Splash about in the aquatic experiences of Alappuzha. No traveller is a fish out of water at Alappuzha as almost everyone has a physical and psychological fascination with water. No wonder Alappuzha, or Alleppey, is one of Kerala's most wanted names on a tourist diary.
Popular as the 'Venice of the East,' Alappuzha district is famous for its long coastal stretch and an intricate network of canals and breathtaking backwaters. Situated at the southwestern tip of the Vembanad lake, Alappuzha is a small strip of land sandwiched between the Vembanad lake and the Arabian Sea. Alappuzha has always enjoyed a prominent place in the maritime history of Kerala.
The land of backwaters is famous for its boat races, especially the colourful snakeboat races. The Nehru Trophy Snakeboat Race, organised on the second Saturday of August every year, is world-famous. There is high excitement in the air as the 130-feet-long snakeboats, with over 100 rowers in each, thunder through the waters at great speed, cheered by the spectators with the traditional boat song 'Kuttanadan punchayile, Kochu penne kuyilale...oh...thithithra thithithey.' You will never see such a spectacle in your life anywhere in the world other than in Kerala and in Alappuzha. It is Kerala's pride. Boat races are held during other festive occasions also such as Onam.
Kuttanad,(famed as the rice-bowl of Kerala), the backwaters, the houseboats, the fish, toddy and seafood and the scenic beauty make a trip along Alappuzha a very delightful experience. The place is a must-visit destination during the monsoon (June - September).
When you drive into the picturesque Alappuzha's long coastal stretch complete with canals, backwaters, beaches and lagoons you will feel enormous energy and like being one with nature.
The backwaters of Alappuzha connect Kumarakom and Kochi, situated 62 kilometres away. One of the features of the backwaters here is the serene, calm environment, with the monsoon water slowly coming down the lake. There are many resorts along the backwaters here, just a few steps away from the lake, rivers and canals. You can see boats with fishermen dressed in umbrella caps spreading their nets.
A ride into the interiors of Alappuzha in the shikkaras is something you should not miss. The shikkara takes you through the narrow canals where you find small villages situated on the banks of the lake. You find the villagers washing clothes, some fishing, some others bathing or living peacefully in their small houses. It is a beautiful experience for the tourists.
The big, luxurious houseboats cannot go through the narrow canals.
The vast paddy fields make a green cover besides the lake and canals. The green paddy fields and the coconut trees on either side make the water also look green! As you make your journey slowly, it is a sight to watch so many houseboats cruising through people happily enjoying a dish of dosas, vadas, coffee, tea and a variety of birds enjoying their flight over the sea.
Even a mere short journey along the Alappuzha-Changanassery road (AC Road), stretching not more than 20 kilometres, itself is a pleasurable one. On one side is the canal with bunches of ducks quacking, and on the other side is the green paddy fields having a variety of birds from storks to parrots. You can take a taxi or a line bus or even autorickshaw for the journey. You can buy fresh river fish (puzhameen) and duck or have fresh toddy and local fish and meat curry from the toddy shops. Nowhere in the world will you experience such a greenish travel so cheaply for less than Rs 50 by bus!
Another important sight and hobby here is fishing. People can be seen on the banks of the lake and canals eagerly and patiently waiting for the fish to bite the bait. Catching fish is an all-time favourite hobby here, and don't miss kappa (tapioca) and karimeen curry. Both are made tasty and spicy in Kerala style. Other delicacies are puttu with fish curry, kadala, beef, ela ada, and a variety of fish dishes, including the delicious prawns and konchu.
Alappuzha is the land of backwaters. The lake water is actually the fresh river water that comes down from the river and then used in the paddy fields. Then the lake water flows ahead merges with the Arabian Sea in Kochi.
If you really like chasing the monsoon, then the backwaters in Alappuzha and surrounding areas is the place to be. The 'date' with monsoon season is at its best when you see water, clouds, fog, birds and the lake merge and there is plenty to eat and drink. The people are polite and helpful.
Alappuzha is the centre of Kerala's world-famous coir industry. In fact, the town was built as a trading centre in 1762 by Raja Kesvadasa, the Diwan of Travancore. The many canals crisscrossing the town was built to facilitate the transport of goods, which prompted Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, to dub Alappuzha as 'The Venice of the East.' Here, coconut husk is being beaten into fibre to make beautiful mats and other coir products that are eco-friendly.
The neat and clean Alappuzha beach is one of the most popular tourist spots in Kerala to picnic with family.
A tourist visiting Alappuzha instantly falls in love with the Kuttanad backwaters, famous for its kettuvallom (houseboats), paddy fields, toddy and fish.
A private farm, spread over 850 acres, R. block is one of the best-managed farms in the Kuttanad region. R. block is one of the wonders of indigenous agricultural engineering knowhow of Kerala and may remind the tourist of the famous dikes of the Netherlands.
The Navaraathri festival and Thaippooyakkaavadi in this temple are very famous. The temple is located in the heart of Alappuzha town.
Chavara Bhavanam is the ancestral home of Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara. It is now a shrine and spiritual resort, where thousands of devotees, travellers and tourists gather to pray and seek favourss.
Alappuzha is the centre of Kerala's world-famous coir industry. In fact, the town was built as a trading centre in 1762 by Raja Kesvadasa, the Diwan of Travancore. The many canals crisscrossing the town was built to facilitate the transport of goods, which prompted Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, to… read more
When you drive along Alappuzha - Kollam highway via Ambalappuzha for about half an hour, you will reach a small village named Karumady. This small village has found a place among the top historical places in Kerala. Interestingly, what makes this small village historically important is a huge statue of… read more
Among the top backwater destinations in Kerala, Kuttanad holds a matchless position. Tourists who land in from far and near hail it as one of the top backwater destinations. No sooner than the first moment the tourist sees the site, he or she falls in love with charming 'Kuttanadan punchapaadams'… read more
Travelling around an hour on boat from Alappuzha will take you to a small island named Pathiramanal, a home to a large variety of rare migratory birds. The term Pathiramanal literally means 'sands of midnight'. The name is given to the island in relation to a mythological story which says… read more
The Sree Krishna temple here is one of the most important temples of Kerala, with architectural features conforming to the typical Kerala style. The temple is also famous for its mouth-watering paalppaayasam (milk porridge of exceptional sweetness). The temple's main festival, which attracts thousands of devotees, is held during March-April.… read more
India, the land of Puranas and Vedas, has a prolonged history of forms of worship and rituals. From time immemorial, many deities including natural powers and animals, were worshipped in India. Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple, located at Haripad in Alappuzha, is one of the most prominent temples in the world… read more
Chettikulangara Devi Temple is one among the most renowned Devi temples in Kerala. The temple is located at Kayamkulam in Alappuzha (Alleppey) district. The famous festival called Bharani Festival, conducted in February-March, is one of the major festivals at Chettikulangara Devi Temple. Kuthiyottam and Kettukazhcha are two major highlights of… read more
This palace at Kayamkulam was built in the 18th century during the reign of Maharaja Marthanda Varma. This palace is somewhat similar to the Padmanabhapuram Palace in Thiruvananthapuram, though Krishnapuram Palace is smaller in size. The 16-block building is spread over an area of over 1.87 acres. It is now… read more
The Saint of Arthunkal (Arthunkal Punyavaalan) draws thousands of devotees from various religions. St Sebastian's church here is an important Christian pilgrim centre. Arthunkal Perunnal, the annual feast of the patron saint St Sebastian, is celebrated in mid-January. Situated on the seashore, this is a family picnic centre, too. Fishermen… read more
Chavara Bhavanam is the ancestral home of Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara (Chavara Achan). It is now a shrine and spiritual resort, where thousands of devotees, travellers and tourists gather to pray and seek favors. At Chavara Bhavanam, a 250-year-old, historically important beacon of light is preserved intact in its original… read more
St. George, a saint known for his bravery, is probably the most adorned patron saint in Kerala. Many churches in Kerala are named after St. George and Edathua St. George Forane Church is one among the most renowned churches. Edathua St. George Forane Church, established on 29th Sep, 1810, is… read more
The temple that stands between the Pamba river and the Manimala river is open to people of all religions. This shrine is particularly popular among women devotees. The Naree (women) Pooja conducted here is famous. Selected women of all classes are honoured by cleaning their feet and pooja. The Ponkaala… read more
Champakkulam St Mary's Church is one of the oldest churches in Kerala. The church is believed to be one of the seven churches which were established by St Thomas, the Apostle of Christ who lighted the candle of Christian faith in Kerala. The church draws thousands of devotees during the annual feast held… read more
A private farm, spread over 850 acres, R. block is one of the best-managed farms in the Kuttanad region. R. block is one of the wonders of indigenous agricultural engineering knowhow of Kerala and may remind the tourist of the famous dikes of the Netherlands. Extensive areas of land has… read more
The Navaraathri festival and Thaippooyakkaavadi in this temple are very famous. The temple is located in the heart of Alappuzha town. The presiding deity is goddess Rajarajeswari. Here, two festivals are celebrated every year. The nine-day Navaraathri festival is very popular. The last two days of the festival are considered… read more
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