This place should have been profiled here way earlier. The ‘J-YES Farms’ at Neendoor is freely open to all, throughout the year. Along with the rearing of a variety of animals, fishes and birds, the place has a landscaped garden, swings for kids, a plant nursery, an agricultural museum that archives old and traditional farming implements and household objects. There is an open air cafeteria too.
The locals take pride in this project. During the weekends, the place gets filled especially with kids!
It was in January 2011 that Naalumanikkaattu was opened. A first-of-its-kind. The great amount of care and attention given to its maintenance and good-going have paid off greatly. The place is now frequented by at least a couple hundreds people, especially on weekends. The idea was fresh, very practical and the execution was flawless.
Goodness inspires. There are now two more spots in Kottayam that are inspired by the change-of-air Naalumanikkattu offered. Kalathilkadavu Puzhayorasahyanam along the Kodoor River on the Devalokam – Kolladu road (view on map) and Aattutheeram along the Meenachil River, between Cherppunkal and Mutholy, on the Ettumanoor – Pala highway (view on map). These are not as elaborate as Naalumanikkattu but are good little open places for some leisure.
There are about 6-8 benches here, along the roadside towards the bridge. There is an open park for kids with swings & see-saws, a locally-run hotel that serves snacks & drinks and an ice cream counter. The view get more scenic towards sunset.
The Aattutheeram project on the Cherppunkal – Mutholy stretch is a kilometre long beautification of the highway. A passionately maintained garden runs along the road on both sides and it instantly improves the feel of the trip. Even the routine, boring commute will feel better as you pass by. Extending the project, there are now few benches along the garden that overlook the Meenachil River with faint & foggy view of mountains far away.
This walkway is at a walking distance from the Kumarakom Govt. Boat Jetty. It’s about 300m long and ends at a roofed viewpoint – the point where the canal join the Vembanad Lake. (View on map)
There is an adequately sized parking lot right beside the Jetty. A 3oo-metre walk from here, along the canal-side road will get us to the walkway. The walkway is fenced on both sides and fully paved with non-slippery tiles. Savour the view, feel the air, enjoy the walk.
There is a chapel near the end which is situated in the lake. This dramatic spot has been the location for many films, including the giant-hit Mohanlal flick – Spadikam (see the screenshots at the end).
The trip could be extended to include a 30 minute (one-way) nonstop boat journey across the Vembanad Lake to Muhamma and back on a Govt. ferry service from the Govt. Jetty. Include a visit to the Bird Sanctuary located about 3kms away in Kavanattinkara/Kumarakom Tourist Complex and you have got a solid one-day trip in hand.
And hey, the Kottayam-Kumarakom road is now super-good from Illickal. It has a Changanacherry-Alappuzha Road feel to it!
List of places to visit and things to do in Kumarakom
The Kottayam Aquarium is located adjacent to the Municipal Jubilee Park, Nagampadam. After Naalumanikkaattuon the Manarcad – Ettumanoor bypass, the public aquarium is a wonderful addition to the gradually-increasing list of leisure spots.
Location: Adjacent to the Municipal Jubilee Park, Kurian Uthuppu Road, Nagampadam.
Working Hours: 11 am to 7 pm – Monday Holiday.
Tickets: Rs. 20/- for adults and Rs. 10/- for children.
The air-conditioned aquarium houses a huge variety of magnificent fishes and amazing marine biomass. This project is aided by the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and is executed by Kottayam Municipality in association with Matsyafed. There is sale of aquariums and accessories too.
In addition to the spacious parking area inside the compound, there is ample space on the Kurian Uthuppu road side too.
Club the Aquarium and the Jubilee Park for an evening; it will be a great family evening.