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Vembanad Lake, Kerala

Vembanad Lake

Vembanad Lake is ideal for a sunset cruise and bird watching.

Home to the extremely popular Nehru Trophy Boat Race, the Vembanad Lake, the largest lake in Kerala, stretches as far as the eye can see. Straddling four districts, this lake is ideal for a sunset cruise, where as the houseboat glides along sun-kissed golden waters, flocks of homeward bound chittering birds fill the blue-gray sky. At any time of the day, a number of colorful houseboats, some ostentatiously decorated and a few plain ones, spot the waterscape. The lull of the drifting boat, the cool blowing wind, and the views of the coastal life at a distance, all of this come together to give the feeling that here, in the magnificent stretch of Vembanad, time has stopped.

Attractions and Activities

Kumarokam Tourist Village: On the banks of the lake, the village consists several small islands. Travelers are taken on women-operated small country boats through the water canals. Village life-men working in the paddy fields and fishing, children frolicking in the cool lake waters, and women weaving coconut palm fronds- all of this and much more can be viewed from the boat. Visitors are also taught to fish from the boat in the style of the native tribes with a bow and arrow. Quite an experience it is- to aim an arrow from a moving boat at a quivering fish. The boat is finally moored at one of the islands where guests can actually walk along the village and experience rural life in Kerala, first hand. Finally, guests visit the plantation where banana and coconut, fruits from the plantation are served as welcome refreshment. After the plantation tour, visitors ride a boat to handicraft unit where they can see snake-boats being constructed.

Kumarokam Bird Sanctuary: The birds of the sanctuary are best viewed on a bird-watching lake cruise on the Lake Vembanad. Migratory birds seen here include the Siberian stork, heron, egret, darter and teal. Local birds like waterfowl, cuckoo, owl, water duck. Parrots, teal, larks, flycatchers, wood beetle, have also been sighted here from time to time.


Several stay-options dot the shores of the Vembanad Lake. A few of them are Whispering Palms, Saro Lake County, Backwater Ripples, Lakesong Resort, Goldfield Lake Resort, the Zuri, Lemon Tree, Raheem Residency, Johnson’s, Ramada and several more. Suffice to say that on a visit to this region of Kerala, the visitor will not fall short of stay options. Houseboats also provide novel accommodation, albeit a little expensive.

Vembanad Lake Map

Facts about Vembanad Lake

  • The Vembanad lake is the longest lake in India.
  • Locals call it Vembanad Kayal or Vembanad Kol.
  • The lake is called Punnamada Lake in Kuttanad, and Kochi Lake in Kochi.
  • The Vempanad bridge connects the International Container Transshipment Terminal on Vallarpadam Island to Edappally. It is the longest railway bridge in India. The bridge spans across scenic Kerala backwaters and some pretty coastal towns.
  • The Vembanad Wetlands, with an area of 785 square miles, is India’s largest wetland system.

Where is Vembanad Lake?

Vembanad Lake is located in Kumarakom North, Kottayam. The nearest train station is Kottayam, which is located about 13 km from the lake and the nearest airport is the Cochin International Airport, located about 63 km from the lake. You can reach the lake by boarding private or state transport buses. Private Taxi / Cab service is also available. 

Best time to visit Vembanad Lake

The best time to bird watch is between June and August. To watch Migratory birds, November to February is the best time. November to February is also the best time for a other activities on the lake. If traveling by a boat, visiting during sunset hours is highly recommended.

Vembanad Lake Hours

One may visit the Vembanad Lake between 06:00 hrs and 18:00 hrs on any day of the week.

Vembanad Lake Tickets

There is no entry ticket to visit the Vembanad Lake.

More on Vembanad Lake

Here are some useful tips for those planning to visit the Vembanad lake :

  • It is advisable to board the houseboat from Kumarokom (and not Alleppey) as the trip from Kumarokam is more scenic.
  • To spot birds in the bird sanctuary, reach the sanctuary early in the morning. Also, walking through the sanctuary after the sun rises in the sky is not advisable, since it can get really hot.
  • Staying overnight in a houseboat on the lake is costly, and not as exciting. So, renting a houseboat for the night is not advised.

Image credits : Shabbir Siraj

Published On: Tuesday, February 24th, 2015