Alleppey

With the Arabian sea on the west and a vast network of lakes, lagoons and fresh water rivers crossing it, Alappuzha is a district of immense natural beauty. Referred to as “the Venice of the East” by travelers from across the world, this backwater country is also home to diverse animal and bird life. By virtue of its proximity to the sea, the town has always enjoyed a unique place in the maritime history of Kerala. Today, Alappauzha has grown in importance as a backwater tourist centre, attracting several thousands of foreign tourists each year. Alappuzha is also famous for its boat races, houseboat holidays, beaches, marine products and coir industry. A singular characteristic of this land is the region called Kuttanad.

Alleppey is an important tourist destination in India.The Backwaters of Alleppey are the most popular tourist attraction in Kerala. A houseboat cruise in these backwaters is a delightful experience.It connects Kumarakom and Cochin towards north and Quilon to the South. Alappuzha is also the access point for the annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race, held on the Punnamada Lake, near Alappuzha, held on the second Saturday of August every year, is the most competitive and popular of the boat races in India.The mullackal chirap is also one of the attractions of Allapuzha which is the festive season held ten colorful days every year in the month of December.

Referred to as the Venice of the East, Alappuzha has always enjoyed an important place in the maritime history of Kerala. Today, it is famous for its boat races, backwater holidays, beaches, marine products and coir industry. Alappuzha beach is a popular picnic spot. The pier, which extends into the sea here, is over 137 years old. Entertainment facilities at the Vijaya Beach Park add to the attraction of the beach. There is also an old lighthouse nearby which is greatly fascinating to visitors.

Other attractions in Alleppey are Alappuzha Beach, offering one of the most beautiful views of the Arabian Sea, Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple, Edathua Church, and Champakulam Valia Palli. Krishnapuram Palace also attracts many tourists. The tasty ambalappuzha payasam is a popular dessert.

General Information

Altitude                :  Sea level
Area                      :  1414.00 sq. Km
Temperature       :  (Mean Max, Mean Min) Summer 35 c Winter 32c ,20c
Rainfall                  :  Annual 299 cms
Best time to visit : August to March
Clothing                :  Tropical cottons
Languages           : Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi and English.
Boundaries          : Arabian sea on the West

Places to visit:

Krishnapuram Palace
The 18th century Krishnapuram Palace built during the reign of the Travancore monarch, Marthanda Varma, is a double storied structure which displays typical characteristics of Kerala architecture-gabled roofs, dormar windows, narrow corridors. It houses one of the largest mural paintings in Kerala called the Gajendra Moksham. It measures14 feet by 11 feet and is at the western end of the ground floor, a walking distance from the Palace Pool. Inside is also a museum of antique sculptures, paintings and bronzes. Situated 47 kms from Alappuzha on the way to Kollam, Krishnapuram is easily accessible by bus from either town.

Kuttanad
Kuttanad, is called the rice bowl of Kerala because of its wealth of paddy crops. It lies at the very heart of the backwaters. The scenic countryside of Kuttanad with its shimmering waterways also has a rich crop of banana, cassava and yam. This perhaps the only region in the worked where farming is done 1.5 to 2 ms. below sea level. Inland waterways which flow above land level are an amazing feature of this region.

Karumadi
Close to the Ambalappuzha. the village of Karumadi is famous for its Karumadi Kuttan, a black granite figure of Buddha said to belong to the 9th or 10th century

Punnapra
A short distance from Alappuzha is Punnapra, a village which has gone down in history as the scene of a bitter and heroic fighting between the communists and Travancore State Police in the Punnapra Vayalar Communist uprising of 1946.These are the memorial of the martyrs located in Alappuzha near Kalarcode.

Pathiramanal (An Island)
This is a small beautiful island in the Vembanad Lake and is accessible only by boat from Kumarakom and Muhamma.

Vijaya Beach Park
Picnic spot with children’s park & boating facilities (Open 15.00-20.00 hrs). Entrance fee Rs. 2 per person; Free entrance for children below 5 years. Boating charge: Rs.10 for 10 minutes. Other facilities for children: Toy train, bicycles. Video permit Rs. 25, Camera permit: Rs. 5 respectively

Sea View Park
The park offers boating facilities and a swimming pool. Boat rentals for 10 minutes: Round boat (4 seater): Rs. 10. Pedalboat (2 seater): Rs. 15. Pedalboat (4 seater): Rs. 25. Video permit Rs. 15, Camera permit Rs. 100 respectively.

Chavara Bhavan
Chavara Bhavan (6 kms. from Alappuzha, accessible only by boat) is the ancestral home of the blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara. It is now a holy shrine and spiritual resort where thousands of devotees gather for prayer, receive favours and feel amply gratified. Here, a 250 year old historically important beacon of light is preserved intact in its original and primitive form.

Alappuzha Beach
This is one of the most popular picnic spots in Alappuzha. The pier, which extends into the sea here, is over 137 years old. Entertainment facilities at the Vijaya beach park add to the attractions of the beach. There is also an old lighthouse which is greatly fascination to visitors.

Pilgrim Places:

Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Temple
15 kms. south of Alappuzha, built in the typical Kerala architectural style, this temple is famous all over India for the Palapayasam, the daily offering of deliciously sweet milk porridge. It is also in this temple that Palipana is performed by Velans (sorceres) once every twelve years. Paintings of the Dasavatharam (the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu) are on display on the inner walls of the Chuttambalam. Ottan thullal, a satiric art form originated by the poet Kunchan Nambiar, was first performed on the premises of this temple.

Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple
32 kms. south of Alappuzha situated near Harippad, this is a serpent shrine under the patronage of a ‘Brahman’ family, headed by a priestess. The ancient shrine is an internationally renowned pilgrim centre dedicated to the Serpent God Nagaraja. Sarpa Yakshi and Naga Yakshi are the beloved consorts of Nagaraja. It is believed that Nagaraja as the installed deity is endowed with the form of Hari (Lord Vishnu) and the spirit of Lord Shiva. Legend has it that the first priestess of Mannarasala gave birth to a five-headed snake, which is believed to reside in the ancestral house to safeguard the family. At Mannarasala barren women are believed to be blessed with children and a special turmeric paste available at the shrine is credited with powers to cure even leprosy.

Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple
The Kettukazhcha festival at this temple draws large crowds of devotees. Processions of all decorated structures on chariots, brightly decorated effigies of horses and bullocks and cultural performances make a spectacular pageant. (Festival – February / March).

Ambalappuzha
The Sri Krishna Temple at Ambalapuzha, 14 kms from Alleppey is among Kerala’s more famous ones boasting of the typical temple architectural style of the state. It is equally famed for its palpayasam – a sweet milk porridge offered to the diety. The temple’s main festival occurs in March/April. It was in this temple that the 16th century poet Kunjan Nambiar staged his first Ottan Thullal, a solo dance performance with high social content.

Arthunkal
22 kms. north of Alappuzha, the St. Sebastian’s Church is an important Christian pilgrim centre. Annual festival – Arthunkal Perunnal – the feast of the patron saint. (January).

Edathua Church
Situated 24 kms. away from Alappuzha, on the Alappuzha – Thiruvalla Road. Established in 1810, the church is dedicated to St. George. It is believed that prayers and offerings at this church help to heal all mental disorders and other ailments. During the annual feast (5th, 6th, 7th of May) pilgrims from all parts of South India, irrespective of caste and creed, visit the church and seek the blessings of the saint.

Local Festivals for Tourist quickview:

January
Adoor Gajamela Festival in Sree Parthasarathy Temple for 10 Days.

February
Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple Festival with the procession of horse and Chariot floats and the cultural performances.

Teyyam Festival with colourful ritual dance of Theyyam is one of Kerala’s most revered art forms.

March
Sree Krishnaswamy Temple Festival Lord Krisha is the centre of attention at this important 10-day festival where elephant processions, the traditional for or ambalapuzha vela, and other events occur at one of Kerala’s most spectacular temples.

April
St George’s Church Festival takes place in Edathua for 10 days.

Kadammanitta Devi Temple Festival which celebrates Kadammanitta Padayani festival every year with the traditional martial art dance of Padayani.

July
Champakulam Moolam Boat Race is the oldest and most popular of the snake boat races sees elaborate boats with up to 100 oarsmen racing against each other along Aleppey’s waterways.

August
Nehru Trophy Boat Race is the most famous water battle in Kerala is held each year on the Punnamada backwaters around Alleppey to coincide with Kerala important harvest festival of Onam.

Onam Festival - Kerala’s biggest event is its harvest festival, with big processions and performances held in all the towns int he region honouring the birthday of Sage Vamana. Mohiniattam, Krishnanaattam and flower rangolies are making the festivals most attractive for local people as well as for tourist from outside Kerala.

September
Neelamperoor Padayani: the ancient ritual dance of padayami is backed by Chenda drums, cymbals and passionate singing in this timeless art form.

October
Champakulam Church Festival: This feast showcases Christianity in the Kerala Region. People could get to know local Christian traditions.

December
Christmas: Celebrated in all the churches with plenty of solemn processions and special events.

How to Reach Alappuzha:

By Air
Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport. Cochin airport to Cochin, then Bus or train to Alleppey. Alternatively come to airport at Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Kozhikode (Calicut), Chennai, Bangalore and catch a train to Alappuzha.

By Rail
Also could reach Alappuzha from other cities like Kochi (Cochin), Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Chennai, Bengalooru (Bangalore), Coimbatore, Mumbai(Bombay), New Delhi, Mangalore, and Kolkata by train.

By Road
Alappuzha district is well-connected by NH 47, which is part of the North-South East-West corridor. It goes via the Alappuzha, Ambalapuzha and Cherthala cities. Alappuzha is well connected to other cities Kochi, Kottayam, Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram Kozhikode, Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore by road.