Kumarakom is located in the Kottayam district of Kerala. It is home of the backwaters and is 40 kms from Cochin city.
In 1878, George Alfred Baker, a missionary from England cleared the region's mangroves and started replacing them with coconut plantations. The region's early history saw settlers such as the Negrito people focused in three areas, then known as Malabar, Cannanore and Kasargode. the Negritos were followed by the Austriches and the Dravidians. After the Portuguese discovered the sea route to India a deluge of them arrived here. Many of them made Kumarakom their permanent home. Kumarakom earlier also served as a rubber plantation and was later developed into a Bird Sanctuary. Today, Kumarakom stands as one of the most popular retreat in India.
The regional cuisine is structured around rice and sea food. But vegetarian dishes are also cooked immaculately by locals. Dishes are usually made using coconut milk. And a hearty dinner must be topped off with a glass of toddy, a locally made alcoholic drink.
The native language is Malyalam. But as this is the Indian state with the highest rate of literacy, English is widely spoken, more so than even Hindi.
No trip to Kumarakom is complete without a cruise on Lake Vembanad. Kettuvallams or houseboats can be seen languidly passing by on the lake and are easily available for hire. Day tours can also take you to a local village for a hearty, local lunch and to observe how coir products are made by the villagers. For cruising through the canals, one can try vallams or canoes. On the banks of the Vembanad is the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. The 14-acre area is home to countless indigenous species of birds and also receives migratory birds from as far away as Siberia and the Himalayas. Read more