Some of Kerala's finest resorts are hidden in this tiny, rapidly developing area on the shores of Vembanad Lake. The quiet, rustic town of Kumarakom is a haven just outside the humming market town of Kottayam, deep in Central Kerala’s wealthy and lush belt of rubber plantations, many of which have been owned for generations by Syrian Christians. The Christian population is quite noticeable here, with churches and Christian shrines popping up on the horizon every five minutes as you drive. Kerala Christians are particularly devout, and you will see more nuns and fathers here than in most of parts of the world—in fact, this area exports priests to the rest of the world. Christianity has been practiced in these parts longer than anywhere in the western world.

Novelist Arundhati Roy's birthplace, Ayemenem (featured in her 1997 novel The God of Small Things) is nearby; the Coconut Lagoon hotel is next to it. Birds abound in the backwaters, as well as in the sanctuary on the lake's eastern shore. Sailing the Vembanad Lake or exploring the canals is the most enjoyable exploring you could do while in Kumarakom, apart from visiting a selection of seafood restaurants. A small cruise of the lake and the shores nearest to your hotel may be enough to get the flavor of it. A larger part of your time should be devoted to roaming the backwater canals and peeking at a slice of Kuttanad life.

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