If your vacation is long pending and if you are craving to stretch and relax on your much awaited holiday, you need to be in Kumarakom. The competitive world takes its toll and everyone loves a breather. While some may still seek action oriented holiday, some may love to be in the company of nature and feel one with nature. If you are looking for a break to be on a spot that has everything about it beautiful and naturally so, you cannot overlook Kumarakom. Kumarakom is a cluster of scenic islands around the picturesque Vembanad Lake. The town is nature rich with everything in it enjoying the gift of nature in its abundance. With the soil so fertile, the land is full of paddy fields, coconut groves and mango groves. The lush greenery and the backwaters in a picturesque setting have made Kumarakom one among world’s 25 remote and exotic destinations declared by the Cande Nast Travellers, a travel magazine in the year 1998. While every inch of Kumarakom is beautiful, here are top 7 places to visit in and near Kumarakom which you cannot miss.
Vembanad Lake is the largest lake in Kerala. It is India’s longest lake too as the vast expanse of water runs from Kochi in north to Alleppey in south. It is otherwise known as Vembanad Kayal. It invites migratory birds from all parts of the world. It is a confluence of three rivers. To explore Kumarakom, you could hire a houseboat and sail the stretch of water. The small islands around and the serene atmosphere will be heavenly. The lake is rich in marine creatures with over 150 different kinds of fish in the waters.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
The 14 acre bird sanctuary is the favorite spot for migratory birds from all parts of the world. It is situated on the banks of Vembanad Lake. The bird sanctuary houses a wide range of birds including cuckoo, water duck, owl, kingfishers, woodpeckers and egret. The migratory birds that attract attention include Siberian cranes, teal, wood beetle and many more. It is a birdwatchers’ paradise and you could make best use of your visit to this place by hiring houseboats and motorboats.
Pathiramanal is one of the islands in Vembanad Lake. Pathiramanal means the ‘sand of night’. The 10 acre island houses an aquarium and a zoo. Some of the exotic types of migratory birds can be seen here. Since this island can be accessed only by boat, you could stop on your cruise on the backwaters to stretch yourself on the green island.
Juma Masjid is an ancient mosque that is over 1000 years old. It is also called Thazhathangadi Mosque. It is said that the mosque was constructed by Malik Dinar’s son Habib Dinar. Malik Dinar was behind the introduction of Islam in Kerala. This is considered one of the oldest mosques in the country. The magnificent architecture and the exquisite wood carvings are stunning. The inner courtyard, windows and the bathing area are excellently built that they look royal.
Vaikom Sree Mahadeva Temple
Vaikom in Kottayam district of the southern state of India, Kerala, is one of the main pilgrim centres of the south. Famous for the Vaikkath Asthami celebrations in November/December, it is one of the few temples which is held in reverence by both Shaivaites and the Vaishnavaites. Vaikkom’s Shiva is fondly called Vaikkathappan. The Shiva Linga here is believed to be from the ‘Treta yuga’ and considered as one of the oldest temples in Kerala where pooja has not been broken since inception
Ettumanoor Mahadevar Temple
Ettumanoor Mahadeva temple is an ancient Shiva temple in Kottayam, Kerala, India. It has brought glory and fame to the place. Myths have it that the Pandavas and the sage Vyasa had worshipped at this temple. The name of the place has its origin from the word ‘manoor’, which means the land of deer. The temple is one of the major Shiva temples in Kerala counted along with the Shiva temples of Chengannur Mahadeva Temple, Kaduthruthy Mahadeva Temple, Vaikom Temple, Ernakulam Shiva Temple and Vadakkunathan temple
St. Alphonsa shrine church & pilgrim center Bharananganam
Pope John Paul II of hallowed memory raised Sr. Alphonsa to the honours of the altar at Kottayam in 1986. Though only two decades have gone by since her beatification, the fame of her sanctity has already reached every part of the world, drawing pilgrims in their hundreds to Blessed Alphonsa’s tomb at Bharananganam,kottayam. The pilgrims who come to pray at her tomb will certainly find in her a life wholly worthy of emulation.
Blessed Alphonsa’s success consists in having whole-heartdly co-operated with God, accepting unconditionally the set of circumstance that it pleased him to assign to her. Christ is the centre of our faith and realizing it Alphonsa devoted herself to Christ with a deep and abiding love. Love demands sacrifice and Alphonsa too felt this demand. If one is to suffer one’s pain cheerfully, there should be a commensurate love behind this suffering and it was so in Blessed Alphonsa’s case. Her love for her Lord knew no bounds.
Like a grain of wheat she got dissolved into the soil here to come up as a great tree of holiness and now she is a model for the whole world.Constructing churches in honour of saints and making pilgrimages to their tombs are time-honoured customs in the Holy Church. The churches dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, as well as the pilgrimages under taken to these churches, serve to illustrate this. In our own country people used to make pilgrimages to the tomb of St. Thomas at Mylapore. In a sense the church itself is a pilgrim; the pilgrimages that the members of the church make are indeed spiritual journeys. These pilgrimages are at once the expression of faith and acts that reinforce faith. They may be considered a form of prayer as well as a declaration of one’s conversion-individual and social. Pilgrimages, further, highlight the social aspect of the church. Let your thoughts rise up to Blessed Alphonsa and to God as you trudge along the road to the tomb of the holy sister. If this happens, that would be a divine experience for you.