Kumarakom , Alleppey
Kumakarom: a lakeside spot where dreams drift with coconuts, jackfruits and fat, ripening bananas. To get there, fly to Cochin or take the train to Kottayam. From both Kottayam and Cochin, buses or taxis to Kumakarom are easily available.
Kumarakom is a cluster of islands, some man-made, reclaimed from the Vembanad Lake. The name derives from the oldest temple in the region, dedicated to Kumaran. An English farmer, Alfred George Baker, arrived in 1847. He created more land from the lake and established Baker House.
Houseboating on the backwaters is a major activity in Kerala, and Kumarakom is a major base for houseboat rentals. Rentals are often expensive, so try to ensure you are getting good value in terms of quality. Many rentals offer on board chefs to help guests enjoy authentic Keralan cuisine.
You won’t be surprised to learn there is plenty of seafood in Kumarakom. Look out for karimeen, a local fish. The usual Keralan appams and ambars are also available.
Being a small village, Kumarakom is hardly a center for shopping. But souvenirs are available. Help out a local trader by buying something that helps you bring your memories back.
A good way to explore is by boating. Renting a houseboat may not feel like getting off the beaten track, but it is the best way to see the local life and lesser known villages.
The Kumarakom Boat-Race takes place every year at Onam time, usually in September. Kumarakom is a center for fishing and home to many species of birds and plants.
Make sure your houseboat provider is reputable, trustworthy and has a good reputation locally. Be careful of mosquito bites and take all the necessary safety precautions that you would anywhere in India. Kumarakom is a peaceful village, but crime can still happen.