Kumbalangi, a serene village with a population of just 35,000 people is undoubtedly the ideal place to experience village life in Kerala. Life reaches a peaceful and soothing pace here. Egrets and Kingfishers meditating on the poles of the sunset golden Chinese fishing nets cast a calm spell on warm sunny day. While you are here, make the best of your time by engaging in indigenous fishing, cruising the back waters in rice boats and soaking in the tropical golden sunshine.
Trained guides available on request can take you for countryside cycling, watching the toddy tappers at work, or for visiting the local temples, churches and heritage spots round the little island of Kumbalangi.
Live the village life
When in Kumbalangi, the most exciting thing to do is to just watch the nature and do absolutely nothing. But, equally exciting is to go around and experience the simple village folk. Here are some must do things to experience that life.
Watch them make the golden fibre – coir.
The word coir comes from the Malayalam word kayar. Coir is a 100% natural fibre made from coconut fibre found between the hard inner shell and the smooth outer surface of the coconut. This fibrous husk is beaten to separate long fibre. This fibre is spun to fine yarn , the yarn is further twisted to strong coir strings. The whole process is done in phases by the women folk of the villages.
Extracting coconut oil from copra is probably the oldest industrial activity in Kerala. Ancient Tamil texts from 1st century AD has references to copra processing. The sundried Kernel of coconut that is skilfully separated from the thick shell, is copra. Coconut oil is extracted from this. This also yeilds coconut cake which is usually fed to cattle. On a warm sunny day one could find carpets of copra being dried around the small village houses in Kumbalangi.
Crab Farming to catch a crab!
The roads that lead to Kumbalangi are lined with farms and mangroves that is rich with crabs .These are natural feeding grounds for Mud crabs and red crabs. The fishermen engage in various methods of catching these. The fishermen around are only delighted to meet visitors who would want to learn a fishing trick.
Clam processing is not just livelihood for many villagers here, it is almost a lifestyle. The men in the house go clam collecting during early mornings, the women steam them, processing is a collective activity. The extracted clams are then sold in the market on the same day. The brackish waters of Kumbalangi have thriving clam life.
Chinese fishing nets – catch a fish in the ancient
Like a memento from the time gone by, Chinese fishing nets dot the coasts of Kumbalangi. There are no clear records of when this mode of fishing became popular in Kerala. But these giant hammock shaped mechanically operated fishing net is probably one of the most interesting and unique contraptions used for fishing.
Weaving coconut leaves - Come, give a try and learn the craft
Another pass-time craft of the village women folk.Soaked coconut palm leaves are weaved to a set pattern to form eco friendly panels.These panels are used for thatching roofs, fencing etc.
Handpicked fish live!
Extremely skilful mode of fishing. The fishes are caught with bare hands. Fisher folk wade through the shallow backwaters in a line and with a swift movement pick the fish that sinks its head in the mud, in a futile attempt to hide itself from the predators.