Kumarakom, a cluster of little islands in Kottayam district, is one of the favourite tourist villages in Kerala. Spread on the cold water of Vembanad Lake Kumarakom is well known for its fresh water fish species like the Karimeen (pearl spot), Chemmeen (shrimp) and prawns.
PACKAGE-1 A DAY WITH FARMERS
THE EXPERIENCE: Kumarakom is a cluster of small picturesque islands around the Vembanad Lake. The village is well acclaimed for its backwaters, delicious cuisine and greenery. This tourist destination, over the years, is one of the most visited in Kerala. Our journey will begin at Kavanatinkara after a briefing session. You will be accompanied by a guide who will familiarise you to the landscapes and the lush green surroundings of Kumarakom.
AT THE TOP OF A COCUNUT TREE: Learn how the times changed, as Ajeesh shows you two ways of climbing a coconut tree – the laborious traditional way using a thalappu and the modern way using the latest instruments. Celebrate the end of class by treating yourself to fresh tender coconut.
TASTE OF TENDER COCUNUT: Enjoy the beauty of green paddy fields at Sabu’s house. In his coconut grove, you will get to taste some sweet coconut water and tender coconut. Then you head to Ajeesh’s home.
TODDY TAPPING: Proceed across paddy fields to reach the next stopover—a coconut grove. Taste the famed Kerala beverage, toddy, fresh out of the pot. Watch toddy being tapped from a coconut tree closely. You can also tour the vegetable plantation nearby, and learn about unique plants and spices. Proceed across paddy fields to reach the next stopover—a coconut grove. Taste the famed Kerala beverage, toddy, fresh out of the pot. Watch toddy being tapped from a coconut tree closely. You can also tour the vegetable plantation nearby, and learn about unique plants and spices.
GOWRI’S HOUSE: Gowri takes you through the art of weaving coconut leaves. Then she lets you try your hand at it.
NET FISHING: Suresh, a skilled fisherman of Manjira, will teach you some tried-and-true fishing tips. Watch in awe as he casts a net and catches a few with ease. We then proceed to Latha’s home in a little boat
LATHA’S HOUSE: Latha’s home is where you get to watch the fascinating process of coir making. Check out the various steps involved and try your hand at coir spinning. Stop and lunch at RT’s Samrudhi Restaurant or a farmer’s house before you head to the next stopover. A sumptuous meal of boiled rice and traditional delights served on a plantain leaf will be awaiting you.
BOW AND ARROW FISHING: A skilled fisherman shows you how to fish the traditional way – using bow and arrow. Try your luck at it
WORLD OF SCREW PINES: Learn from Omana how screw pine products are made. Don’t forget to buy the one or two that catch your fancy.
ANTONY’S FARM: Our journey ends at Antony’s home, where you can discover real livestock farming. His dairy farm will give you a glimpse of the various steps and stages involved and introduce you to various breeds of cattle. Located near his farm is a pond where you can try fishing. A lucky hook of yours will be served to you along with tea and snacks.
PACKAGE 2- BEYOND THE BACKWATERS
BEYOND THE EXPERIENCE: An initiative by village women, this package will take you through the simple life of villagers. The journey will begin in a country boat awaiting you near Aattamangalam Church. Two village women will row you through Kannadi Chal, a picturesque canal. And after a pleasant 45-minute-ride, you will be at your first stopover.
KANDAN KAVU: Here you can enjoy Kumarakom’s unique biodiversity while you relax and watch a typical day in the village unfold.
CRECHE: Our next stop is the local Anganwadi [Crèche]. Don’t miss this opportunity to interact with the teachers and kids studying here. The Anganwadi acts as the nodal centre for the implementation of various schemes of the Government for the development of women and children.
BOW AND ARROW FISHING: A little ahead we can see an interesting local practice, a traditional fishing technique using bows and arrows. As the guide explains the intricacies of this method, you can also try your luck at making a catch.
CATCH NET FISHING: Inland fishing practices have been around since time immemorial in this region.You will get to watch a seasoned fisherman demonstrate his mastery of catch nets and trawl nets, first-hand.
LEELAAMANI’S HOUSE: Here, local women weave coconut leaves into roof thatching. These leaves provide very efficient thermal insulation to houses. Observe the skill and speed with which they weave one leaf after another. Also, try your hand at it with expert guidance from the ladies here.
LEELA’S HOUSE: We make our way to a house nearby to see the making of brooms using the veins of coconut leaves. Our host, Leela, with the help of our guide, will explain the commercial aspects and techniques involved in broom making.
SOSANNA’S HOUSE: Using a locally abundant resource, the screw pine, Sosamma and her family weave amazing handicraft mats. Screw pines have an almost mythical reverence in the villages and traditional Kerala mats are made out of their leaves.
BACKYARD GARDEN: Homestead farming is a prevalent practice in Kerala. Familiarise yourself with the many crops found in the region as we go through the vegetable patch and participate in the farming activities. Also, taste home grown fruits found here.
PLANTAIN ORCHARD: We move on to the nearby plantain orchard managed by the local Kudumbashree (Self-help Group) unit. Kerala is known for diverse varieties of plantains cultivated, some of which can only be found in the state.
CRAFTERS CORNER: Our next visit will be to the house of a skilled artisan, who crafts beautiful snake boat, houseboat and country boat models. If you want you can also buy the exhibits on display.