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Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, nestled amidst the verdant embrace of Kerala’s backwaters, unveils a haven for bird enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. This sanctuary is home to a rich variety of resident and migratory birds, creating a captivating spectacle of colour, soothing but distinctive chirping, and smoothness of nature. Imagine gentle houseboats gliding silently on the mirrored surface of Vembanad Lake, the air alive with the melodious calls of birds flitting amongst the lush mangroves and the towering trees. The tranquillity of the setting is only interrupted by the symphony of chirps, croaks, and whistles created by the inhabitants. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a place where nature enthusiasts can truly reconnect with the beauty and diversity of the natural world.

About Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

 Bird flocking in Kumarakom Bird Sancturay

Image Credit: Dhruvaraj S for Wikimedia Commons

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, also known as Vembanad Bird Sanctuary, sprawls across 14 hectares on the banks of the majestic Vembanad Lake. If you get deeper into the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary’s history, it dates back to 1847. During that time, Alfred George Baker, a planter, began developing the wetlands. The untouched land, coupled with the proximity to the lake, fostered a haven for birds, eventually transforming it into a designated bird sanctuary. So, what started as a different project ended up being home to 500+ species of local and exotic bird species.

Today, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is recognized as the first scientifically formed bird sanctuary in India, attracting birdwatchers from across the globe. What’s alluring about this bird sanctuary is its unique ecosystem. There are man-made canals, lush mangroves, and a network of different types of trees, which add to the sanctuary’s true natural beauty. This unique habitat also makes it a perfect destination for a wide variety of birds to live and thrive in. Furthermore, this includes a vibrant mix of resident and migratory birds, offering a year-round spectacle of feathers and flight.

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Things To Do

As the name of the place suggests, the bird sanctuary Kumarakom is best known for its bird-watching activities. However, that’s not the only reason you should visit. Following are all the unique activities you can indulge in while you are in the bird sanctuary:

1. Birdwatching Tours


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Since the highlight of this sanctuary is birdwatching, you can take the time to embark on a tour with an experienced naturalist. Naturalists possess a deep understanding of the sanctuary’s birdlife. They can help you identify various bird species by sight and sound, pointing out distinguishing features and behaviours, which is quite fun. Also, having a professional with you lets you spot birds easily unseen or spotted. Beyond the knowledge of the birds, these tours are also great to learn more about the ecological diversity and significance of the sanctuary.

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2. Nature Walk

Nature Walk at Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

Image Source: Pxhere

While birdwatching tours offer a structured experience, exploring the sanctuary’s trails on a nature walk allows you to immerse yourself in its tranquillity at your own pace. There are guided nature walks available. However, set your own pace and explore your surroundings. It is an effective way to enjoy your company, learn about the different ecosystems and soak in the peace of the birds singing around. The sanctuary’s trails might lead you to secluded spots, hidden coves along the lake, or vibrant patches of flowers teeming with insect life. These unexpected discoveries can enhance your appreciation for the sanctuary’s diverse ecosystem.

3. Photography


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Undoubtedly one of the most intriguing experiences inside the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary lies in the photography experience. If you wish to capture the birds in motion and the fleeting moments or from a distance, you’d need to carry a good-quality camera for it. You can take pictures when on a houseboat cruise exploring the area, not just the birds and ecosystem around you. That said, remember that you are sharing the sanctuary with birds. Avoid using flash photography or making loud noises since that could disturb and displace them from their spots.

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Places To Visit Near Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

Kumarakom, with its laid-back charm and rich culture and traditions, offers a wide range of sightseeing spots to stop and explore. If you are done exploring the bird sanctuary Kumarakom and have time on your hands, consider adding one or multiple of these spots to your itinerary:

1. Vembanad Lake

Vembanad Lake ear Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

Image Credit: Rison Thumboor for Wikimedia Commons

The Vembanad Lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in India that attracts tourists with its serene backwaters. Besides witnessing the beauty, you can charter a houseboat to stroll through the backwaters. Opt for a day cruise or an overnight stay on a houseboat. Day cruises offer a scenic exploration of the backwaters, while overnight stays allow you to truly immerse yourself in the tranquillity and witness the breathtaking beauty of sunrise and sunset over the lake.
Distance from Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary: 5.3 Km

2. Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls

Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls

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Located 35 km from the bird sanctuary, Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls is a beautiful waterfall in the Kottayam district of Kerala, India. The waterfall is 30 feet high and active during the monsoon season. So, if you are planning your visit to the bird sanctuary during the monsoon, stop by the waterfalls, too. Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.
Distance from Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary: 34.6 Km

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3. Pathiramanal Island

Pathiramanal Island near kumarakom bird sanctuary

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The Pathiramanal Island, often known as “The Sands of Midnight,” is a quaint island located around 16 km from the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. This 28.5-hectare island is a haven for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers, residing about 1.5 kilometres from Muhamma boat jetty and roughly 13 kilometres from Alappuzha city. Estimates say that the area has over 91 local species of birds and 50 migratory birds, including cormorants, darters, egrets, herons, kingfishers, parrots, and owls.
Distance from Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary: 16.8 Km

Best Time To Visit Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

Best time to visit

Image Credit: Ashishchepure for Wikimedia Commons

Since it’s a bird sanctuary, most birdwatching enthusiasts visit depending on the specific bird they wish to witness up close. Usually, November to February accounts for the migratory season, where you get to witness a wide range of exotic birds flocking into the sanctuary from great distances. Birds like Siberian Stork, egrets, darters, herons, and teals make up a common sight during these specific months.

Visiting from June to August coincides with the breeding season, during which you can immerse yourself in the vibrant activity of resident birds like the Indian Darter, Little Cormorant, egrets, herons, White Ibis, and various kingfishers.
So, when planning your visit to the bird sanctuary, learn about the birds and when they would be best visible inside the sanctuary. Based on the answers, you can visit during the period that’s the most convenient for you.

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Basic Information About Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

Details about Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

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Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary timings – 06:30 to 05:00 AM.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary entry fees – INR 100 per person.
Location – Kavanattinkara, Kumarakom, Kerala 686563.
Distance from Major Cities – Kottayam: 14 kilometres, Kochi: 106 kilometres, Thiruvananthapuram: 164 kilometres.

How To Reach

Best ways to Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

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Kumarakom is a well-connected city in Kerala. The nearest airport is the Kochi International Airport while the nearest railway station is Kottayam Railway Station. From the airport or railway station, you can opt for a local mode of transportation like taxis, auto rickshaws, etc. to take you to the sanctuary. Ensure you discuss and confirm the fare with the drivers before boarding the vehicle. If you travel via road, State Highway No. 1 provides easy access to the sanctuary. In addition to cars, public buses run regularly.

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Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a gem in the heart of Kerala’s backwaters. Its serene environment, diverse bird species, and beautiful landscapes make it a perfect destination for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers. As you put the finishing touches to the itinerary of your trip to Kerala, ensure to include this majestic bird-watching spot in your list.

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Cover Image credit : By Ganesh Mohan T for Wikimedia Commons.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

What is the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary's best time to visit?

The best time to visit is from November to February when migratory birds are present, and the weather is pleasant. You get to witness a wide range of exotic bird species during this time.

What are the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary entry fees?

The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary entry fee is INR 100 per person. There are no additional charges except for if you opt for guided birdwatching tours.

Are cameras allowed inside the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary?

Photography is allowed inside the bird sanctuary, so if you are planning to capture unique shots, ensure to carry a high-quality digital camera with you.

What types of birds can be seen at Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary?

Visitors can spot a variety of resident and migratory birds such as the Siberian crane, egret, heron, waterfowl, and ducks.

Is boating available at Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary?

Yes, boating on Vembanad Lake is a popular activity. Visitors can hire houseboats or smaller boats to explore the lake.

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