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Tourist Places To Visit In Alappuzha (Alleppey)
Aptly called the Venice of the East for its web of intersecting waterways and channels, Alleppey or Alappuzha as it is known locally truly knows how to live up to its name!
The waterways and channels in Alleppey can be best explored in house boats. Scattered coconut palms, vast paddy fields and Chinese nets, make Alleppey a mesmerizing tourist destination. Well received by tourists from around the world, Alleppey beaches and houseboats are crowded round the year. The pleasingly slow paced life in the lagoons and the calmness that is shaken by the occasional echoes of the migratory birds, make it look like a world created out of a fantasy book. From Kuttanad to Mararkkulam, Krishnapuram Palace to Alleppey Beach, we have here the top tourist places to visit in Alleppey.
Spread over an area of 75kms, the Kuttanad, also known as the “Rice bowl of Kerala”, is well-known for its green paddy fields clubbed with lively backwaters that add to the charm. This scenic landscape is surrounded by vast expanses of water. A houseboat tour along the picturesque Vembanad backwaters is the best way to enjoy the surreal charm of the place.
A well-managed and well-protected sanctuary for aboriginal and infrequent migratory birds, located in Vembanad, this island is a Birdwatchers paradise. This lovely island is placed between Thannermukkam and Kumarakom. You can hire a speed boat to reach the island.
A small village called Karumadi Village houses a historic black granite statue of Lord Buddha that dates back to the 10th Century AD. Alleppey was once popular as a Buddhist centre, now most of the remnants of the Buddhist culture are spread throughout the state. The place is delightful in its own right, for people with a taste of ancient monuments and architecture.
The Sree Naga Raja Temple at Mannarasala is an eminent pilgrim centre for believers of serpent gods and is admired by locals as well as tourists. The temple is quite unique as the ceremonies are customarily conducted by a superior priestess. The shrine is located near the Harippad which is about 32 km off Alappuzha town. With around 30,000 pictures of the serpent gods, it is undoubtedly one of its kind in Kerala.
Kerala is popular for sandy beaches fringed with palm trees, and if you’re looking for some water-sports then you must visit Mararikkulam. And surprisingly, you can indulge in swimming here unlike some other beaches of Kerala.
Devoted to Lord Krishna, The Ambalapuzha Temple is aptly called the “Dwaraka of South”. Popular for its wonderful mural paintings and the “Ambalapuzha Palpayasam” (porridge made out of sweet milk), the temple knows how to attract devotees of different sects. The temple premises also became a witness to ‘Ottan Thullal’, a satirical art form performed by Kunjan Nambiar. The temple certainly reflects the southern architectural style and could be a delightful experience for the ones with a fascination of art and culture.
This 18th century architectural marvel, was constructed in the realm of former ruler Marthanda Varma Maharaja. The palace is renowned for its wonderful mural paintings. One of the most famous murals installed in the Palace measures 14 feet by 11 feet. Over the years, palace had acquired a rapport among the visitors as an archaeological museum housing, housing antiques, statues, bronzes, paintings etc.
The beach, visited by both local as well as international travellers, has gained popularity for its incredible natural beauty. The ancient dock that spreads out into the sea is a relic of Alleppey’s celebrated past when it was popular as a port city. Thick palm grooves, a lovely garden right on sea shore, an antique light house and much more, they further add on to the beauty of this scenic beach. If you wish to slow down a bit, you can probably make a stop at Vijay Sea Park and Sea View Park.
This prominent shrine devoted to St. Sebastian was constructed by the Portuguese friars. Located at a distance of 22 km north of Alleppey (near Cherthala), the Church acquires a lively character during the yearly feast of St. Sebastian, generally organized during the month of January.
Marari Beach of Alleppey is a secluded little place in a sleepy hamlet. That’s what makes this beach so lucrative and coveted among travellers who want some quiet and peace. The culture of the village nearby is authentic Kerala, and the people are gracious, without going overboard in a touristy sort of way. As for the beach itself, Marari is known for its sunsets and sunrises and hammock-friendly trees. What more can one want?
St. Mary's Forane Church
The St. Mary's Forane Church has existed since 835 AD. That in itself should clue you in on its importance. Prayers are still conducted as usual, events are still held, religious education is still imparted. You get to visit this church and experience the culture and life of local Christians firsthand. Festivals like St. Mary’s Feast and St. Sebastian’s Feast are quite grand here, celebrated with processions and fireworks and loads of lights.
A site of astonishing natural beauty, the Pandavan Rock is all about caves and carvings in caves. The place is named after the Pandav brothers as they stayed here during the time of Mahabharata. Alleppey has converted this point into a picnic spot. And since a trail leads up here, you also get to take a little hike and exercise your muscles before you open that basket of food and dig in.
Also called Alappuzha lighthouse, this is a landmark that is used by locals, pedestrians and sailors alike. It is seen from far far away, as is the case with lighthouses. With its patent strips of white and red, this lighthouse is typical but so beautiful. Alleppey Lighthouse is 148 years old and gives you a bird’s eye panoramic view of the coast as well as the land. This is a must visit, for sightseeing as well as photography.
Alleppey’s Edathua Church has unique medieval architecture, very European in style. It is located in the midst of farmlands and rivers cutting though lands, hence gives awesome views too. Pilgrims from all over flock here, especially during the feasts of May. This church dates back to the 1st Century and is said to be built by Christ’s disciple Saint Thomas. A unique feature here is that the prayers and hymns are recited in ancient Hebrew and Syrian, just like the old days.
A famous lake, Vembanad is the longest lake in the state and also one of the largest in the country. Canals and streams pour into Vembanad lake from all over, prolonging its length and making it a coveted waterbody for rowing, boating, shikaras as well as picnics. There are islands in the lake, villages settled by it banks and each call the lake by a different name depending on their dialect. Most backwater tours in Alleppey drain in this lake. You end up boating your way here and parking your houseboat on a quiet bank to just chill. Vallam Kali or the Annual Snake Boat Race takes place here in August, and this is a fun time to enjoy local culture.
Imagine a hamlet of lush green fields, of paddies and palm trees and coconut trees… that’s Champakulam. An authentic rustic Kerala village. You must explore this little quaint place on a weekend and enjoy a tour around Champakulam Church, or if you are there during the Moolam Boat Race then witness this fun event. Pampa river flows through the village and is a picturesque paradise.
Kayamkulam Lake was once upon a time a lake. Now it is a lagoon, because the authorities broke the barrier and let the sea flow in to create a fishing harbour. As a result, Kayamkulam became a lagoon of Arabian Sea. And what a beautiful lagoon it is! Tourists, fishermen, locals… all out and about doing their day’s chores. Bird watchers also flock here to see exotic birds fly in, while cycling tracks and recreation rooms add to the charm of the sidewalk. You can also visit the Adventure zone, Tsunami Museum, Boardwalk etc.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
This is a very famous bird sanctuary, not only in Kerala but in all of South India. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is sprawled over 14 acres and is kissed by the bank of Lake Vembanad. Birds of different types and species flock here, from egret to Siberian stork, golden woodpecker to heron and teal and darter. They fly from as far as Siberia sometimes. The best time to visit for bird-watching is winter time — November to February.
A real tourist haunt in Alleppey, Mullakal Street is a market that is visited by almost all those who come to town. It is known for its shops selling gold and silver wares, utensils, wood boxes, handicrafts, bags and carpets. The incenses here are also pretty great, and picked up by almost all tourists as souvenirs. The best part is, the shops here are open from early in the morning to very late in the night. So as tourists, you get to make the best of your whole day!