ALAPPUZHA: Venice of the east

From the third literate city of the state to the cleanest city of the nation, Alappuzha has bagged many titles for itself. Located almost in the middle of the state Kerala, it was formerly named as Alleppey. Known as the “Venetian capital of Kerala”. It is one of the most important tourist destinations in India with canals, backwaters, and beaches. Talking about Kerala and its beauty, Alappuzha is the first one to enter our minds. The beautiful coconut trees alongside the backwaters, houseboats, the greenery, the toddy shops, everything is so soothing to eyes and soul. The scenic beauty had always been admired by anyone who had a visit once in life. Not only one but there are many reasons that make it so different and unique.

This place is one of the important tourist destinations and attracts millions of international and national tourists. Here you can see the finest beach in Kerala. Alappuzha beach is the prime place to enjoy the dusk and a perfect spot to attain all your beach dreams. You can enjoy water sports and even the relaxing activities along with your family and friends. It also provides you with a perfect shopping destination, the Mullakkal street nearby has got a collection of various souvenirs like bags, clothes, etc. The Vijaya beach park which is adjacent to it adds on to its desirability among the younger ones. About a few meters away from the beach is the lighthouse that has got its own fan base. Experiencing the magic of sunset and the wonderful breeze at the top of a lighthouse is something to be experienced once in life. Talking about the beach how can someone forget about the lip-smacking and delightful cuisines available here. Let it be the Chinese, European, or street food, everything is out of the world.

Another important attraction is the Vembanad lake, which is known to be the longest in India and is accessible from Kottayam, Kuttanad, and Kochi too. Interestingly, the same lake is known by different names in all these areas, in Kochi, it’s known as the Kochi Lake, whereas in Kuttanad it’s known as the Punnamada Lake and in Kottayam, it’s known as Vembanad lake only. A houseboat cruise in the backwaters is something that fascinates everyone. And this is the perfect spot for that. A cruise can be booked according to our budget and requirements. It takes about 5-6 hours for the whole cruise journey. We can experience the beautiful sunset along with our loved ones in the well-furnished and beautiful boathouses. The size of the boathouses may vary according to the budget and hence you can pick up the perfect one according to the requirements. This lake is better known for conducting the Nehru Boat race, which is held every year on the second Saturday of August along the Onam celebration. There is a small history behind its name, long back when the prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru came to see the boat race he became so involved that he jumped into one of the boats and eventually that boat won the competition, since then it’s called Nehru boat race.

alleppey, houseboat, boat hou
Alappuzha Houseboat

Another place to visit is the Krishnapuram Palace in Kayamkulam, which is open on all days except Mondays from 9.30-4.30. The palace was built by King Marthanda Varma and is famous for its Mural paintings and the old Kerala Architecture. It is currently maintained by the Archeological department of Kerala. The famous Chettikulangara Devi temple, St George Forane Church, Edathua, and Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna temple add on to its royalty and heritage. Coir weaving is an important industry in Alappuzha. There are a variety of small scale and large scale products available here. It is made from the coconut husks which are processed to make materials of use like mats. Along with that, you can also experience the best and soothing experience of the various hotels and resorts available here.

It’s not only the Alappuzha beach but there are various other beaches in the district which include the Marari, Thottapally, Punnapra, and Thumpoly beaches. Each of them has got its own aura. Other than that there are two main museums in Alappuzha which include the Bay Island Driftwood Museum which is famous for its innovative modern art deployed on various kinds of root and tree-trunk sculptures. The museum was founded by Raji Punnoose, a school teacher in Andaman and Nicobar islands. This museum has been listed in the Limca Book of Records for its innovative and interesting techniques of curation. Another famous museum is the Revi Karunakaran museum, built-in 2003 by Betty Karunakaran in the memory of her husband. This privately-owned museum has got a large collection of Swarovski crystals in jade, ivory, etc. the time limit for the tour is one hour and is open on all days except Mondays from 9.00 AM to 2.00 PM.

Despite all the above-mentioned areas, the heart of Alappuzha lies in Kuttanad, “The Rice Bowl of India”. Traveling to these areas would give with the ultimate joy and peace of visiting the countryside of Kerala. This area is about 2 meters below the sea level which makes it the lowest altitude area in the country. These large area paddy fields are separated by canals and big rivers. And interestingly many of the Malayalam industry movies are shot here in Kuttanad. A Cruise ride among this majestic piece of land is just amusing. And it has got a wide number of schools and colleges. As already mentioned because of its low altitude geography, this place is the most prone to waterlogging and floods during extreme monsoons. Still, there has an irreplaceable place in the heart of the nation.

Yes, this is a small heaven in God’s own country.