Vaikom: A mix of historical and contemporary settings

Vaikom: A mix of historical and contemporary settings
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Vaikom, cuddled lovingly by three districts, is an understated tourism destination where history, culture and natural beauty converge pleasingly to make the place feel both nostalgic and contemporary. Though a part of Kottayam district, Vaikom is not far from Ernakulam or Alappuzha.

The ways leading to Vaikom from Kottayam, Alappuzha and Ernakulam are as enchanting as the destination itself. Backwaters make a commanding presence over the routes from Alappuzha across Thanneermukkom and from Kottayam around Kumarakom.

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At the hub of Vaikom town is the Mahadeva temple. Apart from being shrine of all-Kerala significance, the Vaikom temple was also at the centre stage of history. First of the mass movements in Kerala to facilitate the entry of 'lower' caste people to the temple premises was staged here. The Indamthuruthil Mana, a Brahmin household which took a stance against these movements is currently serving as the office of the toddy-tappers union. Mahatma Gandhi visited Vaikom many times and gave directions to the struggle against caste discrimination and other social vices of that period.

Vaikom was among the first few urban centres in South India. The huge walls of the temple preside over the town. The directions to the ‘Vaikom Beach’ are prominently displayed. Vaikom has no seafront. The ‘beach’ here means the banks of the backwaters.

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The backwater views in and around Vaikom are just amazing. Towards sunset, there is a collage of colours in the sky and the serene backwaters reflect them. The wharves bustle with activity with boats ferrying passengers. KTDC has set up rooms overlooking the backwaters. There are other government guest houses too for stay. There are decent walkways and benches along the banks to bask in the sunset.

Vaikom Mahadeva temple is one of the 108 shrines devoted to Lord Shiva. The 12-day long ‘Ashtami’ festival starts in November-December. It is an ideal time to visit Vaikom since the cultural dimension of the place also will be showcased during the festival.

Right in the middle of the town, there is a well which is now a protected monument. Water was drawn from this well for the protestors during the Vaikom upheaval. Vaikom has many other stories and histories to narrate if you can lend the ear.

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The journey up and down could ideally be by waterways. It is a lot cheaper and the view around the backwaters is simply mind-blowing.

Vaikom is a mere 20km from Kumarakom. Both towns have a variety of accommodation facilities. Cherthala at 23km and Ernakulam at 35km too are at striking distance.

For the guest house facilities at Vaikom, contact: 9747683237

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