Houseboats, Lake Vembanad, bird sanctuary, Kumarakom, Kerala
Kumarakom, the most famous backwaters village in Kerala, is on the east banks of Vembanad Lake which is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Kerala and the longest lake in India. Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things is set in Ayemenem or Aymanam village, which adjoins Kumarakom. The explosive success of this novel has given some added tourism impetus to this area. To satisfy the thirst for tourism, many resorts have sprung up, doting the banks of the backwaters and the lake. Coconut lagoon, has probably the most prime spot, opening up into the lake and daily visits from all the birds. KTDC has a resort, Waterscapes, which also serves as the entrance point into the Kumarakom bird sanctuary.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary serves as a temporary home to many species of migratory birds. The Vembanad Lake is a habitat for many marine and freshwater fish species and it teems with Karimeen and shrimp. The bird sanctuary extends over 14 acres and came into existence following preservation efforts from the government. Egrets, Herons, Kingfishers, Cormorants all are found in plenty.
Any picture you see of the backwaters of Kerala was probably taken in Kumarakom, and no amount of pictures evokes the same feelings as gliding in a kettuvallam, a traditional boat, or a houseboat on the backwaters or on Vembanad lake, and being part of an ecosystem that includes thousands of birds. Kumarakom is a must see for any visitor to India and truly represents the words Incredible India.