Kumarakom, a small but peerless Village is a fast developing backwater tourism hub in Kerala. It is situated on the bank of the Lake Vembanad, the biggest lake in the west coast of India. This lake and the canals flowing to it offer a unique canvas to the travelers. On the banks of this backwater, one can see lush green rice fields spreading away into the distance, coconut palm groves and other tropical vegetation. Kumarakom is famous for a bird sanctuary home to 91 species of local and 50 species of migratory birds. Kumarakom also has a number of mangrove species, of which 3 are reported only from Kumarakom. The mangrove forests are also the feeding and breeding grounds for numerous species of fishes. Blessed with the backwaters and pristine nature, Kumarakom is known for its Kayal, Kuil and Karimeen ( Lake Bird, and Fish ). The Vembanad lake supports the third largest population of more than 20,000 water fowls in India during the winter months. One can motor down from Kochi to Kumarakom through the lake and narrow canals under the shadow of tall graceful coconut palms.
In the past, before the vehicle explosion on Kerala roads, most of the goods were transported through boats and people sailed on boats for their day to day activities. The lake is also an important resource area for local livelihoods dependent on fishing and allied industries and support a highly productive agricultural system not only around Kumarakom, but the entire backwater areas of Kerala. Backwaters generally known as `the rice bowl of Kerala’ spread over 1100 sq.KMs which is a reclaimed portion of the lake. It also supports rich fishing resources and acts as a sink and transformer for the agricultural and municipal wastes discharged into it. The lake supports unique cultural traditions, water centered social institutions and lifestyle.Based on the rich biodiversity and socio economic importance Vembanad Lake was declared as a Ramsar Site, a wetland of international importance in November 2001.
Eco Trails Kerala, the tour operating company based at Kumarakom, offers Houseboat cruises along the scenic backwater villages at Vembanad lake. The houseboats operated by company has eco-friendly features with comfortable sleeping cabinets, attached with shower, toilet etc. The entire Houseboat structure is made with wood & natural coconut fiber. These Houseboats are made by local craftsman by using conventional & traditional methods. The crew members (navigator, cook, service persons) in the Houseboat are trained local people who provide very naturalistic services to tourists. And the company uses home grown vegetables, fruits, fresh fish from the lake etc. to serve the tourists on cruise.
For details, visit the official web site http://www.ecotourskerala.com.