Alleppey, Experience the Land
Alappuzha is the capital of backwater country and houseboat operations in Kerala. Once it is ranked among the wealthiest ports along the Malabar Coast, acting as a clearing house for spices, coffee, tea, cashews, coir and other produce shipped from the backwaters.
Alappuzha is still commonly referred as "Alleppey" as known in colonial times. The town is still a major hub in the coir industry but the bug bucks these days being made from houseboat cruises.
Alappuzha - Where the Time Stand Still
Nestled in the intricate maze of waterways in Aappuzha is a new world of beauty and serenity. Here, parrot green paddy fields vie with the emerald green mystique of languid backwaters. Here, the unexpected and the unusual intrigue you to delve into its very heart. And life drifts by in slow motion for you to discover its simple joys.
Travel to Alappuzha is easy while you are in Kerala as it is well connected to other popular tourist destinations.
Telephone access code: +91 477
Air: Nearest airport; Cochin Airport (85km), Trivandrum Airport (150km)
Rail: Railway enquiry Tel: 0477 2253965
Road: KSRTC enquiry Tel: 0477 2252501
Ferry Services: Enquiries Tel: 0477 2252015
SWTC (Public boat service enquiry) Tel: 0477 2252510
Tourist Information Offices
DTPC (District Tourism Promotion Council)
Boat Jetty Road
Near KSRTC Bus Station
Tel: 0477 2253308, 2251796
Tourist Information Office
Dept. of Tourism
Tel: 0477 2260722
ATDC (Alleppey Tourism Development Co-Operative Society Ltd)
Tel: 0477 2264462, 2261693, 2230583, 2231145
Hotels, Resorts and Other Accommodation
Alappuzha offers a wide range of Hotels and Resorts.
Marari Beach Resort at Marari (Mararikulam) Beach is fashioned after the dwellings of local fishermen.
Experience These While in Alappuzha
Backwaters - Enter a Water World
Step into the land extolled by travellers as the Venice of the East. Slow-paced end serene, Alleppey is the heartland of the backwater world. Here, the waterways form the basis or a distinct lifestyle and the skiff is the family vehicle. Enveloped by a peaceful stillness, the serenity of this world is broken only by the gentle swish of oars skimming the waters and the twitter of water birds as they swoop down for a catch.
Houseboats - Enjoy a Floating Holiday
Wake up to the delightful sight of ducks swimming pat our room, and as your eyes explore the rustic life that drifts by, treat your palate to backwater delicacies prepared by your personal chef. The houseboats known as ketttuvallams come in a variety of shapes and sizes, equipped with modern amenities. Make your mobile home for as long as you like.
Explore Scenic Kuttanad
Known as the Rice Bowl of Kerala because of its abundant paddy fields, Kuttanad is the only place in the world where farming done 1.5 or 2 m below sea level. Set in the interiors of the beautiful backwater district or Alappuzha, Kuttanad is a place worth 4siting for its distinctive topography.
Unwind at a Canal Cafe
The promenades by the Alleppey canal, lined with eateries, shops selling ethnic artefacts and other knick-knacks are a major tourist attraction. You can get to watch the bustle of daily life while you relax with a cup of coffee.
Check out a Boat Building Yard
Visit the boat building yard at Champakulam Village where the unique snake boats, which are 100 ft long and can seat 90 oarsmen are built. This snakeboat-maker's village has its very own chundan vallom (snakeboat) that has won many a prestigious race.
Discover Man - made Island
Replete with a variety of crops including coconut and banana, R-block at nearly 850 acres, is the largest reclaimed farmland in Kuttanad. While on a backwater tour, drop by to get an insight the wonders of the indigenous agricultural engineering expertise of this place. Here, cultivation and habitation are made possible below sea level by dikes built around the reclaimed land.
Mararikulam Beach Just 15 kilometers away is a hardly known and unexplored Marari Beach. It is the best place to stay when you want to experenice both the backwaters and beach. Mararikulam or Marari in short is basically a fishing village.
Visit the Oldest Parish in India
Located at the site where St. Thomas is believed to have built one of his seven churches. The St. Mary's shrine at Chempakulam draws hundreds of devotees. Murals painted by Sri Lankan artists decorate the ceiling or the present church which is about 500 years old. Make sure to purchase one of the wooden statues of Christ that exported to various countries from here.
Cheer a Snake Boat Race
Feel excitement bubble in you as teams of 100 oarsmen row their snake boats, their bodies swaying in unison to the fast rhythm of full-throated singing, in one of the most exhilarating water sports. Of the various boat races in Alappuzha, the Nehru Trophy Boat Race held on the second Saturday of August every year, is the most prestigious.
Ride a Canoe
Navigate the serene, winding waterways or Alappuzha in a country craft. Enjoy the cool breeze, sing along with the birds and wave back to the cheerful village children on the banks.
Tiptoe Across a Coconut Trunk Bridge
In the Interiors of Alappuha, you'll come across plenty of water bodies with extremely narrow bridges made by using the trunk of a coconut tree. Watch the locals cross them with ease before following them at your own pace.
Savour a Natural Drink
Refresh yourself with a sip of nature's rejuvenating nectar- the cool tender coconut and scoop of its soft white flesh. Nutrition at its natural best, it is abundantly found in this land of coconut trees.
View the Largest Mural
The places and museums of Kerala are storehouses of ancient murals, The Krishnapuram Palace at Kayamkulam displays the largest of these masterpieces, the 3-metre-high Gajendramoksham mural, which depicts a mythical event.
Witness a Unique Festival
Every year hordes of people turn out to see the spectacular kettukazhcha festival featuring clolourful effigies, at the Bhagavathy Temple in Chettikulangara. Legends about the miraculous powers of the Goddess are many. The temple is also noted for its 11 ft high stone lamp with 13 tiers, which is the tallest in the country.
Relish a Heavenly Dessert
Get to taste the delicious Amblapuzha pal payasam famed all over India for its out-of-this-world sweetness. Especially made for Lord Krishna, the reigning deity of Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple, the secret of its unique flavour is in the slow cooking that stretches to almost seven hours. It is said that if this daily offering is late even by a few minutes, the deity gets so hungry that his mundu loosens and falls to the ground.
Try out New Ways to Fish
Dangle a rod line into the flowing backwaters, sweep a towel through it, Feel for the fish you feet in the mud below. Or simply try trapping small fish with your hands. Anyway, you will never return disappointed.
Marvel at the Chinese Fishing Nets
Watch fishermen tug at the huge cantilevered Chinese fishing nets that dot the backwaters. These net that billow from massive bamboo poles were brought here by traders from the court of Kublai Khan.
Sample the Local Fare
Try spicy Kuttanadan cuisine at any of the numerous restaurants here. The ethnic preparations of a variety of seafood along with other local delicacies will be a treat for your taste buds.
Behold the Shrine for Snakes
With over 30,000 images of snake gods and hundreds of snakes living around it, Mannarasala in Haripad, is undoubtedly the largest serpent grove. It also has the only priestess in Kerala who hails from the family said to have founded this temple.
Peep into you Future
The high priests at the Chakkulathu Kavu Bhagavathi temple practice a highly popular form of astrology called seven-leave-and-two-betel-nuts. If you wish to know what lies ahead for you in life, just take this offering to the priest who, by looking at the betel leaves, foretells the future.
Learn to Spin Coir
Watch nimble fingers spin water-treated coconut fibre into long ropes with a traditional hand spindle at the backwater villages. You can also shop at any of the numerous roadside stalls for brightly coloured coir mats, wall hangings and carpets.
Stay in Exotic Resorts
The delightful resorts and hotels on the banks of the backwaters have amazing experiences in store for you. Besides arranging tour packages to nearby destinations, these resorts also initiate tourists into the local culture and traditions. Some even have theme evenings when centuries old art forms like Kathakali and Mohiniyattom presented to visitors.
Picnic at the Beach
A park for children with ample entertainment including boating facilities make the Alappuzha Beach a popular picnic spot. An old lighthouse and a 137-year-old pier extending into the sea add the attractions of this beach.
Browse a Local Market
Shop at the small stalls well stocked with fresh veggies, fruits, fish, meat etc. This will give you a firsthand knowledge of the local flavours of the land.
Sort the Best Umbrellas in Town
The umbrella capital of Kerala, Alappuzha is flooded with shops featuring mind-boggling varieties of umbrellas ranging from the five-fold to the ultra-light weights just 28gm. Rain or shine carry one with you.
Nehru Trophy Boat Race at Punnamada (2nd Saturday of August every year). Pulinkunnu Rajiv Gandhi Boat Race (last Saturday of August). Payippad Jalotsavam. Neerattupuram Boat Race (During Onam Festival-August/September). Champakulam Moolam Boat Race at Haripad. Uthrattathi Vallamkali, Aranmula.