Alappuzha -The chest of backwaters
Alappuzha known as the 'Venice of the east' is a wonderful place to spent your holidays in with the breathtaking experience cruising in the houseboats and tsting its local cuisine.Alappuzha is also a place yo can find rare species of rare flora and fauna.This article deals with the maim places that you should visit in Alappuzha and main attraxtion and events in and around Alappuzha.
Alappuzha, known as the 'Venice of the East' has inspired a lot of tourists so far with its rich natural beauty. To the west of Alappuzha is the Arabian Sea and the beautiful place is embedded with a network of lakes, lagoons and freshwater rivers which are home to rare and beautiful animal and birds. The first thing that comes to mind when we think of Alappuzha is the delicious seafood that are a treat for our taste buds. This town is an unavoidable thing in the maritime history of Kerala. This place is famous for its boat races, beaches, marine products and coir industry. The picturesque land Kuttanad, also called the 'rice bowl of Kerala' is situated here. Today this beautiful fishing and trading town is a world's famous backwater tourist destination.
A journey through Alappuzha
The best way to enjoy the days in Alappuzha is to arrange houseboats known as the kettuvalloms which are constructed in a variety of shapes and sizes, equipped with all the modern amenities as a mobile home. These boats are available according to one's needs such as AC/ non AC, number of bedrooms, extra facilities and so on. The houseboats gently moving through the backwaters and sitting in its balcony, enjoying the gentle breeze is an unforgettable experience. Through the windows of the moving castle you could see the delightful sights of ducks swimming past your room, fishermen rowing boats with a good catch of fresh fish and the water birds swooping down for a good catch. The houseboat agencies also arrange experienced personal chefs to prepare you the delicious sea foods made from fresh fish and duck that are readily brought from the fishermen.
The next destination is Kuttanad also known as the 'rice bowl of Kerala', with lush green paddy fields all around. And Kuttanad is the only place in the world where farming is done 1.5 or 2 meter below the sea level and this provides a very charming and unique topography. Other than paddy there are a variety of crops including coconut, areca and banana. The R-Block nearly 850 acres, is the largest farmland in Kuttanad. A walk through this place shows us different agricultural engineering expertise of this place and cantilevered Chinese fishing nets that dot the backwaters, which were brought to Kerala by traders from the court of Kublai khan. Another important fact is that the cultivation of crops and the habitation in this area are made possible below the sea level by dikes built around the reclaimed land.
The next place worth visiting is the Champakulam village, which is famous for its boat building yards, where the 100 feet long snake boats with a seating capacity of over 90 oarsmen are built. This village has its own chundan vellam (snake boat) which has won many prestigious boat races. The St. Mary's shrine at Champakulam, the oldest parish in India and is believed to be built by St. Thomas as one of his seven churches. This church contains the murals painted by the Sri Lankan artists to decorate the ceiling of the church which is about 500 years old. In present the church has more than hundreds of devotees. The wooden statues of Christ built here are exported to various countries from here.
The Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Temple is a famous temple in Alappuzha, which is famous for its milk and rice pudding, locally known as the Ambalappuzha pal payasam.This delicious pudding made for the lord Krishna, the reigning deity of this temple is famous all over India for its absorbing sweetness. This secret behind this special pudding is that its preparation 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 (cloth tied around the waist) loosens and falls to the ground.
The ancient murals of or country is preserved in various museums and palaces and the Krishnapuram palace at Kayamkulam displays the largest of these masterpieces- the 3 meter high Gajendramokshammural which depicts a mythical event. The Mannarsala in Harippad, the largest serpent grove exhibits over 30,000 images of snake gods and have hundreds of snakes living around the place. This place is the largest serpent grove and has the only priestess in Kerala who is from the family who have founded this temple. The popular picnic spot in Alappuzha is the Alappuzha beach which includes facilities for boating and other entertainment. Another attraction of this beach is a 137-year old pier and a lighthouse that adds to the place's scenic beauty.
Events to watch in Alappuzha
Every year a lot of people reach the place to see the spectacular and colourful kettukazhcha festival at the Bhaghavathy Temple in Chettikulangara. The temple is also noted for its 11 feet stone lamp with 13 tiers, which is also the tallest in country.
Another exciting event to watch are the different snake boat races, conducted every year with about 100 oarsmen rowing their snake boats, with uniform motion of body movement and loud rhythmic songs.On the various boat races held in Alappuzha the Nehru Trophy Boat race, held every year on the second Saturday of August at Punnamada is the most prestigious one.Other boat races held in and around Alappuzha are Pulinkunnu Rajiv Gandhi Boat race(last Saturday of August),Payippad Jalotsavam, Champakulam Moolam boat Race at Harippad,Neerettupuram Boat Race(During Onam Festival-August/September) and Uthrattadi Vallamkali at Aranmula.
Alappuzha is a fantastic place to spend your holidays and when you reach here there are a lot of exciting activities to do. Fishing in the cool backwaters, Riding the canoes with all the beautiful birds and water behind you, trying all the local delicacies and buying the wonderful handicrafts are interesting things to do here. Also here you can see how coir is produced and buy beautiful coir products, the place is famous for its colourful and a variety of umbrellas, don't matter the climate, just buy one. Alappuzha has a number of resorts and hotels for all budgets, and these introduces local culture and traditions to the tourists, and during evenings and nights art forms like Kathakali and Mohiniyattam are presented to visitors. So visit these places and surely you will enjoy Alappuzha.