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
Out of the Top 25 Hotels in India, 5 are in Kerala. The other 3 are Old Harbour Hotel, Kochi (ranked 2nd), SajHome, Kochi (ranked 4th) and Camp Noel, Munnar (ranked 14th).
With the roads and facilities getting improved, the flagship tourist destination of Kerala, our Kumarakom, will see a rise in domestic tourism too. The upcoming lake-side walkway at Kumarakom will definitely become another wonderful spot for a quick-trip.
The Zuri Kumarakom
Vivanta by Taj
Special Mention: The recently opened Fairmont Hotel, S. H. Mount (4 star) is a magnificent addition to the luxury hotel line-up.
Located under 20kms from Kottayam town, is the strong yet smooth milky waterfalls at Aruvikuzhi (also spelled Aruvikkuzhi). Water gushes down from a height of 100ft, over huge rocks from a check dam. It then flows forward as a very active stream, hitting and splashing on every and many rocks in its way.
Waterfalls are nothing new. But this certainly is. A rarity. It’s located practically inside rubber plantations. Not a single sun-ray falls on you directly. And nothing other than the happy roar of the water, falls on your ears.
Note: The waterfall is active only during rainy days.