Alappuzha or Alleppey is an entrancing region of awe-inspiring
natural beauty with the Arabian Sea on the west and a vast
tangle of cerulean lakes, serene backwaters and freshwater
rivers, is usually referred as the Venice of the East. Alappuzha
has a large network of canals and is a centre for backwater
cruises in Kerala. Alappuzha has earned fame in the commercial
world as the world's chief supplier of coir. The temples of
Alappuzha represent the Kerala style of architecture.
Ambalappuzha is a small town in Alappuzha district of Kerala
state, The temple of Sree Krishna is located 1.5 kms east
of the town junction. In the olden days the headquarters of
the Ambalapuzha rajahs were near the temple. There was a time
when the Ambalapuzha territory had been under the rule of
Chempakasseri rajahs. But when Marthanda Varma, the valorous
ruler of Travancore conquered Chempakasseri territory in 925
M.E., there occurred a gradual declension of the royal family
of Chempakasseri.Some people worship the presiding deity of
the Ambalapuzha temple as ‘Parathasarthy’ while others as
Gopalakrishna but both the names of course, are the two sides
of the same coin.
The Arthunkal Feast refers to the annual grand celebrations
held at the St. Andrew's Forane Church at Arthunkal that culminates
into a big feast. Also known as St. Sebastian's Feast, this
church festival of Kerala sees both Christians as well as
people of other religious belies thronging to the Church.
The Arthunkal Feast is celebrated over eleven days in Kerala.
The highlights of the concluding day of the festival include
a special ritual in which the devotees crawl on their knees
all the way from the nearby beach to the church. Afterwards
there is a ceremonial procession to the beach.
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 has grown in importance as a Backwater
Tourist Centre, attracting several thousands of foreign tourists
each year. Alappuzha is also famous for its Boat races, Houseboat
Holidays, Beaches, Marine Products and Coir Industry. Alappuzha
beach also known as Alleppey beach is one of the most popular
spots in the district of Alappuzha. The pier, which extends
into the sea here, is around 140 years old. With the Arabian
Sea on the west and a vast network of lakes, lagoons and several
freshwater rivers criss-crossing it, Entertainment facilities
at the Vijaya Beach Park add to the attraction of the Alappuzha
beach. There is also an old lighthouse nearby that is of immense
interest for the visitors.
The Krishnapuram Palace is an archaeological museum, and the
most fascinating exhibit here is the 49 sq.m - Gajendra Moksham
- the largest single band of mural painting so far discovered
in Kerala. Literally, the salvation ( Moksha) of the elephant
king ( Gajendra), the theme of the mural is mythological and
depicts an elephant saluting Lord Vishnu in devotion while
the other gods, goddesses and saints look on. It is said that
Lord Vishnu was the family deity of the Kayamkulam rajas.
This mural was placed at the entrance to the palace from the
pond to enable the rajas to worship the deity after their
bath. The Krishnapuram Palace is a rare specimen of the Kerala
style of architecture complete with gabled roofs, narrow corridors
and dormer windows. Residence of the rulers of Kayamkulam
kingdom, the age of the palace is unknown. Renovated some
time in the 18th century, the palace is today a protected
monument under the Archaeology department.
Other attractions here are the beautifully landscaped garden
in the palace compound where you have a variety of flora typical
of Kerala, and a newly erected Buddha mandapam, where a recently
recovered statue of the Buddha is housed. Other collections
at the museum include rare antique bronze sculptures and paintings.
Nehru Trophy Boat Race:
Nehru Trophy Boat Race is one of the most important boat races
in Kerala. It is an annual event conducted on the second Saturday
of August every year, in the afternoon. The main event consists
of a stiff competition between the magnificent snake boats
known as 'chundanvallams' for the coveted trophy. These boats
stretch about 100 feet in length, with a raised prow, resembling
the raised hood of a snake. These snake boats are usually
rowed by men numbering around 100; rowing in unison and in
an aggressive manner. The race commences with a ceremonial
water procession comprising of floats and a variety of craft.
One can also witness races comprising other varieties of boats.
Kerala is fast gaining momentum as a hotspot tourist destination
and looks like is all set to dislodge the most popular tourist
haunts. Kuttanad, popularly known as the rice bowl of Kerala
falls under the Alappuzha District. Honeycombed by numerous
canals, lakes, rivers and rivulets, Kuttanad is pretty much
the face of the Kerala Backwaters. Also notably, Kuttanad
is one of the few places all over the world and the only place
in India where rice cultivation takes place below sea level,
somewhat like in Holland. A tour to Kuttanad unfolds before
you the lush beauty and bounty of the Kerala Backwaters like
never before. With 500 square kilometres of the region below
sea level, Kuttanad is the lowest region of India. Its elevation
ranges from 0.6 m above to 2.2 metres below sea level.
Pathiramanal (14 kilometers from Alappuzha):
This little island on the backwaters is a favorite haunt of
hundreds of rare migratory birds from different parts of the
world. This island is accessible only by boat.