Kumarakom is a well known tourist destination, located nearly 16 km from Kottayam. Situated near Vemband Lake, the biggest freshwater body in the state, it is famous for its backwaters. The tourists can enjoy boating, yachting and fishing on the lake, or visit the nearby bird sanctuary, which is reached through boats. It is best to visit the bird sanctuary in the morning or evening, as the boat trip takes nearly two hours and it is advisable to avoid the hot sun. The sanctuary is open from 6 am to 6 pm. You can also visit Taj Garden Retreat, a historical building, built by George Baker in 1881. The house was restored by the Taj Group of Hotels. Kumarakom is a peninsula situated near the lake, the water of the lake forms many canals and lagoons, and one can enjoy watching fauna and flora special to this area for hours at end.