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Home » Southern India
Kumarakom MapPerched sleepily amongst a tangle of lush tropical waterways known as the Keralan backwaters, Kumarakom is technically a cluster of islands on Lake Vembanad.

Kerala's back country water-ways appear far removed from the universe most of us inhabit, because of the seclusion and beauty, yet they are linked to the remainder of the world in a actual way, and have been for at least millennia. In earlier times, if less so today, these waterways were the beginning point for the transport of south Indian spices, which finally found there way to the distant shores of Europe and beyond.

Formed by 40 odd rivers that flow to the Arabian Sea from the Cardamom hills in the Western Ghats, this network of rivers, canals, lakes and estuaries comprises of India's most stunning areas - a rural expanse of verdant coconut groves and rice paddies. In Malayalam, the language of Kerala, the backwaters are known as Kuttanad, "the land of short people", a reference, perhaps, to the fact that the farmers seen working here are often knee-deep in paddy fields. Even today coconut, pepper, coir, rice and other such products of the region are carried along these waterways in traditional boats called kettuvallams.

Spread across 14 acres is the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, an ornithologist's paradise. The sanctuary is a favoured haunt of migratory birds. A cruise along the Vembanad Lake is the best way to experience the sanctuary.
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