Alappuzha - A tete a tete with the city
Also known as : Allepey
Location : South India, Kerala
Founded in : 1957
Best time to visit : October to May
Local Transport : Yellow top buses, tourist taxis, auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws.
Places to see : Nehru Boat Race, Ambalapuzha Temple, Mannarshala temple.
Souvenirs : Articles made out of coir.
Alappuzha - The Tale of the city
History has it that Alappuzha District was earlier connected with Kottayam and Kollam districts. Alappuzha means the land between the sea and the network of rivers flowing into it. Alappuzha earlier had the present-day Pathanamthitta district. Later Pathanamthitta was formed taking portions of Alappuzha, Kollam and Idukki districts. It is believed that in the Sangam age, there was a place called Kuttanad. Cheras who lived here were called the “Kuttuvans”. Christianity had its stronghold here from the 1st century AD. The kingdom of Chempakasseri was ruling when Thirunal Devanarayana ruled. Around the 17th century, the Portuguese who had set base here declined and the Dutch came into power. They built factories and warehouses. Then treaties were signed by the Dutch and the Indian kings. King Marthanda Varma brought about a progress to this district. Gradually the British occupied and there was a freedom struggle here and finally Alappuzha became a district of Kerala State which was formed in 1956. Then Alappuzha took birth in the year 1957.
Alappuzha - Down the Ages
Situated on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, the city of Alappuzha, lives in a maze of canals. It is set in the picturesque background of the backwater channels and the town is one of the best retreats to experience the exotic surroundings of the countryside of Kerala. Alappuzha was one of the best known ports in the coast of Malabar. Today Alappuzha is a tourist spot and is frequented by tourists and they love the extravagant ambience and beautiful surroundings.
Alappuzha - A Rendezvous
Alappuzha, the backwater beauty, is best experienced in a country house boat. This city bustling with a lot activity and life is the ideal retreat with a lot of wood and corrugated roof houses. This is a place for coir industry. The canals are the network of the city the long sandy beach is the best feature of the city. The dense palm groves are a typical feature of this place and the Kerala scenic beauty is a thing to reckon with.
Alappuzha - Travel kitty
Alappuzha, the landmark between the broad Arabian Sea and the rivers, is in Southern India. This city with its picturesque canals, and beaches and lagoons, mesmerizes the tourist. The tourist is enthralled by the beauty of the place, the joy and the astonishment on their faces. Lord Curzon describes the place as the Venice of the East. So the place with an unbroken seacoast and long coastline with numerous bridges and roads is a beautiful sight. The travel kitty here is the ambience and the grandeur that is attached to it.
Alappuzha - Joie de vivre in the city
History has it that Alappuzha has had trade relations with ancient Greece and Rome in the Middle Ages. The present day Alappuzha has been developed by the Diwan Raja Kesavadas from the 18th century. The small streams and canals with lush green coconut palms and paddy fields is the beauty of Kerala. One can see the following here:
Ambalapuzha : This is around 14 kms from Alappuzha, and this Sree Krishna temple is worth seeing. The temple with its classic architecture and sweet milk porridge called the Pal Paysam is famous for its presiding deity. The main festival in the temple occurs in the months of March-April. It is said that there is also an image of Buddha here which is a relic from the time Buddhism flourished in the State. Sorcerers or “velans” are believed to have performed “Pallipana” here once in 12 years. Human sacrifices were common here .Today cocks are sacrificed. There is a Water Regatta that is held every year.
Chettikulangara Bhagwaty Temple : This is a temple where the presiding deity is Bhadrakali. This deity is said to have powers which are like miracles. The temple is always full of activity and has the festivals in the months of February and March.
Mannarshala Temple : This is situated around 32 kms from Alappuzha. The temple is important for its serpent worship. The temple has idols of the serpent king ‘Nagaraja” and his consort Sarpyakshini. This temple has around 30,000 images of snake gods. On a particular day, the idols are taken in procession to the house connected to the temple – the “illam” where the “nurum palum” or rice flour and milk mixture, “kuruthi” or a red liquid made of turmeric and lime are given as offerings.
Arthunkal : This is a famous pilgrim centre. This is known for its famous St.Andrews Church. This was set up by the Portuguese. The church is popularly known as the St. Sebastian’s’ Church. The Portuguese missionaries built it in 1851AD. St. Andrew’s Forane Church holds an annual festival in Arthunkal. This is held in the month of January. This festival is for 10 days and is held in memory of St. Sebastian. It is attended by many devotees coming from all over Kerala. Devotees here come and offer their gratitude by crawling from the beach to the church.
Krishnapuram Palace : This palace is located at Kayamkulam which is around 47 kms from the city. The palace has two storeys and has a mural panel which is one of the greatest ones in Kerala. This palace belongs to the 18th century and has gabled roofs, dormer windows and narrow corridors. This was built during the reign of the legendary Marthanda Varma. The architecture is typical of any Kerala architecture. Today the palace is protected by the Government and has an enthralling exhibit of the largest single band of Mural painting, the Gajendra Moksham. It depicts the salvation of the elephant king Gajendra from the crocodile’s clutches by Lord Vishnu. With decorative floral edges and exquisite carvings, the painting is a pride of the tourist. There are also on display ceremonial utensils, oil lamps, fine miniature figures and small stone carvings. There is also a beautiful garden and an antique museum.
Pathiramanal : This is an island on the Lake Vembanad. This is the best place for fishing, bird watching etc. Many migratory birds come here. This is the ideal retreat for a tired tourist and the backwater cruise is a memorable experience. The main Alappuzha has a network of lagoons, lakes and fresh water rivers. This enhances the natural beauty. Legend has it that this island was formed when a young Brahmin dived into the lake to perform his evening ablutions. It is believed that the water made way so that the land could rise from below thus creating the enthralling Pathiramanal Island. Pathiramanal means the sands of the night.
Alappuzha Beach : This is one of the most popular spots in the Alappuzha district. The pier here is said to be 140 years old. The place with immense beauty has a lot of lagoons, fresh water lakes and rivers zigzagging their way into the city. Alappuzha, the lagoon land has a lot of animal and bird life. The city always has been on the maritime chart of India. Today Alappuzha with its backwater cruises, house boat holidays is a perfect beach retreat. The lighthouse in the distance is also a great attraction for the tourists.
Other places :
Punappra : This lies at a short distance from the city of Alappuzha. The village has stories of great struggles between the communists and the State Police of Travancore.
Kuttanad : This expanse of waterlogged land lies below the sea level. This place looks a lot like Holland geographically. Kuttanad is crisscrossed by the Rivers Pampa, Manimala and Achankovil, Water was the main mode of transport here some time back, and the boat trips here are still liked by the tourists. Kuttanad is the rice bowl of Kerala due to its extensive paddy crops. The scenic beauty is amazing and this place is famous for its below sea level farming. A perfect tourist spot for the tired traveler.
As we leave the place we think “Rome was not built in a day and Alappuzha is still in eternity.”