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Kerala Tourist Places - ALAPPUZHA

Area 1414 sq. km
Population 2,105,349 (2001 census)
Altitude Sea level

With the Arabian Sea in the west and a vast network of lakes, lagoons and fresh water rivers criss-crossing it, Alappuzha is a district of immense natural beauty. Referred to as the Venice of the East by travelers 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 is an important backwater destination attracting several thousand foreign tourists every year. Alappuzha is also famous for its boat races, beaches, marine products and coir industry. A singularity of this land is the region called Kuttanad - a land of lush paddy fields referred to as the Rice Bowl of Kerala and one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea level.

Accessing Alappuzha
Telephone access code : +91-477

Air : Nearest International Airports: Thiruvananthapuram (150 km); Nedumbassery, Kochi (85 km).

Rail : Railway enquiry

Road : KSRTC enquiry

Ferry services : Enquiries

SWTD (Public boat service enquiry) : 2252510
Places to Visit

Kuttanad

Kuttanad , called the rice bowl of Kerala because of its 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 m below sea level. Inland waterways which flow above land level are an amazing feature of this region.

AlappuzhaBeach

This is one of the most popular picnic spots in Alappuzha. The pier, which extends into the sea here, is over 137 years old. Entertainment facilities at the Vijaya Beach Park add to the attractions of the beach. There is also an old lighthouse which is greatly fascinating to visitors.

Pathiramanal

Distance : 1½ hours by motor boat / 30 min. by speedboat from Alappuzha
According to mythology a young Brahmin dived into the Vembanad Lake to perform his evening ablutions and the water made way for land to rise from below, thus creating the enchanting island of Pathiramanal (sands of midnight). This little island on the backwaters is a favourite haunt of hundreds of rare migratory birds from different parts of the world. The island lies between Thaneermukkom and Kumarakom, and is accessible only by boat.

Champakulam Church

One of the oldest churches in Kerala, the St. Mary’s Church is believed to be one of the seven established by Sr. Thomas. The annual feast at this church falls on the 3rd Sunday of October every year. The feast of St. Joseph is celebrated on March 19th.

Q S T and R Block Kayal :

These regions are wonders of the indigenous agricultural engineering know-how of Kerala and remind the visitor of the famous dikes of Holland. Extensive areas of land have been reclaimed from the backwaters and are protected by dikes built all around. Here cultivation and habitation are made possible four to ten feet below sea level. A leisurely cruise along the canals that surround these kayals is a memorable experience.

Chavara Bhavan

Distance : 6 km from Alappuzha. Accessible only by boat.
Chavara Bhavan is the ancestral home of the blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara. It is now a holy shrine and spiritual resort where thousands of devotees gather for prayer, receive favours and feel amply gratified. Here, a 250 year old historically important beacon of light is preserved intact in its original and primitive form.

AmbalappuzhaSreeKrishnaTemple

Distance : 15 km south of Alappuzha
Built in the typical Kerala architectural style, this temple is famous all over India for the Palpayasam, the daily offering of deliciously sweet milk porridge. It is also in this temple that Pallipana is performed by Velans (sorcerers) once every twelve years. Paintings of the Dasavatharam (the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu) are on display on the inner walls of the Chuttambalama. Ottanthullal, a satiric art form originated by the poet Kunchan Nambiar, was first performed on the premises of this temple.

MannarasalaSreeNagarajaTemple

Distance : 32 km south of Alappuzha
Situated near Harippad, this is a serpent shrine under the patronage of a Brahman family, headed by a priestess. The ancient shrine is an internationally renowned pilgrim centre dedicated to the Serpent God Nagaraja. Sarpa Yakshi and Naga Yakshi are the beloved consorts of Nagaraja. It is believed that Nagaraja as the installed diety is endowed with the form o Hari (Lord Vishnu) and the spirit of Lord Shiva. Legend has it that the first priestess of Mannarasala gave birth to a five-headed snake, which is believed to reside in the ancestral house to safeguard the family. At Mannarasala barren women are believed to be blessed with children and a special turmeric paste available at the shrine is credited with powers to cure even leprosy.

ChettikulangaraBhagavathyTemple, Mavelikkara

The Kettukazhcha festival at this temple draws large crowds of devotees. Processions of tall decorated structures on chariots, brightly decorated effigies of horses and bullocks and cultural performances make a spectacular pageant. (Festival - February / March).

Krishnapuram Palace

Distance : 47 km from Alappuzha
Built by Marthanda Varma, this palace at Karthikapally in Kayamkulam is famous for its mural depicting the story of Gajendramoksham. Dating back to the 18 th century, this exquisite piece of art is one of the largest murals in Kerala. The palace museum houses antique sculptures, paintings and bronzes.