Alappuzha, also known as Alleppey, is a town in Alappuzha District of Kerala state of southern India. A town with picturesque canals, backwaters, beaches, and lagoons, it was described as the List of places known as Venice of the East by Lord Curzon. It is the administrative headquarters of Alappuzha District. Alleppey has a wonderful past. Though the present town owes its existence to the sagacious Diwan Raja Kesavadas in the second half of 18th century, district of Alappuzha figures in classical Literature. Kuttanad, the rice bowl of Kerala with the unending stretch of paddy fields, small streams and canals with lush green coconut palms , was well known even from the early periods of the Sangam age. History says Alappuzha had trade relations with ancient Greece and Rome in B.C and in the Middle Ages, as well as with other parts of India. Alappuzha has a lighthouse, which is a major tourist attraction.
Alleppey/ Alappuzha is the hub for backwater tourism in Kerala. House boats locally called “Kettuvallam” are available on hire on a daily basis as well as for longer duration to take visitors on the old waterways. These house boats in general have 2 bed rooms and attached bath rooms. Some of the boats have the bedrooms fitted with air conditioners. A routine trip includes food cooked on board in the traditional Kuttanad style. The leisurely cruises show a microcosm of life on the water side with breath taking views of the water, land, birds and human habitations. Alappuzha is a centre for coir industries. The unique distinction of Alappuzha is that, it is the only district in Kerala without forest.
Major Tourist Attraction Alappuzha
Alappuzha Beach: Alleppey Beach is also frequently referred to as Alappuzha Beach. There is an old character-filled pier located here that is over 137 years old. Alleppey Beach is one of the most popular beaches of the state of Kerala. One thing that draws people to this beach is the facilities at Vijaya Beach Park. The Alleppey beach has the Arabian Sea to the west as well as a large network of lakes, lagoons and several freshwater rivers nearby. The beautiful sand contrasts nicely with the color of the water, to make for a truly relaxing atmosphere. Picnicking at the beach is one of the most popular activities to participate in there.
Krishnapuram Palace: The Krishnapuram Palace was built during the reign of Marthanda Varma, a Travancore king. This 18th century building was built with two-stories and was created with the traditional Kerala architectural features which include gabled roofs, dormer windows and narrow corridors. This particular palace is especially famous for its mural paintings as well as its architecture. One of the biggest mural paintings in all of Kerala is located here. This mural is called Gajendra Moksham, which when translated means The redemption of the elephant. A museum of antique sculptures, paintings and bronzes is also found there at the palace.
Pathiramanal (An Island): This is a small beautiful island in the Vembanad Lake and is accessible only by boat from Kumarakom and Muhamma
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.
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.
Kuttanad : It’s 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 where farming is done 1.5 to 2 mtr below sea level. Inland waterways which flow above land lever are an amazing feature of this region.
Arthunkal Palli (Pilgrim Centre) : Arthunkal Palli known for the St. Andrews church established by Portuguese missionaries is near Sherthallai, 33 km north of Alappuzha. The feast of St. Sebastian is held here every January.
Ambalapuzha (Pilgrim Centre): The Sri Krishna Temple at Ambalapuzha, 14 km from Alleppey is among Kerala`s more famous ones boasting of the typical temple architectrual 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.
Karumadi: Close to Ambalapuzha, the village of Karumadi is famous for its Karumadi Kuttan, a black granite figure of Budha said to belong to the 9th or 10th century.
By Air : The closest airport from Alappuzha is in Kochi, around 90 km away. Prepaid taxis are available to fetch you to Alappuzha. .
By Rail The train station is about 4 km south-west of the town centre. The 57km journey to Ernakulam takes one hour. Important trains that run from here include Jan Shatabadi, Ernakulam Express, Netravati Express and Allepey Express.The first three connect to Trivandrum and Ernakulam both. Allepey Express runs to Chennai daily.
By Road Buses operate regularly on the Thiruvananthapuram-Kollam- Alappuzha- Ernakulam route. From Thiruvananthapuram, it`s about 3¼ hours to Alappuzha by superfast / express bus. It takes l¾ hours to reach Ernakulam from Alappuzha.
By Boat Like Kollam, Alappuzha is another point from which to explore the backwaters