Alappuzha is one of the famous tourist places in Kerala. As it is the landmass between the Arabian sea and the network of rivers flowing into it, there are many waterways here. It is popularly known as the Venice of the East due to its beautiful network of interconnected backwater canals. Manimala, Pamba, and Achankovil are the major rivers in the land. Vembanad lake, renowned as the longest lake in India, is located here. The famous Nehru trophy boat race is conducted here during the Onam season. Tourists love to enjoy the ride in the placid lake in specially designed houseboats that provide all the facilities of a home. Another exquisite sight in the area is the quaint village of Kuttanad with its extensive paddy fields and waterways.
Historically, Alappuzha was one of the most popular ports on the Malabar coast. It still retains its fame as the center for the coir industry and prawn farming. Many historical monuments like the Krishnapuram palace in Kayamkulam, Buddha idol, and Saradha Mandiram in Mavelikkara can also be found in the Alappuzha district.
Tourist Places in Alappuzha
Kuttanad is a beautiful village in the heart of Alappuzha. The unique landscape, replete with expansive paddy fields and interconnected waterways, is one of the best tourist places in Kerala. There are many exquisite sights in Kuttanad. The winds creating ripples in golden paddy fields, raft of ducks quaking through the canals, children playing in the water will etch an unforgettable memory in the visitor’s heart. One cannot help but feel drawn to the peaceful life of the villagers living in harmony with mother nature. The houseboat ride through the placid backwaters enjoying traditional cuisine is a great experience. Thus Kuttanad is undoubtedly a unique place to visit in Kerala.
Alappuzha beach is a much sought after tourist spot in Kerala. The expansive sandy beach is the best place to lay back and relax. The famous old pier on the shore is over 150 years old. The beach stands out from others in Kerala due to the many annual events conducted here. The 30-meter high lighthouse situated nearby was built in 1862. It has a teak wood spiral staircase leading to the top and provides an enthralling view of the area. Alappuzha beach festival conducted annually as part of the new year attracts many tourists to the place. The beach is also famed for conducting Kerala’s first international sand art fest. Many eminent sand artists from the world over participated in the event.
Cherthala is a small town in the Alappuzha district. It is known for its ancient temples and waterways. The Karthyayani Devi temple located in the town center is the most prominent. It is believed that the land got its name from the idol found in mud which was later consecrated in the temple. Ancient performing arts of Padayani, Vela Thullal, and Pooram Pattu are conducted in the temple during the festival. The town also has a First World War memorial dedicated to the 112 men from Cherthala who participated in the war. The small town is worth a visit during the tour to
Pathiramanal is a small uninhabited island about 1.5 kilometers away from Muhamma Boat Jetty. It is the best place for a picnic as there is nothing around to ruin the tranquility of the island. The turquoise blue water of Vembanad lake surrounding the island extends as far as the eye can see. As many species of birds inhabit the island, Pathiramanal is a paradise for bird watchers. Many types of migratory birds from around the world visit the island during the winter season. It is estimated that as many as 91 local species and 50 migratory species of birds are seen on the island.
Thanneermukkom Salt Water Barrier is a bund made to prevent the mixing of saltwater into low lying areas in the Vembanad lake. It also shields Kuttanad from tidal action. Constructed in 1974, it is famed as the largest mud regulator in India. The bund also separates the brackish water from freshwater that is fed to the lake from the rivers. The varying salinity causes a difference in color between the two sides of the barrier. This interesting phenomenon attracts tourists to the area. The shutters of the Thannermukkam bund are opened during the monsoon season until the flood water drains off and remains closed for approximately 6 months thereafter.
Constructed in the 18th century by the king of Travancore Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, Krishnapuram palace is now converted to a museum. The building is the finest example of the Kerala style of architecture. The dormer windows, narrow corridors, and gabled roof conform to the architectural style. The museum is a rare treasury of ancient coins, megalithic remains, paintings, and inscriptions. There are many stone and wooden sculptures that arouse curiosity. The largest mural painting in Kerala, ‘Gajendra Moksham’ is the greatest attraction here. The Kayamkulam Vaal — a double-edged sword used by the rulers of Kayamkulam —can be found here. A 10 century Buddha idol is on display in the Buddha mandapam, Sanskrit Bible, ceremonial utensils, and so on make the palace one of the best tourist attractions in Kerala.
Mavelikkara is a municipality located in the banks of the Achankovil river. Named after the mythical King Mahabali, the land is famous for its temples. The Chettikulangara Devi temple is the most famous attraction of all. The Kumbha Bharani festival in the temple attracts tourists from far and wide. One of the 108 Shiva temples of Kerala created by Parashurama, Kandiyoor Mahadeva temple, is located here. The statue of Buddha in the seated position is believed to be from the early 9th century. Mavelikkara is also one of the oldest municipalities in Kerala.
Arthungal is a small town in Alappuzha known for the popular pilgrimage center, St Andrews Basilica. Constructed in the 16th century by Portuguese missionaries, the church has Saint Sebastian as its patron. Many devotees travel to the town as pilgrimage; especially during the traditional feast which falls on January 20. On the eighth day, a large procession carrying the statue of Saint Sebastian is led to the beach and back. The statue was brought from Milan in 1647. The church also holds the memories of Arthungal Veluthachan, a saintly vicar who was in charge of the church until 1632. Thus Arthungal is undoubtedly one of the fascinating places to visit in Kerala.
Rated as one of the top five Hammock Beach in the world by National Geographic, Marari beach is a great place for a holiday in Kerala. The pristine seashore with its unique beauty attracts tourists to the place. It is the best location to lay back and relax; enjoying the charming sunset. The ease of accessibility and proximity to other tourist attractions like Munnar make the place a busy tourist spot in Kerala. The fishing village of Mararikulam nearby is the perfect place to know about the rural culture of the land.
A coastal village located in Cherthala Taluk, Andhakaranazhi is a famous place worth a visit. The exotic beach here is a major attraction. Tourists love to take a sunbath and relax on the golden sand on the beach. The sand sedimentation formed where the backwater merge to the sea gives the name ‘Azhy’ to the place. Two mechanized shutters regulate the flow of saline water to the nearby paddy fields. They are open during heavy rains to protect the farmlands from inundation.
Vembanad is the longest lake in India. Extending over three districts, the lake proves to be an easy means of transport for the natives of the land. The best way to enjoy the beauty of the lake is to go on a houseboat ride. The Kerala houseboats are famous for its traditional design and luxurious interiors. Most of them have two stories and are furnished with bedrooms, kitchen, sit-outs, and toilets. A round trip through the lake takes almost 5 to 8 hours. Slowly moving through the turquoise blue water bordered by emerald-green shores with swaying coconut trees is an exciting experience. The blowing cool breeze soothes the soul. My tourists visiting Kerala opt for a ride in the houseboat as it is an exciting experience.
Nehru Trophy Boat race
Nehru Trophy boat race is the most famous race of snake boats in Kerala. Named after the erstwhile prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, the event is witnessed by thousands of people. The traditional boat race is known for its adrenaline rushing excitement. The race is conducted annually in conjunction with the Onam festival which usually falls in August. It is the most sought after events by tourists visiting Kerala; second only to Thrissur Pooram.
Located in the quaint village of Karumadi, three kilometers away from Alappuzha, Karumadikuttan is a Buddhist shrine. The Buddha idol in the monument is dated between the 9th and 14th centuries AD. The 3 feet tall granite statue was found in 1930 in the nearby stream named Karumadi Thodu. The credit of recovering the idol goes to Sir Robert Bristow, the British engineer who played a crucial role in the development of Kochi port. Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, visited the monument in 1965. Some claim that the idol is of Jain Theerthankara. Whatever be the case, the place is worth a visit for the history aficionados.
Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple
Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna temple is one of the most famous temples dedicated to Lord Krishna in Kerala. Constructed in the 17th century by Chembakassery Pooradam Thirunal Devanarayanan Thampuran, the temple is associated with many myths. The idol in the sanctum sanctorum is that of Parthasarathy, the charioteer form of Krishna. The temple complex is the epitome of Kerala architectural brilliance. The large area has many constructions including an expansive temple pond with turquoise green water. The shrine is also famous for the sweet Paal Payasam— a special pudding made of rice and milk.
Pallippuram is a small hamlet that exemplifies the charm of a typical Kerala village. The thick greenery, white sand and quiet life of the villagers allure the tourists. As the place is surrounded by Vembanad lake, it is sometimes referred to as an island. Unlike other places in the state, white sand dunes are visible in the location. Geologists attribute the white color to the abundant silica content. The major attraction in the village is the 3rd-century Pallippuram church. It is also the birthplace of Palackal Thoma Maplan, who found the first native religious institution in India: Carmelites of Mary Immaculate. Thus the village enjoys a respectable place in the tourism map of Kerala due to its historic importance and natural beauty.
Mannarasala Sree Nagara Temple is an internationally acclaimed pilgrimage center of the devotees of Nagaraja. The origin of the ancient temple is intertwined with many myths and hence is ambiguous. Nestled inside a thick forest, the location will surely enthrall nature lovers. It is estimated that there are more than 100,000 images of snakes along the paths leading to the shrine. During the temple festival called Mannarasala Ayilyam, all the serpent idols in the grove and the shrine are taken to the nearby Brahmin house and are given traditional offerings. Many foreigners visit the temple while they are in Kerala to learn the ancient culture of the land.