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Kumarakom is a collection of little islands on the Vembanad Lake. Situated about 13km away from Kottayam, it's a sleepy village that is home to a variety of flora and fauna and offers tremendous sightseeing, fishing and boating experiences. It's one of the most enchanting backwater destinations in Kerala. According to the National Geographic Magazine, the backwaters of Kumarakom is one of the places which should be visited during a lifetime.
One of the things that this village is most famous for is handicrafts, where each exquisite piece is made in a traditional way. The Vembanad Lake is also home to several types of marine life, including the chemeen (prawns), the konju (tiger prawns) and karimeen. There is no better place to head to with your family and friends than Kumarakom.
One of the other attractions of Kumarakom is the bird sanctuary, which is spread over 14 acres. This lake is frequently visited by several migratory birds and is a haven for ornithologists. Some of the birds which you can spot here include the Siberian Stork, herons, waterfowls, egrets and teals, besides others.
However, the greatest attraction of Kumarakom is its backwaters and the houseboats which allow tourists to enjoy a ride on them. Tourists visiting this village are often enthusiastic about take a ride in these delightful houseboats, traditionally known as "kettuvallams". These let you enjoy a cruise on the backwaters. On the way, you are also treated to local authentic cuisines.
Standing adjoining the well-known Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple at the East Fort in Trivandrum, Kuthiramalika or Puthenmalika palace was erected by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma - the King of Travancore. This palace is a great example of very few left specimens of the traditional Travancore style of architecture where exquisite wood is also used. Now transformed into a museum, it consists of paintings and various other priceless collections of the royal family.
The backwaters of Kumarakom host several exciting events during the months of August to September. One of these are the Snake Boat Races which are held during the occasion of Onam, the harvest festival. Rows of long snake boats compete with each other in this event, which has also been called one of the largest team sports in the world. Usually, a snake boat is directed by four helmsmen, 25 singers and 100 to 123 oarsmen who row vigorously to thevanchipattu (the song of the boatman). This event is witnessed by thousands of people who gather at the water's edge as they make a dash for the finish.