Tourist Attractions of Alappuzha
As featured in innumerable ever-green romantic melodies and poems, Alappuzha, with its its backwaters, beaches, houseboats, country boats, boat races, marine products, coir and authentic delicacies, has earned a special place in the heart of Kerala, the Gods own country. Quite naturally, Alappuzha has always been an important tourist destination in India. It stores a surprise waiting for any traveller at virtually every turn. A city with picturesque canals, backwaters, beaches and lagoons, Alappuzha is called the "Venice of the East". Houseboat cruises on the backwaters are favourites of any season.
With the Arabian Sea on the west and a vast network of lakes, lagoons and fresh water rivers crisscrossing it, Alappuzha is a district of immense natural beauty which attracts several thousands of tourists each year and now has more feathers added to its cap. The tiny island of Kakkathuruthu in its backwaters has made it to a select list of stunning destinations across the world, compiled by the acclaimed National Geographic magazine. The emerald-fringed "Island of Crows" has been listed in National Geographic's photographic tour of travel-worthy spots across the world.
Kakkathuruthu- the world`s new tourism hot spot
The small island of Kakkathuruthu (means 'tiny island of crows'), has been listed as one of the most stunning destinations in National Geographic's 'Around the World in 24 Hours', a photographic tour of travel-worthy spots across the world.
The honour has catapulted the secluded quiet island on to the world stage.The four-kilometre island, home to a small village of 1,000 people, has unadultered rustic activities like fishing, toddy tapping, farming and simple boat ride. Surrounded by the Vembanad Lake, this village is a source of joy for the weary urban traveller. The charm of the backwaters, lush coconut groves and untarred country roads always offer feast to cameras. Situated not far from the cities of Alappuzha and Kochi, the island of Kakkathuruthu is connected to mainland only by traditional boats.
The charm of the small island with sea green waters, lush coconut groves and absence of tarred roads, has been captured by the magazine photographers during the time of dusk, around 6pm, when "the shadows lengthen and the sky shifts from pale blue to sapphire". In a graphic description, the magazine says " the sunset in Kerala is greeted by a series of rituals- Saree-clad women head home in skiffs, fishermen light lamps and cast nets into the lagoon and bats swoop across the horizon snapping up moths. If dawn is awakening and daytime illumination, then twilight is transcendence, a final burst of vitality before darkness falls".
Kakkathuruthu is accessible only by boat. Eramalloor is the nearest spot (2 km) on the National Highway, which is roughly 40 km from Alappuzha and 75 km from Kochi airport. From Eramallur, travellers can go directly to the Kakkathuruthu boat jetty or take a private boat at Kodupuram.
Punnamada lake is a part of Vembanad backwaters, the longest lake in India. Spanning several districts in the state of Kerala, Vembanad is known as Punnamada Lake in Kuttanad, Alappuzha, and Kochi Lake in Kochi. Punnamada hosts one of the biggest and most exciting water sport events in the world. The Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race conducted annually during the Onam season, attracts thousands of foreign and domestic tourists.The islands surrounded by the lake are also major tourist centres.
Nehru Trophy Boat Race
The Nehru Trophy Boat Race named after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is conducted on the second Saturday of August every year. On the day of this fiercely fought boat race, the tranquil lake front is transformed into a sea of humanity with an estimated two lakh people, including tourists from abroad for watching it. For the people of each village in Kuttanad, a victory at this race for their village boat is something to be celebrated for months to come.
Ambalappuzha ( Pilgrim Centre)
The Sri Krishna Temple at Ambalapuzha, 14 kms from Alleppey is among Kerala's most 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.
Close to 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.
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.
This is a small beautiful island in the Vembanad Lake and is accessible only by boat from Kumarakom and Muhamma.
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 beach parks add to the attractions of the beach. There is also an old lighthouse which is greatly fascination to visitors.
Kuttanad, is called the rice bowl of Kerala because of its wealth of lush paddy crops. It lies at the very heart of the backwaters. The scenic countryside of Kuttanad also has a rich crop of banana, cassava and yam. This perhaps the only region in the world where farming is done 1.5 to 2 metres below sea level. Inland waterways which flow above land level are an amazing feature of this region.
The 18th century Krishnapuram Palace built during the reign of the Travancore monarch Marthanda Varma, is now a history museum which displays typical characteristics of Kerala architecture. It houses one of the largest mural paintings in Kerala called the Gajendra Moksham, measuring 14 feet x 11 feet. A museum of antique sculptures, paintings and bronzes is also there. Situated 47 km south of Alappuzha on the National Highway, Krishnapuram is easily accessible.
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).
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. A 250 year old historically important beacon of light is preserved intact.
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.
Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple
32 kms south of Alappuzha (near Harippad), this is a serpent shrine, headed by a priestess. The ancient shrine is an internationally renowned pilgrim centre dedicated to the Serpent God Nagaraja. 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).
Alappuzha is an important tourist destination in India. It has a breathtaking surprise waiting for any traveller at virtually every turn. Alappuzha is a city with picturesque canals , backwaters ,beaches and lagoons. It is called the "Venice of the East".The backwaters of Alappuzha are among the most popular tourist attractions in Kerala. Houseboat cruises are favourites of any season.
With the Arabian Sea on the west and a vast network of lakes, lagoons and fresh water rivers crisscrossing it, Alappuzha is a district of immense natural beauty. By virtue of its proximity to the sea, the town has always enjoyed a unique place in the maritime history of Kerala. Today Alappuzha has grown in importance as a backwater tourist centre, attracting several thousands of tourists each year. Alappuzha is also famous for its boat races, houseboat holidays, beaches, marine products, and coir industry.