Alleppey or Alappuzha was christened “The Venice of the East” in the first decade of the 20th century, by the then viceroy of the Indian Empire, Lord Curzon who was mesmerized by the profuse greenery, the scenic beauty, and the intricate network of waterways used to carry out trade in the region. He was also known to have quoted “Here nature has spent up on the land her richest bounties”.
In today’s world,the Alleppey town is known to have the oldest planned town in this region with a lighthouse built on the coast of the town being the first of its kind along the Laccadive Sea coast
Alappuzha, whose name in itself signifies the strategic location of a land nestled between the sea and a network of rivers, flowing into it, is flanked by Ernakulam district to the north, Kottayam in the east, Kollam in the south and the Laccadive Sea in the West.
Alleppey has gained significance as one of the most important and popular tourist destinations in India over the years. The backwaters of Alappuzha hold great fascination with the tourists all over the world. A houseboat cruise in these backwaters is a delightful experience that no one can forego. The pomp and color during the festivities and famous boat races render it even more beautiful and exquisite.
A houseboat cruise in these backwaters is a delightful experience that no one can forego.
The following are some of the popular places worth visiting on a trip down to this land of myriad legends, cultures and scenic beauty.
Alappuzha town has always enjoyed a unique place in the maritime history of Kerala, by virtue of its proximity to the sea.
Raja Kesava dasan, a dewan (council member) during the reign of Dharma Raja Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma was instrumental in founding a port with a unique vision far ahead of his time. He realized Alappuzha to be an ideal location for a port due to its suitable geographical and oceanic position.
The Alappuzha beach still contains remnants of a pier extending into the sea, which is well over 137 years old. Another part of this great heritage is a light house; located 4km from the Alappuzha town which was completed on March 28 in the year 1862, under the supervision of a European engineer Captain Hugh Crawfords. The view from atop the lighthouse is magnificent and worth paying a visit. The lighthouse is open to the public from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on all days.
An embodiment of one of the finest and rarest examples of a typical Keralite style of architecture complete with gabled roofs, narrow corridors and dormer windows is located 400 m from NH-47 between Kayamkulam town and Oachira.
This 18th century palace and its courts which cover an area of approximately 1.5 acres is a two storied sprawling edifice constructed as per the Vastushastra doctrine of 16 kettu (i.e sixteen enclosures) built during the reign of the Travancore monarch, Marthanda Varma. The palace reflects the grandeur of ancient architectural style of Kerala. The sloping angular tile roof, inner court, narrow passages, narrow straight and winding stair cases, low ceiling, projecting balcony windows etc. constitute an excellent specimen of this architectural style.
A noteworthy attraction of the palace is the ‘Gajendra Moksham’, one of the largest mural paintings in Kerala themed to be Lord Vishnu’s redemption of an elephant caught by a terrible crocodile. It measures14 feet by 11 feet and is at the western end of the ground floor at a walking distance from the Palace Pool. It is said that an underground escape route runs from the bottom of the pool providing a possible escape route from enemies
Visiting hours : 9.00 am to 5.00 pm except Monday, from Alappuzha 47 km (on the way to Kollam), easily accessible by bus from Kollam or Alappuzha, 2 km to Kayamkulam bus stand, 3 km to Kayamkulam railway station.
Ambalappuzha ( Pilgrim Centre)
The Sri Krishna Temple at Ambalapuzha, famous for the typical Kerala architectural style is renowned all over India for the ‘Palpayasam’, the daily offering of delicious sweet milk porridge made to the deity.
Once in every twelve years, ‘Pallipana’ a ritual whose myth speaks of Lord Siva and Goddess Parvathy, who were incarnated as ‘kuravan’ and ‘kurathy’, awakening Lord Mahavishnu from slumber, is performed by the velans(the sorcerers). The ‘oothu’ and ‘moorothu’ are the main poojas held as part of the pallipana. The velan performs the ‘oothu’ in the day time while the velathy (wife of velan) performs the ‘moorothu’ during night.
Another ritual called the Vijayabali that coincides with the pallipana is observed after every 12 pallipana’s i.e. once in every 144 years. The last Vijayabali was conducted in the year 1954 according to the temple records with the next one anticipated in the year 2073.
Paintings of the Dasavatharam (the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu) are on display on the inner walls of the Chuttambalam.
The temple’s main festival occurs in March/April.Ottamthullal, a satiric art form produced by the poet Kunchan Nambiar, was first performed on the premises of this temple.
Situated about 5 km east of Ambalapuzha, is the Karumadi Kuttan, a black granite figure of Buddha said to belong to the 9th or 10th century. The statue, found abandoned after centuries in a nearby stream named “Karumady thodu” was restored by Sir Robert Bristow in the 1930s. The locals regard the Karumadikuttan with affection and believe it to possess many healing powers
The nearest railway station to Karumadi kuttan is Ambalapuzha which is about 4 km and Alappuzha which is about 17 km. The nearest airport is the Cochin International Airport at about 101 km.
There are many houseboat cruises through this region and almost all backwater and boat tours through this route cover the Karumadikuttan Buddha statue, at Karumadi.
Punnapra, a village in the Alappuzha district of Kerala is a coastal area of Arabian Sea and lies west to Kuttanad. Punnapra is infamous for its historic fight between the communist and Travancore state police that ensued in the Punnapra Vayalar Communist Uprising of 1946.The memorials of the martyrs are located in Alappuzha near Kalarcode.
Pathiramanal (An Island)
“The Sands of Night” another name for the mystifyingly beautiful island in the Vembanad Lake in the Muhamma panchayat is accessible only by boat from Kumarakom and Muhamma. The scenic beauty of the islands on both the sides of the lake as well as that on the island is breathtaking and soothing to the soul. Pathiramanal is home to many rare varieties of migratory birds from different parts of the world.The Pathiramanal Island is about 1.5 km from Muhamma boat jetty and about 13 km from Alappuzha.
Nearest railway station, Alappuzha is at about 16 km and that of Cherthala atabout 10 km
The Kochi International Airport is about 85 km north of Alappuzha and theThiruvananthapuram International Airport is about 150 km away
The remarkable backwaters of Kerala are thought have originated from the flood of 1866 that silted up the harbours of yore and gave birth to lagoons, called kayals. Located en route of these beautiful waterways is the famed “Rice Bowl of the State”, Kuttanad. In Kuttanad, farming is done at 1.5 to 2 meters below the sea level. These areas have been reclaimed by the unique native engineering skills that look akin to the dykes of Holland. A calm respite in these beautiful farmlands, gleaming green with the quacks of ducks filling the air in an almost a reassuring manner is an experience unparalleled. The farms here grow banana, cassava and yam.