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It doesn’t get much more chilled than this. Kumarakom is one of Kerala’s many small backwater fishing villages, and life here moves at a gentle pace. Located on the edge of the huge Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom village is surrounded by a collection of islands: mounds of lush green vegetation that seem to float upon the cool backwaters. Whether you’re here to get some respite from the chaos of Indian city life, or as part of a longer laid-back Keralan retreat, Kumarakom’s got your back.
You won’t find museums or monuments here. Instead, think of this time as an opportunity to catch a glimpse of rural Indian life. Wake at the crack of dawn with the fishermen, play with children as they splash about in the shallows, or chat to the farmers and sample their produce.
It’s easy to see why this area of Kerala is known as the ‘Venice of the East’ – much of Kumarakom is only accessible by narrow wooden boat. But fear not: it’s been designated by the authorities as a focus area for responsible tourism, so you won’t be caught up in hordes of visitors or dodging selfie sticks. In fact, there’s a really great relationship between the locals and the (albeit few) tourists here – pay a visit and see for yourself.
There’s a ton of ways you can do a tour of Kumarakom. From boat trips to cycling tours, there’s nothing better than roaming the countryside and witnessing first-hand how life works in this charming waterside village.
If you’re wondering what to do in Kumarakom, why not cycle around the local countryside? Visit a local fisherman’s beach, where you’ll see the boatmen bringing in their fresh catch of fish for auction. Quite a sight – but hold your nose! Have breakfast, and then ride through the surrounding areas, stopping only to paddle a canoe across a river if you fancy it.
For a proper slice of Keralan working life, visit Philip Kutty Farm and witness the workers in action as they farm coconut, banana, nutmeg and cocoa – as well as scampi, which are found in the rivers. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kumarakom, and the journey there is an experience in itself. Cross the river on a traditional country boat – a narrow wooden craft with an upwardly carved front (also known as a ‘vallam’). See if you can work out why it’s known as the ‘snake boat’.
These are just a couple of things to do in Kumarakom. So take it all in: the sunsets, sunrises and the charm of the locals as you get to know more about their lives.
Whether you’re sitting back and relaxing, or getting out and about, there’s loads to do – and even more to learn – in Kumarakom. Check out our blogs to see what others have to say about this place.
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