About Kumarakom Waterfall
Kumarakom waterfall, the tourism destination of Kerala and an ideal place to experience the backwaters of Kerala, is actually a cluster of islands close to the city of Kottayam. It is situated near the Vembanad Lake, which is Kerala’s largest freshwater lake.
History of Kumarakom Waterfall
The name Kumarakom was derived from the deity of the oldest temple Kumaran. Kumaran’s Akam or place became Kumarakom. In 1878, the marshy mangrove on the bank of the Vembanad Lake was cleared and replaced by coconut plantations.
George Alfred Baker, an English farmer who arrived in India in 1857, reclaimed 500 acres of Vembanad Lake to gardens and paddy fields. He built Baker’s house, in which four generations of Bakers lived until 1962.
Apart from the efforts of the government to promote tourism in the area, what has also contributed to the growth of tourism here is the mention of Kumarakom in one of the bestsellers of the modern century- God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. Following the success of the book, the Ayemenem House, where Arundhati Roy spent her early childhood has been turned into a tourist attraction.
In order to protect the ecology of the place, the Kerala government has declared Kumarakom as a special tourism zone. Following the declaration, any development is restricted in the area and must be approved by the government, as laid down in the special tourism zone act of Kerala.
People and Culture of Kumarakom Waterfall
The tropical climate of Kumarakom waterfall makes it conducive to a lot of varied cultivation. The place abounds in tropical fruits like banana, mango and pineapple. There are also plenty of mangroves, coconut palms and paddy fields, along with plantations of coffee and cocoa. It is this diversity of flora coupled with the diversity of fauna which makes Kumarakom a preferred tourist destination of Kerala.
Kumarakom waterfall is perhaps the only place in India other than Kashmir, which is known for its houseboat experience. Kumarakom also witnesses boat races around the time of Onam, which is an important South Indian festival. Many different varieties of boats take part in the races.
Things to do in Kumarakom Waterfall
The backwaters of Kerala drive the maximum tourism here. There are many houseboats and resorts in Kumarakom which offer an accommodation by the Vembanad Lake. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is another major attraction of the place. A tour of the bird sanctuary is possible only on canoes, which makes it one of the most unique bird sanctuaries in the world. Bird sanctuary is best taken during early morning or late evening to avoid the high temperature of the afternoon sun.
Best time to visit Kumarakom is during winters between October and February. Bird watchers can find different types of migratory birds at the Bird watching centre at Kumarakom post monsoons.