People And Culture Of Kumarakom
The civilians of Kumarakom are close to nature and prefer simple, healthy and peaceful lifestyle. Their traditional clothing is white Mundu; a plain white dhoti embroidered with golden silk lining. Kumarakom cuisine mainly consists of rice and fish. You will find typical Kerala food such as Rice, Fish, Idli, Dosa, Vada, Sambhar, Uthapam, Appam, Kappa, Karimeen Pollichathu, and other Sea Food such as Prawn, Shrimp, Crab and Squid, Pickles, Coconut Water, Kallu etc in the menu of Kumarakom people. The economy of this region is based on back water fishing, shell collection, agriculture and tourism. Major share of the livelihood of Kumarakom people is earned by fishing and even women actively participate in this occupation. Women get into the neck deep water carrying terracotta pots along. They feel the fish with their toes, grab them with hands and put them in their pots. ‘Karimeen’ a spotted fish is a special gift of the Kumarakom backwaters. Men use the traditional fishing nets to catch the fish.
The shells usually found in sea water are discovered in abundance in the lakes of Kumarakom. The locals collect baskets and baskets full of these shells that are burnt in kilns which make a super quality building lime. Shell collection contributes a lot to the income of the people here. Agriculture is another unforgettable aspect of economy here. The extremely fertile land of Kumarakom produces plentiful paddy crop. Other crops reaped in Kumarakom include coconut, banana, jackfruit, tapioca, mango, pineapple, ambazhanga, chaambenga, puli, peraycka, aathaycka, cocoa, coffee, yam and colocasia. Tourism is the most noteworthy facet of Kumarakom economy. Tourists throng the Kumarakom backwaters almost all round the year and the houseboats that cruise in the backwaters earn the boatmen considerable revenue.
Apart form the common Indian festivals Kumarakom celebrates the traditional Kerala festivals, Ugadi and Onam being at the top of it. Onam is Kerala’s biggest festival that falls in the month of Chingam according to Malayali Calendar and in the month of August or September according to English Calendar. Onam commemorates the home coming of the legendary King Mahabali when along with the rest of the Kerala Kumarakom hosts snake boat races which are passionately attended by a large number of inhabitants as well as tourists.
Kumarakom in Modern Culture The 20th century bestseller ‘The God of Small Things’ by Arundhati Roy is based in Kumarakom and the Ayemenem House where Arundhati Roy spent her early childhood has now turned into a popular tourist attraction.