Kerala 2009: Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom

Date: 28th August 2009

Though the main purpose of this trip was to attend a friend’s wedding, as always, being an out-of-town wedding, I’d use the opportunity to travel around. This time, it was a chance to explore a bit of south Kerala. Being from north Kerala and having only visited Trivandrum years back, I’ve longed to visit the parts of Kerala that are now most synonymous with tourism in Kerala.

We (me and a friend) left Bangalore city from K.R. Puram station in the evening and headed for Ernakulam, an overnight train ride that took nearly 12 hours. Upon arriving (really) early in the morning, we got off the train only to board the one next to it. An hour-long journey took us to our friend’s hometown in Kottayam. Given that we had a day before his wedding — and the fact that his place had little to offer in terms of “tourist sights,” we decided to head for the tourist village of Kumarakom.

When we heard Kumarakom wasn’t very far from Kottayam city, we thought of saving some time by taking an auto. Then the auto driver said it would come to around Rs. 160 (€2.50/$3). So instead, we just waited for the KSRTC bus — which cost us Rs. 6 (too low to convert!) per person. Clearly the better option.

30 minutes later, we were at the “jetty” stop, pretty much the starting point for the boat rides to the lake. There are other roads on either side of the stream that will lead you to the many resorts that surround Vembanad Lake, the biggest lake in Kerala.

We opted for the 1-hour boat ride from the KTDC which cost Rs. 350 (€5/$7). (We didn’t try bargaining because these rides were conducted by the tourism department and it was written on a board there. But you could try.)

Kumarakom Vembanad lake backwaters longboatKumarakom lake backwaters speed boatsKumarakom houseboat small boat

Kumarakom lake houseboats backwaters
These houseboats can cost anywhere from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 16,000 per day
Kumarakom lake houseboats kerala
The prices vary based on the amenities available on each boat

The backwaters leading up to the lake were lined up with houseboats and smaller boats parked on either side. It was an odd mix of luxury resorts among houses belonging to villagers, both living off a tourism economy.

Kumarakom houseboat village houseKumarakom fishermen boatThe backwaters eventually lead out to Vembanad Lake.

Kumarakom lake VembanadAnd even though the pictures may not give you the scale, trust me, it’s big!

Kumarakom Vembanad lakeKumarakom Bird Sanctuary is located on the east coast of the lake, which explained all the birds flying around and getting a better view of the lake.

Kumarakom lake birds formationKumarakom Vembanad lake birdsKumarakom Vembanad lake birds pole wingsKumarakom Vembanad lake birds poleThe boat ride is very relaxing and I would definitely recommend taking it at around sunset.

Mithun kumarakom lake boat ride
Me, about to fall asleep from the lazy ride

Kumarakom lake boat sunsetKumarakom Vembanad lake sunset

Kumarakom has dozens of resorts by the lake. From high-end properties from the Taj Group and the famous Kumarakom Lake resort to mid-range offerings farther away. If you can afford it, it really is a great option for a romantic sojourn.

Kumarakom lake resort VembanadKumarakom lake coupleBack on land, we paid up and took a bus back to Kottayam. The next morning was our friend’s wedding, the venue being the local church.

Kottayam church cross post boxChurch cross letter boxKottayam church stepsKottayam church Jesus sky

Joe wedding photographers
His big day

Kottayam church Jesus statueAfter the wedding, we headed back to our room and caught up with a third friend, who would join us for the rest of our journey.

Kumarakom was just the first stop. Next up was Thekkady and then Cochin.

Camera used: Nikon D90; post processing done in Photoshop CS3

P.S: Here’s a small video I took from Vembanad Lake:

Learn more about Kerala’s amazing backwaters:

Kerala tourism backwater
Click the image to visit greatbackwaters.com
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One Comments

  • Kerala Houseboats

    06/04/2010

    It is great to hear that some who has visited kerala backwaters and made that trip a truly memorable one. Kumarakom and Alleppey are the best places to enjoy a houseboat travel. I have created a page in facebook.com : http://facebook.com/keralahouseboats

    [Reply]

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