At Niraamaya Retreats, our attempt is to connect with the local community, to draw from native culture, culinary heritage and nature’s bounty, in a bid to offer interesting guest experiences even as we engage and sustain it.
At Niraamaya Retreats, our guest experiences include exploring the life of the community inhabiting in the destination they are located within and explore local culture. Call us the consummate curators of interesting community experiences.
Experientials at Niraamaya Retreats Backwaters & Beyond, Kumarakom
Like most of our other retreats, Niraamaya Retreats Backwaters & Beyond, Kumarakom offers experientials that are authentic and native to the region, with conscientious use of resources. Guests can stimulate their senses and indulge in artisanal experiences at the new retreat. At Backwaters & Beyond, Niraamaya makes every attempt to engage the community in several ways.
Cruising on the Kettuvalams
Niraamaya Retreats Backwaters and Beyond, Kumarakom is an ode to classical Kerala architecture and frames the best views of the famed backwaters. The property is endowed with a slice of paradise. Actually, eight acres of undiluted views of sun-kissed languid waters, verdant foliage and gentle touches of pristine nature nestling the tiny islands across Vembanad Lake, the longest lake in India.
The unique mode of transportation across the lake are the traditional boats or kettuvallam. On a cruise in these kettuvallams, once used to transport rice and vegetables, the boat driver and the guide explain the ancient techniques of boat building using jackfruit wood and coir and regale guests with stories about how these boats played such a vital role in trade across the region. The Kettuvalam cruise lets guests explore the picturesque lake surroundings and watch life as it unfolds on its banks.
Sustaining the community
The Village Life experience introduces guests to the art of screw-pine mat and roof weaving, both ancient crafts that locals still practice. The coconut coir or cane weavers are an ingenious bunch who have kept the weaving art alive. While guests witness the process, they are also invited to try their hand at making ropes or mats of coconut coir. Or, guests can meet up a toddy tapper to watch the ancient practice of tapping coconut trees early in the morning for unfermented, fresh toddy, before the sun rises, which is collected in earthen pots hung on the tree.
Each of the myriad adventures curated by Niraamaya Retreats at Kumarakom offer a taste of Kumarakom and is mindfully inclusive of the community—from the locals who are hired as staff to the artisans who demonstrate their traditional crafts and the Mohinattam dancers who come from the local community.
The villages around are home to the spectacular dance theatre, Kathakali and Mohiniattam, classical theatre and dance forms of Kerala. In the evenings, Niraamaya’s curators of interesting local experiences invite the artists to perform for guests and interact with them.
Catching your own food
The lake is a pescatarian’s paradise. Guests are invited to accompany the chef at 7am, when the boats (vallams) bring in the absolutely fresh catch. They are offered an insider’s view into the ancient auction process by which the fish is sold to the highest bidders. Now that the hard work is done, guests can head back to soak in the beauty of the retreat while a culinary aromatic transformation of the fish, prawns or black clam is conjured up to their taste. The coconut-based dishes drawn from the local culinary traditions are a sublime Meen (fish) experience. The retreat not just supports the fishing community by sustaining their livelihoods, but also provides a host of interlinked employment for the villagers.
At Kumarakom, besides working with the local artisans, craftsmen, toddy tappers and boatmen, Niraamaya Retreats also curates a host of experiences that involve heritage and nature. Guests can explore the Bay Island Drift Museum, a cylinder-shaped museum, where you can see a winsome collection of driftwood sculptures often of birds and animals rendered by local artists. The retreat also offers experientials to the surrounding rubber plantations as well as the famous Snake Boat Race during Onam.
The intent is to nurture and support the social fabric while offering guests a memorable stay. The feel-good factor is derived from the knowledge that Niraamaya Retreats has embraced the biosphere, the environment and the community within the ambit of its luxurious experiences.