ASHTAMI AT VAIKOM MAHADEVA TEMPLE, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is located on the east coast of the Vembanad lake, Vembanad Lake is at the heart of Kerala Backwaters, Beautiful Coastal Kerala, Backwaters and My Home Town, About N G Nair from thottakom Vaikom Kottayam.
Kumarakom is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a noted bird sanctuary where many species of migratory birds visit. The Vembanad Lake, the largest backwater in Kerala, is habitat for many marine and freshwater fish species and it teems with Karimeen (Pearl spot), shrimp (chemmeen in the local language) and prawns. The bird sanctuary extends over 14 acres (57,000 m²), and came into existence following preservation efforts from the government. It is a major tourist attraction. Agriculture, fishing and tourism are the major economic activities. Kumarakom's perfectly balanced tropical climate is very conductive to cultivation. The place has expanses of mangrove forests, paddy fields and coconut groves. Fruits like Banana, Mango, Jackfruit, Ambazhanga, Puli, Chaambenga, Peraycka, Aathaycka and Pineapple grow here. Also, cocoa and coffee, chena(yam) and chembu(colocasia, grow well and were cultivated under the coconut trees. This rich agricultural environment is mainly irrigated using interspersed waterways and canals of the Meenachil river. The smaller canals are often lined by hibiscus plants which lean partly over the canals to form a green canopy, from which hang the lovely hibiscus flowers.
In the olden days, when the bund separating the backwaters from the sea was not yet built, the water in the canals moved in and out with the sea tide and it was salty. After the Thanneermukkam bund was constructed, the connection to the open sea was not free anymore, and so the tidal movement of the water in the canals stopped. It stagnated and then plenty of water hyacinths started growing densely in the canals,forming lovely green carpets with pale lilac flowers carpets.
Since parts of Kumarakom lie at or even below sea level, these parts, as well as the road connecting the place it to Kottayam, used to get flooded with the water from the monsoon rains, which was brought to Kumarakom by rivers arising from the western ghats. Sometimes the floods used to happen suddenly overnight, and then the boats where the only way to commute. Nowadays the roads are much better.
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