Our stay in Kumarakom was extremely pleasant, all thanks to the gracious hospitality and superb services provided by Mr. Salim Das and his professional staff of Illikkalam Lake Resort.
Kumarakom is one of those places on earth where you go to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Get away from cars, traffic, pollution, city congestion, and leave your worries behind, and feast your eyes on the ever-green trees and the vastness of this exotic lake resort. Just gazing at the blue lake while lying on a hammock and soaking up the sun, is therapeutic enough. It's no wonder that celebrities like Britney Spears will be spending New Years Eve in Kumarakom this year.
To experience Kumarakom's natural beauty, you could either book a pricey 5 star luxury room at one of the deluxe resorts (and pay a hefty sum) or you could go easy on your wallet, and book a cottage at the Illikkalam Lake Resort. People come to Illikkalam Lake Resort, not for the luxury or the entourage, but to be one with nature. They come here to find peace and quiet.
In the morning, they offer YOGA CLASSES, where by a certified yogi comes at 7am and offers Beginners and Advanced classes. This traditional meditative practice is something that has beenpassed down since the Indus Valley Civilization (3000 BC). I've never done yoga before, so our Yogi (our Guru) explained the origins of yoga, and how it helps the human body stay fit (both physically and mentally) and protect itself from unwanted deceases. The session lasted for 2 hours, and composed of a variety of stretches, positions, and breathing exercises, after which we felt rejuvenated and ready to tackle the day.
Morning breakfast can be chosen from a wide variety of menu items (all traditional Kerala home-cooked food) .. I recommend the "appam and erichi (chicken) curry". Appam is a fermented flat bread made out of Rice and Coconut - dip that in the chicken curry, and you have a meal that tastes AMAZING! All your senses get heightened, and you'll get to experience one of the true tastes of Kerala.
During the day, you could explore their organic garden, as well as their wild duck and rabbit farm. They have baby rabbits which you could pet. You can ask a hammock to be tied in front of your cottage between two trees. There you can lie and enjoy the calm breeze, and the therapeutic view of the vast lake. You can also ask one of the staff members to bring you some tender coconut water (which you could sip through a straw from the coconut itself). Or if you're feeling a little more adventurous, ask for some "toddy" (fresh and sweet alcoholic beverage taken straight from the coconut).
In the afternoon, Illikkalam Lake Resort can arrange for a tour on the lake on a house-boat. This is something that can't be described in words, and must be experienced first hand. The Kerala House-boats are huge, slow-moving, exotic barges used for leisure trips. In earlier times, these were used to carry rice and spices from Kuttanad to the Kochi port. These houseboats are about 60 to 70 feet (about 18 to 21 meters) long and about 15 feet (about 5 m) wide at the middle. The hull is made of wooden planks that are held together by ropes of coconut fiber. The roof is made of bamboo poles and palm leaves. In the houseboat they we went, they had fully-fitted bedrooms, with a dining room, as well as a kitchen with our own personal chef, who would cook us fresh fried lobsters, shrimps, as well as "karimeen pollichathu" (this is another delicacy that you must try - it's a A fish, which is available in the back waters of Kerala, and is baked in a very traditional Kerala way with traditional exotic Kerala spices).
In the evening time, the resort can arrange an Ayurvedic massage which is a deeply penetrating, full-body oil massage for those who have tense muscle aches. One session of this, and you'll feel completely rejuvenated.
Our 5 day stay at Illikkalam Lake Resort was one of the best and most relaxing of all leisure destinations I've ever been to (beats Cancun, Hawaii, Maldives, Phuket any day). It was also easy on the wallet - as I felt that I didn't have to spend that much to get some peace and quiet, while being surrounded by the beauty of nature. I recommend Illikkalam Lake Resort without hesitation!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.