area for an incredibly low price. If, on the other hand, you were hoping for more personalized service, you can also hire metered yellow taxis or rickshaws for short distances. To reach the islets of the lake, ferries are available at predetermined times. You can also rent private boats and bicycles while in Kumarkakom.