Alleppey, one of the most exotic sites of backwater tourism in Kerala, has justly earned the title "Venice of the East" for its labyrinth of lakes, lagoons and freshwater rivers. This tiny town has become an important tourist destination. Visitors come here for a leisurely retreat in boat cruises along the greenery-fringed stretch of backwaters and also during the time of the annual boat race to catch some action far away from the hustle-bustle of the cities. Go to Alleppey and visit the following places in what is one of Kerala's most mesmerisingly beautiful and relaxing experiences.
Tourist Places in Alleppey
Alleppey Beach, or Alappuzha Beach, has a long stretch of sandy beaches with a lighthouse and a pier jutting out into the sea, a reminder of its age-old maritime importance. The white sandy shores overseeing the Arabian Sea make for a perfect retreat to relax on a quiet and subtle evening.
Mullakkal Bhagavathy Temple
Mullakkal Bhagavathy Temple in the heart of town is dedicated to Goddess Rajarajeshwari and it gives the feel of a typical Kerala Temple.
It is like a pilgrimage destination for the followers of Nagaraja, the serpent god. The Mannarasala Temple has over 30,000 images of snakes and special processions and offerings are made to celebrate Mannarsala Aayilyam, the main festival of this temple.
Locally known as the Punnamada Lake, it is the longest lake in India and the largest in Kerala. It covers an area of about 2030 sq km, making it the largest wetland ecosystem in India. The lake boasts a rich biodiversity and is home to a plethora of marine, bird and animal species. The annual snake boat racing event held here is a must-see too.
Alappuzha CSI Christ Church
Built in 1818 by the first Church Missionary Society, Allappuzha CSI Church was the first church to be established in Travancore.
Other Attractions in Alleppey
Nehru Trophy Boat Race
The not-to-be-missed spectacle in Alleppey is, of course, the Nehru Trophy Boat Race which began in 1952 on the occasion of the visit of India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, to Alleppey. It is now a major event held in the month of August on Punnamada Lake and features the gigantic snake-boats of Kerala, the chundans, which used to be the battleships of the Malayalee kings of ancient times. Today the boat race has grown into Alleppey's single most important tourist event, with each boat being sponsored by a different village. Competition is severe as the boats, with over 100 rowers in each, race to the finish to the accompaniment of rousing music.
Coir Manufacturing Process
Alleppey offers glimpses of the coir manufacturing process from the coconut husk to the final rope or coir yarn stage. There are also several shops selling coir matting and carpets.
Tourist Destinations Near Alleppey
A tourist can make excursions from Alleppey to nearby historic places and scenic spots. Pathiramanal, a beautiful little island in the Vembanad Lake, which can be reached only by boat, is on its way to get developed as a major tourist spot.
Arthinkal, known for the St. Andrews Church established by Portuguese missionaries in 1951, is near Sherthallai 22 km north of Alleppey. The feast of St. Sebastian is held here every January. On the Pamba river is Chambakulam, the site for the famous boat regatta which is held between the months of August and September and involves participation from all communities.
The 18th century Krishnapuram Palace, built during the reign of the Travancore monarch Marthanda Varma, houses one of the largest mural paintings in Kerala, called the Gajendra Moksham. A short distance from Alleppey is Punnapra, a village which has gone down in history as the scene of a battle between the Communists and the Travancore State Police in the Punnapra-Vayalar Communist Uprising of 1946.