Kumbalam, located in the city’s suburbs, is on the way to become a backwater-tourism paradise.
A slew of backwater-based projects proposed here are awaiting the State government’s administrative sanction. They include a sustainable, agri-village tourism initiative and backwater-based recreation projects. Also on the anvil is a venture aimed at promoting home stays in 40 coastal villages along the Kumarakom-Kodungalloor stretch.
“We will make a detailed presentation before Minister for Tourism A. P. Anilkumar and Minister for Excise K. Babu. A project report was submitted to the government a month ago,” said Muraleedhara Menon, former member of the State Committee on Responsible Tourism, former Director of Hydrel Tourism and currently tourism consultant for rural tourism projects.
He is spearheading the initiative to trigger activities-based tourism in the coastal village. The agri-tourism venture is aimed at promoting responsible and sustainable tourism in Kumbalam and the nearby Chellanam and Kumbalanghi villages. .
Marina for house boats
The recreation-based backwater tourism project has got four parts, the first being the construction of a yachting complex at Panangad with the help of sailing association. A mini marina has been envisaged nearby for berthing Kerala’s traditional houseboats, for which floating boat jetties have been planned.
“House boats don’t come to Kochi mainly because of inadequate berthing space,” Mr Menon said. “A plan is also afoot to make Kumbalam a boating hub, from where water taxis with a capacity of five to 20 passengers can operate. Roughly 100 such taxis can easily ply from here to tourist locales like Kumarakom, Alappuzha, Vaikom etc., reducing the travel time. This will bring about a revolutionary change in the tourism sector.”
Another initiative planned here is a romantic pathway with a celestial viewpoint. “For this, there will be a 1.25-km-long backwater walkway having a width of 2.5 metres. There will also be intermittent ramps having garden benches, from where guests can have a sound view of the Kaithapuzha Kaayal in Vembanad Lake,” Mr Menon said.
Coastal home stays
As an ancillary to the initiatives, plans are afoot to set up and promote 1,500 home stays in 40 coastal villages with the help of Kerala Homestay and Tourism Society (Kerala HATS).