KERALA PLACES TO SEE
The town was founded by Raja Keshawadasan, Divan of Travanacore in 1762. 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. Referred to as the venice of the east by travellers 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, Alappuzha (Alleppey) has grown in importance as a backwater tourist centre, & also famous for its boat races, houseboat holidays, beaches, marine products and coir industry.
Alleppey Places to See:
Kuttanad, called the rice bowl of Kerala because of her wealth of paddy crops, is 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 is perhaps the only region in the world w
farming is done 1.5 to 2 m below sea level. Inland waterways which flow above land level are an amazing feature of this region.
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 fascinating to visitors. The Vijaya beach park: Picnic spot with children's park & boating facilities (Open 1500 - 2000 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: Roundboat (4 seater): Rs. 10 Pedalboat (2 seater): Rs. 15 Pedalboat (4 seater): Rs. 25. Video permit Rs. 15, Camera permit Rs. 100 respectively.
Pathiramanal (11/2 hours by motor boat/30 min. by speedboat from Alappuzha):
According to mythology a young brahmin dived into the Vembanad Lake to perform his evening ablutions and the water made way for land to rise from below, thus creating the enchanting island of Pathiramanal (sands of midnight). This little island on the backwaters is a favourite haunt of hundreds of rare migratory birds from different parts of the world. The island lies between Thaneermukkom and Kumarakom, and is accessible only by boat.
Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple (32 km 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 diety 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.
Champakulam Church :
One of the oldest churches in Kerala, the St. Mary's Church is believed to be one of the seven established by St. Thomas. The annual feast at this church falls on the 3rd Sunday of October every year. The feast of St. Joseph is celebrated on March 19th.
Q S T and R Block Kayal :
These regions are wonders of the indigenous agricultural engineering know-how of Kerala and remind the visitor of the famous dikes of Holland. Extensive areas of land has been reclaimed from the backwaters and are protected by dikes built all around. Here cultivation and habitation are made possible four to ten feet below sea level. A leisurely cruise along the canals that surround these kayals is a memorable experience.
Chavara Bhavan (6 km from Alappuzha. Accessible only by boat):
Chavara Bhavan 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.
Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Temple (15 km south of Alappuzha):
Built in the typical Kerala architectural style, this temple is famous all over India for the Palpayasam, the daily offering of deliciously sweet milk porridge. It is also in this temple that Pallipana is performed by Velans (sorcerers) once every twelve years. Paintings of the Dasavatharam (the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu) are on display on the inner walls of the Chuttambalam. Ottanthullal, a satiric art form originated by the poet Kunchan Nambiar, was first performed on the premises of this temple.
Arthunkal (22 km north of Alappuzha) :
The St. Sebastian's Church here is an important Christian pilgrim centre. Annual festival: Arthunkal Perunnal - the feast of the patron saint (January)
Edathua Church (24 km 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 and 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.
Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple, Mavelikkara :
The Kettukazhcha festival at this temple draws large crowds of devotees. Processions of tall decorated structures on chariots, brightly decorated effigies of horses and bullocks and cultural performances make a spectacular pageant. (Festival - February/March)
Krishnapuram Palace (47 km from Alappuzha):
Built by Marthanda Varma, this palace at Karthikapally in Kayamkulam is famous for its mural depicting the story of Gajendramoksham. Dating back to the 18th century, this exquisite piece of art is one of the largest murals in Kerala. The palace museum houses antique sculptures, paintings and bronzes.
Karumadikuttan (3km east of Ambalapuzha):
Many fascinating legends are associated with this 11th century statue of Lord Buddha.