One of Kerala’s most alluring backwaters is Kumarakom, a hub of biodiversity where mangrove forests are mixed in with rice paddies, coconut palms and bursts of white lilies. This vivid subtropical peninsula juts into Vembanad Lake and is a popular place to study yoga, meditation and Ayurvedic massage, and from which to take bird-watching, boating and fishing trips. Nearby attractions include the Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls, just two kilometres from Kumarakoram, which cascade down the mountain slopes from roughly 30 metres above, and Pathiramanal (meaning ‘sands of midnight’) a beguiling island and bird sanctuary in the middle of the lake.

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