Alleppey is one of the top tourist destinations in Kerala. A quaint and picturesque town, this region is one of the foremost tourist destinations in the world. International visitors from across the globe come to experience the backwaters of Alleppey.
Called the Venice of the East, the mode of transport in this region is through waterways. Lagoons, canals, and rivulets meander through the inland region. People travel from one destination to the other using their private boats.
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Alleppey holds the distinction of being a town that was planned ahead of other towns in Kerala. Be it the sun-dried beaches, or the eternal coves, or the effervescent shores, there is enough to see and experience in Alleppey.
At the end of a trip here you will actually want more of this region. There are plenty of Alleppey tour packages that let you experience the exotic sightseeing delights here.
Best places to see on your Alleppey tour:
1. Kuttanad Backwaters
Kuttanad has a long stretch of waterways. This region is nestled between the hills and the sea. The waterway network in Kuttanad is comprised of lagoons, rivers, lakes and canals. Given this impressive system of inter-networked waterways, this region is often considered the epicentre of a backwater experience.
Also called the Rice Bowl of the State, Kuttanad is famed for its rice production. Paddy crop is cultivated in large quantities here. Boiled rice is procured from this region. Bordering the backwaters, the paddy fields are a constant sight. Paddy fields are on low lying land. Therefore, the level of water is higher than the land surrounding it.
At Kuttanad, it is common to see tourists taking backwater cruises as part of Alleppey tour packages. At any point of time you can see hundreds of houseboats plying the waters here.
When on a journey through the backwaters of Kuttanad, you can see the local lifestyle of people living along the banks. You will be fascinated as to how they can manage a normal life beside these backwaters.
Kuttanad is a place that more than four rivers flow through. Found around the Vembanad Lake, Kuttanad is also home to a wide variety of bird species. You can see ducks, parrots and darters aplenty here.
It is an enriching experience to see quaking ducks flying past you. On the banks you can also see fishermen looking for river fish. Fishing boats also ply along with houseboats.
2. St Mary's Forane Church
The church is one of the holiest for Christians in the state. The St Mary’s Forane Church is visited by people from all over the world. More than centuries old, visiting this church is a special experience. There are manuscripts dating back to the 1700s that reveal the existence of this church.
The church came about during the medieval period. Kerala was divided into a number of provinces. Each province was ruled by a king. Accompanying kings were landlords who were given jurisdiction over land.
Out of all the landlords, Koratty Kaimal was also one. Several regions were ruled by this person. He took the initiative of setting up this church.
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There are many holy feasts held at this church every year. The Annual Feast in the month of October is the popular one. The Koratty Muth feast is the highlight event. People from all walks of life participate in this event. There is no distinction based on religion, caste or creed.
The list of invitees and participants is a mix of Christians and non-Christians. During this time, an elaborate procession takes place. A grand ceremony proceeds forward and everyone follows the procession party. Located at Koratty in Thrissur, the church is a centre of culture and religion. Being at this church is a unique and fulfilling experience.
3. Krishnapuram Palace
Of all captivating attractions in Alleppey, Krishnapuram Palace is a famous one. Built by Marthanda Varma, the renowned king of Travancore, this 18th century palace is built in the traditional architectural style of Kerala.
A two-storeyed palace, the roofs here are gabled, and corridors narrow. Around the palace, you can see numerous wall paintings. So much so, that the palace could seem like an art gallery. The beautiful architecture of the Krishnapuram Palace is unmistakable.
Currently the palace is a museum. It houses sculptures of various dimensions, characters and themes. There are numerous bronze antiques here. Managed by the archaeological department, the palace is a revelation.
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It opens your perspective to a glorious era of the medieval period. From the time it was built till today, the palace is known to have underground routes for inmates to escape enemy attacks.
The prominent exhibit here is a big painting – the biggest in Alleppey. Called the Gajendra Moksham the painting is based on the theme of ‘salvation of the elephant.’ The painting shows an elephant revering Lord Vishnu through a saluting gesture.
Overall, the Krishnapuram Palace is one of the finest expositions of traditional Kerala architecture. The palace is about 6 km from the Kayamkulam railway station. Getting to this place is never a problem given the steady tourist influx to this palace.
4. Alleppey Beach
Photo Credit : Shankar Shubra Datta
Alleppey Beach is one of the most visited places in Alleppey. The sunburnt sands of this beach never fail to enchant you. The coast runs for miles along the Arabian Sea. A lot of water sport activities are conducted here.
Some of them are paragliding, parasailing, speed boating and surfing. There are some shallow regions in the sea that allow you to go for a swim. If you have come to the beach as part of an adventure activity, the adventure club arranges for these expeditions. For instance, an activity such as parasailing requires management from professional adventure sport companies.
At the Alleppey Beach, you can see the Alappuzha Lighthouse. Even this spot is visited by tourists to get a 360 degree panoramic view of surrounding regions.
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Alappuzha Sea Bridge used to be here once and you can find its remnants still here. This bridge was operational when once this region was a thriving port town. Sailors and traders from around the world visited Alleppey with their wares. The bridge provided these distant visitors a passage for goods by way of ships.
The beach is picturesque and is considered an idyllic location to shoot movies. Many Bollywood movies have been shot here. Given the salubrious and eye-catching scenery that the Alleppey Beach offers, this is not a surprise.
If you have ever wanted to visit any of the islands in the Alleppey backwaters, then this is one. Pathiramanal is an island in these serene waters. Over here apart from the verdant greenery, people come to see rare birds as part of Alleppey tour packages. Over hundreds of rare bird species inhabit this island.
Some of them have migrated from other parts of the world. A combination of resident and migratory birds makes this place one of the heavenly regions on Earth. A true nature’s paradise.
The island is surrounded by the Vembanad Lake. The lake spawns an area that starts from Alleppey to Kochi. It also covers the Kayamkulam Lake. Accessible only by a ferry, Pathiramanal is a green paradise. It is an ideal place to enjoy an enchanting experience in naturalistic settings.
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This island is visited as a pit-stop by people visiting the backwaters. The mainland has a network of lagoons, canals and waterways. The fresh water of the lake eventually empties into the sea.
Geographically, Pathiramanal borders Kottayam. The name of this island means Sands of the Night when translated from Malayalam into English. Located on the Kumarakom-Muhama route, Pathiramanal is a marvellous place that engulfs your senses with the bounties of nature. Be it the lakes or the flora here, this place is quintessential wonderland – a must-visit when touring the Alleppey backwaters.
6. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Image Credits- Phil Horton- Flickr
This bird sanctuary is located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake. It is spread over 14 acres. The resort is a place that attracts bird lovers and ornithologists from around the world. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is the place to see rare and exotic birds. You can also see migratory birds such as the Siberian stork, darter and heron here.
The lush wooded region of this sanctuary is an idyllic location for a day out seeing the delights offered by nature. During certain seasons thousands of birds flock here from several parts of the world. You can see plenty of Himalayan birds here too.
One of the star native birds is kingfishers. They amaze you with their psychedelic charm. The night herons enchant you with their colours. The golden backed woodpeckers oversee your presence in an inviting posture. The fly catchers thrill you with their acrobatics. This is a blessed region indeed. Being here is a fulfilling experience.
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Located on the Pathiramanal Island, the resort is surrounded by water. Accessible only by boat, this is a ten acre island that offers plenty of scenic delights. You can visit this sanctuary whilst on a trip in the Vembanad Lake. This is an ideal opportunity for you to see the impressive flora and fauna of this region.
Located in Ambalappuzha in Alleppey, Karumadi is a village. It is well-known for Karumadikkuttan. This is the name of the Buddha statue in this place. The name means Boy from this Village, which is Karumadi. The large granite statue of Buddha was found abandoned in a nearby town. The statue is believed to belong to the 9th century.
A British colonial officer found this statue and took necessary steps to restore it. Currently the statue is being protected by the government of Kerala. The left side of the statue has been destroyed. Rumours have it that it was destroyed by an elephant.
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The statue serves as a reminder of what prevailed in this land during the 9th century. Buddhism was endorsed unequivocally by people during this time. This faith was at an all time high. The statue is placed in a shrine.
Buddhists visit the shrine to offer their prayers to the statue. It is interesting to note how a thriving Buddhist population existed during that period. Currently a mix of religions is practised in this region. Kerala is known to exhibit a secular fabric when it comes to religion. So the statue is a treasure for people of all religions in the state.
8. Marari Beach
Marari Beach one of the most important place in alleppey tour packages, is at Mararikulam, which is a sleepy village in Alleppey. At any point of time you see plenty of people here from different parts of the country enjoying an extended holiday. There are good resorts in this region too.
The beach is easily accessible from Alleppey town given that it is only about 11 km away. A quiet and quaint town, Mararikulam breathes the aesthetics of Nature’s effervescence. Offering plenty of venues and reasons for relaxation, coming here is more than a sigh of relief.
It is a pilgrimage you make to free your mental afflictions caused by stress. The very sight of the scenic splendours around detangles you from the chores of mundane existence.
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Being a beach there are plenty of activities that you can do here. Beach volleyball and football are some of the prominently played beach games here. If you have come as part of an adventure club, you can indulge in water sports such as parasailing and surfing.
There are shallow regions in the sea which allow you to swim for a certain distance if you know how to swim. As an off-beat activity you can hitch a boat ride from one of the fishermen to venture into the seas. You don’t need to go deep into the sea. Only a short distance would do. But the experience of being on the choppy waters of the sea is intriguing.
9. Edathua Church
This shrine is huge in structure and stature. It commands a steady influx of visitors all year round. Being a holy place of Christians, the Edathua Church is well-known in the Western world. Located on the banks of the Pamba River, the church began operations in 1810.
A highlight activity of this church happens during the Feast. The saint statue is impressively decked with ornamental clothes. The statue is then carried out in a procession. The final destination of the statue is the dais of the Basilica.
Numerous cultural performances are held here regularly. Some cultural performances are conducted with dazzling fireworks. You can see people from all walks of life here. There is no distinction as to who can participate in these events.
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It is a place for believers. Dedicated to St George, the church is perceived to have divine healing powers. It is said that praying here heals believers of their mental and physical maladies.
The annual Feast is held here in the month of May. People looking for solace in God reach here from all parts of the country. It is a sight to behold when you see human beings submitting themselves to a higher force.
The best time to visit the Edathua Church is between April and May. A lot of activities are planned in this church during this time including the Feast. The church is located only 24 km from Alleppey. The nearest railway station is Alleppey railway station.
10. Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple
Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple is located in Alleppey and must include site in Alleppey tour packages. The temple was built in the year 790. Therefore it is one of the oldest temples in the region. Chembakasserry Pooradam Thirunal Devanarayanan Thampuran was the person responsible for the construction of this beautiful shrine that reverberates with glorious vitality to this day.
The temple is an extension of Guruvayoor’s Krishna Temple because the idol from this temple was transported and placed in the Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple. This activity was conducted by Tipu Sultan.
The architecture of this temple is truly outstanding. It is considered to be an architectural marvel befitting its stature as one of the greatest Vaishnava temples in this region. The interior of the temple is decorated with impressive paintings. There are many myths surrounding this temple. It is believed that the Ambalapuzha area was submerged under water initially.
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Vilwamangalam Swami was the ruler of this region at that time. When on a visit to this region, he heard a flute being played. On exploration he saw Lord Krishna sitting under a tree and playing the flute. The presence of the lord here inspired the ruler to construct the Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple.
An annual festival is conducted in this temple during the months of March and April. Spreading over ten days, a grand feast is provided every day to visitors. The Kalabham festival is another twelve day festival here. Yet another festival named Pallipana is performed here. But the frequency of this festival is only once in twelve years.
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