Kumarakom in Kerala must be included in the bucket list of every traveller. An internationally renowned backwater destination, set up in the tranquil waters of Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is bestowed with exquisite natural beauty. In fact, it is the only place in India after Kashmir, which is known for its houseboat rides. The rich flora espoused with wild fauna makes the place more popular amongst the nature enthusiasts.
So, with these tempting attractions, we decided to explore Kumarakom last November. The weather was amicable for our long planned Kumarakom tour. We reached Kumarakom at 5 in the morning. After the power nap for a couple of hours, we decided to take a boat ride to Pathiramanal Island. The charm of the rich green vegetation, which we crossed while reaching the island is definitely memorable.
‘Pathiramanal‘ meaning ‘sands of night’ is a small island located in the middle of Vembanad Lake. We spotted many rare migratory birds like egret and heron bathing themselves gracefully in the waters of Vembanad. It was like sitting and watching a live wildlife channel. We had only seen them on television and it was a completely different experience to see them flocking freely towards the expansive blue sky. Pathiramanal is not only a haven for endangered birds but also many rare plants like Aponogeton appendiculatus, Macuna gigantean, Flagellaria indica, and mangrove species like Bruguiera gymnorhiza, Soniratia apetala and Exoecaria agallocha are also found, though in less numbers.
What fascinated us the most was the legend associated with the island? It’s said that once a famous Brahmin named Vilwamangalathu Swamiar, during a night boat ride through Vembanad Lake, wanted to answer the call of nature. For this he magically created the island at night from the lake, hence giving the island its name. We walked through the island, enjoying its lush green beauty and then we finally headed towards the famous Water Bird Sanctuary. We hired a boat as the locals told us that the sanctuary is best enjoyed by a cruise or a boat ride. Now that was fun!
Experiencing the wildlife on a moving boat was like a kaleidoscopic image before us. Sheer bliss, indeed! We were enchanted and surprised by the creating capability of the almighty. Such innocent and beautiful lives, bright vivid colours as if the God in the heaven was sitting with the best quality of paints and brushes. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and it was time to march toward our next destination, the Driftwood Museum.
As the name suggests, the museum homes the sculptures of various wild animals, carved out of the driftwood pieces. We rushed through the museum as the closing time was at 5 pm and we had very less time to explore the place. The museum displayed a unique collection of superior quality driftwood sculptures prepared through rare and innovative art form. All the displays in the museum had an inculcation of qualities like imagination, creativity, initiation and originality in them. We had never witnessed such an art form before.
After several more tourist places in Kumarakom, we finally went back to our hotel. Tired with the full day of exploration, sleep enveloped us like the swathing mirages wrestling with the brilliance of the lagoon. Our Kumarakom tour had come to an end.
The very thought of leaving the place left a hollow feeling within us. The place had done its magic on us, we had fallen for its beauty and it was hard to leave. Somehow we packed our luggage and headed towards the railway station.
One of our group members enthusiastically exclaimed that he wanted to visit Kumarakom again. But nobody replied because all of us had the same thing in our minds.