Kumarakom is a cluster of islets on the eastern edge of the serene Vembanad Lake, a part of the Kuttanad region in Kerala. The backwater haven, Vembanad Lake is one of Asiaās largest freshwater lakes and a major ecological resource. Set out on a boat ride towards the highly popular Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary on the eastern shores of the lake. Here you can enjoy birding in the green canopy of the rubber plantation for the whole day. Spread across 14 acres, the sanctuary is an ornithologistās paradise, being a favorite haunt of migratory birds such as the Siberian crane and other indigenous species such as egrets, herons, waterfowls, kingfishers and teal to name a few.>
Kumarakom is not really a place for shopping, but if you are at leisure and not wandering into the depths of a wildlife sanctuary or cruising down the calm backwaters, you could give shopping a shot. Head to the local market and pan through its variety of souvenirs made of coconut shell, bamboo and cane. The craftsmen of Kerala are lauded for their skill and creativity. Undoubtedly, they turn out an intricate motley of metal-ware, camel-bone carvings, wood carvings, embroidered screw-pine (nullpandanas palm) rugs and grass mats among other handicraft. If you fancy ethnic hand-crafted silver jewelry, you will find armloads of them in a great assortment. In addition to this, traditional hand-woven textiles find an important place in a shopperās list. Donāt miss out on the wicker lampshades, brass
lamps, and the truly exotic Kathakali masks, each wearing a different expression.
You are recommended to shop for some fresh and aromatic spices available in abundance here ā for they are unique to this part of Kerala, and make for some sumptuous recipes.
And if you are looking for a complete shopping experience and a larger array to choose from, Cochin is the place to be, about 70 kilometers (null miles) from Kumarakom.
Regional Speciality - At Kumarakom you will find a few good places to enjoy a hearty lunch or a pleasant evening meal, though the choices are somewhat restricted. For the best in regional or Continental cuisine, try out the in-site restaurants at Kumarakomās top hotels and resorts. In addition, there are a handful of local eateries serving delicious traditional cuisine. At all times, steamed rice and fish curry is a favorite of Keralites. And like in other parts of Kerala, here too you will find coconut to be a major ingredient in all delicacies served lovingly to you. Of other typically South Indian dishes, there is idli, dosa, uthapam, sambar and coconut chutney. Food normally is high on spice content, and has a rich flavor of coconut which could make Kerala cuisine a bit of ā
acquired tasteā. This liberal use of a wide variety of spices is heavily influenced by the Syrian Christian taste buds.
While at Kumarakom, donāt miss out the Karimeen (nullPearl Spotted Fish) delicacy, a gift of the backwaters. āKarimeen Pollichathuā is a traditional version of grilled fish prepared with rice spices, wrapped with a plantain leaf on burning coal. You can even sample the fish and curry cooked either in chilly paste with a special kind of tamarind, or coconut milk or paste. Round off your meal the Kerala way with a glass of toddy, a preferred drink among men folk, tapped from coconut trees.
Among other regional delicacies worth sampling, there is āKappaā, the local name for tapioca which is boiled with rock salt and then sautéed with grated coconut, onion, red chilly and curry leaves, commonly relished with fish, beef curries or roast. For breakfast, you can try out the very healthy āAppamā - a local bread prepared with fermented rice and coconut dough. It is a bit sweet, and can be combined with beef, pork or chicken stew. And if you crave for some succulent seafood, try out the dishes rustled out of shrimp, prawn, crab and squid to name a few.
Kumarakom has a tropical climate, with temperatures rarely falling below 16ŗC and rarely climbing higher than 38ŗC. Owing to Kumarakomās coastal location it receives cool breezes from the sea throughout the year, making even the hottest days agreeable. The summer season is short, reaching its peak in the months of March and April. The heat begins to ebb in May. By the end of May pre-monsoon clouds begin to hover, bringing heavy downpour by June through July and August. This is followed by a cool, dry winter season - Kumarakom experiences mild winter from November through February.
Whatever season you choose to visit, it is wise to carry appropriate clothing, mindful of the fact that short clothes not only risk overexposure to the harmful effects of the sun but also could offend the locals who are a tad conservative. It is ideal to bring light cotton clothing of the long-sleeved and long-legged variety, if you intend spending longer time under the sun. Donāt forget a high SPF sunscreen.
Good Shepherd Church is located behind the civil station about 2 kilometers (null.25 miles) from Kottayam, and is the first church of the Diocese of Vijayapuram. The construction work of the church was completed in 1882. The Italian architecture of the church is rather impressive and catches the eye first-up, with the faēade still in great condition especially after it was refurbished in 1964.
Surface - There are plenty of KSRTC buses from Kottayam to Kumarakom. Kottayam is connected to all cities in Kerala by KSRTC buses. Private deluxe air-conditioned buses connect Kottayam with many cities in South India including Chennai, Mangalore, Bangalore and Trivandrum. You can reach Kumarakom by boat from Muhamma, near Alleppey. State owned boat services and private houseboats ferry from Muhamma to the Kumarakom jetty.
Train - Kottayam is the nearest railway station, about 16 kilometers (null miles) away from Kumarakom. Taxi fare from Kottayam to Kumarakom is about Rs 350, and there are ample private taxis available at the Kottayam station. Besides, Kottayam is well connected by rail to all important cities in India.
Air - The nearest airport to Kumarakom is Cochin International Airport at Nedumbassery, about 85 kilometers (null miles) away from Kumarakom. You can hire a tourist taxi from the airport to Kumarakom that charges about Rs. 1600. Cochin airport is well connected to many major cities in India and abroad, especially connected directly to the Gulf countries.
Sea - If you have arrived at Trivandrum International Airport, proceed to Quilon by road or rail (nulltakes just about an hour). From there, you can take the regular ferry service to Alleppey - a long but pleasant ride on the backwaters. From Alleppey, it's just a short ride to Kumarakom. If you have arrived at Cochin International Airport, perhaps you might prefer a ride through the backwaters to Alleppey. There are many boat services offered at Cochin.
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