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If there is a place that could be rightly termed, the navel of Gods own country, it’s nowhere other than Kumarakam, both figuratively and literally. Petted by the luxurious waves from the back waters of the ‘Kumarakam Kayal’ (Lake) and fostered by the ever pertinent breeze across the same, this exotic adobe of natural beauty turns to be the most promising tourist destination of the state and is now one of the 10 preferred destination of the world. Geographically located at 9.35 North and 76.26 East, the village of Kumarakam is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake in Kerala, a state in India. Though it was always a relaxation place for the local community, Kumarakam got its international acclaim as a tourist destination in the recent past only. The mesmerizing house boat rides, the luxury hotels and resorts along the Lake side, the seductive silence of the natural bird sanctuary along with the authentic Kerala recipe of ‘kappa(tapioca) & karimeen curry’ and ‘madura kallu(toddy)’, all makes this place a dream come true. Karimeen, a spotted fish is a special gift of the back waters.
Now a day lots of tour organizers are offering tempting tour packages with Kumarakam being the centre of attraction. The hotels and resorts thriving along the banks of the Lake have got their own unique packages. The peace and serenity of the area is it’s greatest USP (unique selling proposition). Kumarakam is not entirely a tourist dependent town but also derives a reasonable income from agriculture. The area is populated by mangrove forests, paddy fields and coconut groves. This rich agricultural environment is mainly irrigated using interspersed waterways and canals. Furthermore Kumarakam’s perfectly balanced tropical climate poses an advantage to the growth of plants and trees.
The local people are generally peace loving and follows a neat and healthy life style. Fishing, shell collection and farming and the main occupation of the peoples along the back water shores. The menfolk use small fishing boats and nets. The fisherwomen have developed a special skill in fishing. They walk neck-deep in water carrying terracotta pots with them. The ‘Karimeen’ on seeing the fisherwomen bury their heads in the mud underwater and the women feel the fish with their toes, grab them and deposit in the earthen pots they carry.
Kuttanad, the granary of Kerala is believed to have been under the sea long ago and as a proof of this, large shell deposits which are usually found in sea, can be seen in the lakes here. The people being familiar with the places where fresh water mussels breed in great number, anchor there boats over these places and dive down to bring up basket loads of these shells. By boiling these mussels in large pots, the flesh and shells are separated. The flesh is used as food which is a very tasty Kerala style preparation. The shells are then burnt in kilns on the banks making an excellent building lime which is another alternative source of income for many people in this area. It is interesting to note that the method farming adopted in this place is very similar to the farming style which is in use in Holland. Coconut, cocoa and banana are also a good source of income. The water from tender coconut can be rightly termed the finest drink which is also medicinal in nature.
Article by : Manu Thomas