Kerala’s Kumarakom — ‘where dreams are re-dreamt’ — wins yet another laurel in pan-India survey

The backwater hub topped an all-India survey of revenue gained by hotels and resorts in popular leisure destinations.

BySouth First Desk

Published Sep 30, 2023 | 1:01 PMUpdatedSep 30, 2023 | 1:03 PM


Enchanting Aymanam, which Arundhati Roy popularised through her 1997 Booker Prize-winning The God of Small Things, featured in the Conde Nast Traveller’s 30 best places to visit in 2022.

Ten km from Aymanam is Kumarakom, a part of Kerala’s wonderland, Kuttanad, where the mesmerising green of vast paddy polders seamlessly merges with the blue of the exotic backwaters.

A cluster of islands scattered in the Vembanad lake, offers a dream vacation in a picture postcard locale that appeals to the senses and soul. It is a place — as Roy refers to the History House in her novel  — “where dreams and re-dreamt”.

Life moves on at an idyllic, serene, and salubrious pace — like the leisurely cruising houseboats — at Kumarakom, 13 km from the district headquarters Kottayam.

Though late — it remained tucked away till recently — the backwater hub of Kumarakom has now found a place of pride in the itinerary of both domestic and international tourists wishing to be in the lap of mesmerising waterscape.

Also Read: New York Times puts another feather in Kerala’s cap

Kumaran’s land

Kumarakom is a portmanteau of Malayalam words, Kumaran —  Hindu god Karythikeya — and akam, meaning land. A temple dedicated to Kumaran is located in the village.

The village was part of the Vadakkamcore kingdom, which the king of Travancore, Marthanda Varma, annexed in 1750.

However, the modern history of Kumarakom begins with the arrival of English farmer Alfred George Baker in 1847. He reclaimed 500 acres of the Vembanad, and created the farmlands and paddy polders.

Baker, referred to as Kari Saipu in The God of Small Things — as locals called him — and later four generations resided in the Baker House, or the History House, “where dreams were re-dreamt”.

Also Read: Try these 4 short bike rides from Kochi that will mesmerise you

Laurels to Kumarakom

Kumarakom added yet another feather to its hat when it topped an all-India survey of revenue gained by hotels and resorts in popular leisure destinations.

Kumarakom. (Kerala Toursim)

Kumarakom. (Kerala Toursim)

The ranking also reflected the growing preference among tourists visiting Kerala.

Kumarakom posted the highest revenue per available room (RevPar) in the financial year 2022-23.

The survey, “Indian Hospitality Trends and Opportunities”, conducted by hospitality consulting firm Hotelivate, also revealed that the internationally celebrated beach destination Kovalam in Thiruvananthapuram has earned the third place in a list of top 15 destinations.

RevPar, an industry metric used by hotels to price their rooms, refers to revenue generated per available room whether occupied or not, an official statement said.

According to the 26th edition of the survey, properties in Kumarakom had a RevPar of ₹11,758 in FY 23 compared to Rishikesh in Uttarakhand (₹10,506) and Kovalam (₹9,087), which came in second and third positions.

Related: Why little-known Maravanthuruthu won big at London travel fair

Hotels in leisure destinations top charts

Metros such as Mumbai (₹7,226) and Delhi (₹6,016) stood sixth and 11th, respectively, in the survey.

“This is the second year in a row that hotels in leisure destinations posted the highest RevPar,” it said.

The report, which analysed the industry performance by star category, administrative zones and 20 major hotel markets, had a participation base of 1,540 hotels representing a total inventory of 1,65,172 rooms, Hotelivate said in a statement said.

“This survey clearly shows that tourism in Kerala has been on a steady surge, completely overcoming the downturn triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said state Tourism Minister PA Mohamed Riyas.

Set in the backdrop of Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom village is a popular tourist destination dotted with canals and backwaters. Its panoramic rural settings, heritage and lifestyle have set a standard for the Kerala model of globally acclaimed Responsible Tourism (RT).

Related: Kerala Tourism’s ‘Make up for lost time’ campaign wins award

Top 15

Earlier this year, Kumarakom successfully hosted a meeting of G20 Sherpas— after the state’s tourism activities went through a major downturn during the devastating floods in 2018 and Covid -19.

Apart from Kumarakom and Kovalam, the top 15 on the list include Srinagar (4th position), Udaipur (5), Goa (7), Mussoorie (8), Ranthambore (9), Mahabaleshwar (10), Shimla (12), Varanasi (13), Ooty (14), and Lonavala (15).

Hotels in metro cities have higher year-round occupancy compared to leisure destinations, the statement said, adding that they also have a large corporate customer base, which has contracted rates that pull down the RevPar compared to leisure destinations.

(With PTI inputs)