Alappuzha or Alleppey is a popular tourist destination and is aptly known as the Venetian Capital of Kerala. Lush paddy fields, Arabian sea and house boats in backwaters, attracts tourists from India and abroad thorughout the year.
Alappuzha has many small water ways and canals, which are connected by bridges. So the landmarks are usually the names of the bridges and, there are upto even 4 bridges connecting a parallel road.
I am lucky to be born and bought up in this beautiful place and with this post, I intend to take you on a journey to explore the beautispots of Alappuzha.
The iconic red and white light house is one of the oldest of its kind. The light house service was started in 1862 and eventhough Allppey is no longer the busiest trade centers, the light house is still in great condition. Wooden spiral staircase leads to the top and offers a stunning view of the beach on one side and the lush green town behind.
There is also a small museum near the entrance, where the instruments and lenses which were earlier used in the light house, are displayed. Entry fee is 20Rs.
A bund is a barrier constructed to prevent the salt water of the sea, from entering the low lands and paddy fields. It is fun to spend an evening here, sipping hot tea from small stalls next to the road, across the Vembanad lake.
Also this is the best place to buy fresh karimeen or Pearl spot fish, at a bargain price. By the way Karimeen pollichatu, or pearl spot fried enclosed in a masala filled banana leaf, is a must try delicacy.
Pathiramanal (Sands of night) is an islet in Vembanad lake. It takes around 5-10min boat ride from the main land, to reach this green wilderness.
Eventhough it is famous for bird watching, one has to be really lucky to spot them, as the walkable path covers only a very small area. There is nothing much to do here apart from just walking amidst the thick foliage and spending some solitary time on the lake bank.
Info Time : Alappuzha is the one district in Kerala with no forest.
Mullakkal Rajarajeshwari temple is about 500 years old and the main deity is Goddess Rajeshwari, residing in the central shrine. Other deities surrounds the main shrine. The premise houses many plants, ancient trees and a pond at the back. This temple is also a great example of traditional kerala temple architecture. Spending an evening in this serene atmosphere, listening to the leaves of the ancient banyan tree fluttering to the music of idakka from the evening ritual refreshes and rejuvinates the mind like nothin else.
If you ask me, the best time to visit Alleppey and is in December. The famous Mullakkal Chirappu, which is a festival associated with the temple, takes place then. The entire town will be decorated with special multicolored lighting installations of dieties and it looks spectacular at night.
The roads will be closed for vehicles, to accomodate the crowd on foot, and street vendors selling colorful jewelry, toys and snacks. All you need to do is just stand in the road and the crowd will slowly push you forward.
There will be special rituals in the temple, procession of 9 caparisoned elephants and cultural and music shows. Beach fest and flower shows are also some of the attractions. The spectacular display of fireworks on the last day, marks the end of the festival.
I am not a beach person but I find the sunsets in Alleppey beach, so stunning. A multitude of colors in the sky from violet to pink and yellow to red, paints silvery flames in the evening sea.
As a child I used to frequently visit the beach with my grandpa and we used to collect sea shells from under the deteroriating iron pillars of the pier. We used to run after tiny crabs and catch the slow ones, before they get a chance to hide under the sand. A visit to the Vijaya Park next to the beach, and a snack from The Indian Coffee House (Mutton cutlet and mutton omlete are a must try) marks the end of a beach evening.
Kuttanadu or the rice bowl of Kerala is where most of the paddy cultivation happens. The most peculiar feature of Kuttanadu is that the land in which the farming is carried out can be upto 3m below the sea level.
Enough of the facts. Exploring Kuttanadu in a vallam (small wooden canoe) throught the narrow water channels along the paddy fields, is a great experience. When we went boating last time, we could spot kids goofing around in small motor canoes, racing with each other. You can see the daily life of villagers up close while slowly moving along the waves of the lake.
If you are on a budget, you can take the public boat service from Alleppey and tour around many nearby places for under 50Rs.
Located in Kayamkulam town in Alappuzha district, this palace displays one of the largest mural paintings of its kind, ‘Gajendra Moksham’. I visited this palace many years ago and I distinctly remember the beautiful architecture of the palace which involved lot of wood work, and the large pond with stone stairs leading to it. This palace was built by Marthandavarma Raja of Travancore. Now maintained by the Archaeology department of Kerala, the palace exhibits the belongings of the royalty.
Other places to visit are the Andhakaranazhi beach and Ravi Karunakaran museum, both of which Iam yet to visit.
Hope you liked the post. Do comment on your experience in Alleppey incase you already visited the place.