Spice Coast Cruises - Visit the Kumarakom bird sanctuary
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Intimate canal cruises

The Vembanad lake (kayal) on which this cruise happens is at the heart of the famed backwaters of Kerala. It is home to nearly 2 million people who are closely dependent on the lake for their livelihoods. The vast lake branches off into numerous little canals that form a network of waterways connecting the interior regions with the rest of the lake and the mainland. The ubiquity of these canals have spawned a lifestyle that is unique to this region with its own distinct face and character. You will get rich glimpses of it as you cruise close to homesteads and activities that form the everyday buzz and pulse of the people who live upon the shores of these canals. Our tailored stops at certain points along the cruise will give you a unique chance to meet and mingle with these lake residents.

Celebrate biodiversity

The Vembanad lake is a living symbol of biodiversity and is home to a distinctive variety of flora and fauna. The lake is a haven for hundreds of birds, a lot which can be seen at the Kumarakom bird sanctuary located on its eastern shore. More than 20,000 waterfowls, the third largest population in India, live on its banks along with many other species both native and migrant. The Vembanad is also the habitat for distinct types of marine life, particularly shrimps and mollusks. The lake has a unique ecosystem with many niche actors that include a great variety of birds, insects, rodents and ungulates, all of which make the Vembanad the unique water body it is.

Meet the people of the lake

The Vembanad is home to a great number of people who have congregated here over time and many generations, giving birth to a unique culture and set of traditions that is distinct to these parts. Many of these derive their sustenance from the lake through a variety of activities that include fishing, agriculture, boat building, coir rope production, handicrafts and tourism. The cruise will let you meet and interact closely with local people. You can see fishermen and shell harvesters at work, paddy being sowed or harvested and exchange words with native toddy tappers as they clamber up and down coconut trees as they have been doing for centuries. On a lucky day you could be invited to sample a few glasses of freshly tapped toddy - quite something to look forward to!

Enriching village visits

The villages upon the lake vary in their density and styles. But they are all united by one common element - charm! They are a reflection of the mores, occupations and social standing of various groups who have chosen to make their homes in and around this vast and wondrous lake. It can be a revealing experience to spend some time on your holiday exploring these villages and the ways of life they represent. You can choose to walk, cycle or cruise to any of these villages. We have a visit itinerary that is immersive and inspiring.