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  • Kerala is a beautiful place and any district that you choose to visit in the state will reward you with a serene atmosphere and clean environment, full of trees bursting with greenery. But if you’re planning a trip to Kerala and are confused as to which areas to visit, may we suggest Alleppey, also popularly known as Alappuzha? It has several distinctions to its name. The city of Alleppey is known as the cleanest city in India.

    The entire district of Alapuzzha is a marvel of natural forces- thanks to its picturesque beaches, endless backwaters, sky-blue lagoons and numerous canals, it is known as “the Venice of the East” and the main city, the “Venetian Capital” of Kerala. Backwaters imply houseboats, and a houseboat vacation is a joy to remember for life. You will find many of these- stationary as well as cruise houseboats- around Alleppey.

    Thousands of tourists’ flock to Alleppey all year round but the beauty of the district remains intact. Alleppey is 53 kilometres away from Kochi and Cochin International Airport is the closest airport to reach here. But the two cities are conveniently connected via public transport so you do not need to worry about transportation.

    Here are some of the best places to visit in Alleppey:

  • 01Kuttanad Backwaters

    Kuttanad Backwaters
    Image Credit : Wikimedia

    Consisting of shimmering waterways, canals, lakes, rivers and rivulets, Kuttanad is a beautiful tropical region in the state of Kerala. The region is surrounded by the sea and the hills and offers a beautiful scenic vista to its guests.

    Talking about tourism in this region, Kuttanad is considered to be the backwaters paradise of India where backwater cruising is concerned.

    Kuttanad’s geographical peculiarities along with its paddy fields are what make it edgy and interesting. The vast stretches of paddy fields are beautifully and enchantingly interlaced by backwaters, providing incredible sights. Here, farming is done below the sea level, usually 4 to 10 feet, which is interesting for travellers who seek to learn more about Kerala’s tourism.

    Here, four major rivers – Meechil, Achankovil, Pampa and Manimala flow, making this region a hub for travellers who like natural beauty and the swaying of coconut trees. One of the best things to do in Alleppey is to visit these backwaters and enjoy the swish of winds and trees.

    This is one of the best places to visit in Alleppey, which must be explored by Epicureans who wish to have the taste of rustic, indigenous Indian foods and spices. The seafood here is the specialty.

    Backwater Houseboat Tour in Alleppey

    Backwater Houseboat Tour in Alleppey

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  • 02St. Mary's Forane Church

    St. Mary’s Forane Church is one of the best places to visit in Alleppey. This beautiful church traces its existence back to 835 AD and is known for its events, Friday Liturgy and educational institutions. Praying here is considered to be one of the best things to do in Alleppey.

    Currently, the church is a world renowned centre of pilgrimage, where one can know more about the culture and lifestyle of the Christians. This is one of the biggest churches and parishes of the Archeparchy of Changanassery. Currently, the church is known for housing 2500 families and is one of those Alleppey tourist places that are popularly visited by the masses.

    The church organises two feasts or festivals every year. The first one of them is the St. Mary’s Feast. Since the church is dedicated to Virgin Mary, hence every year on the third Sunday of September, a feast is organised by the Church. The feast sees Darsans Samooham, a pious association playing a pivotal role in its organisation.

    People visit the church on this day and participate in the festival wearing special costumes for the procession and mass. The other feast celebrated here is St. Sebastian’s Feast. This feast which has been organised since 1647 AD is known for its deeply rooted tradition. It is widely believed that the statue of St.

    Sebastian over here is quite ancient and attractive. The statue is exposed for public veneration only during the feast festival. Fireworks and other dazzling display of colours make this feast even more remarkable, interesting and fun. The gorgeous decorations, feast and regal look of the church make it one of the best things to do in Alleppey.

  • 03Krishnapuram Palace

    This is one of the best tourist places to visit in Alleppey for those who wish to gain an insight about the culture, lives and times of the people of South India. Spending a day at this palace is certainly one of the best things to do in Alleppey, guaranteeing rejuvenation of mind, body and soul.

    Krishnapuram is a museum and palace of South India, the history of which can be traced back to the 18th century. Built by Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, this palace was the foothold of the Travancore kingdom. Its architectural style consists of narrow corridors and dormer windows along with gabled roof and other areas, which is reminiscent of the classic architecture of South India.

    Currently, the palace is maintained and run by the Archaeological Department of Kerala and therefore, the palace has been converted into the museum. History enthusiasts and explorers will love this palace and its exhibits that originally belong to the Maharaja Marthanda Varma.

  • 04Alleppey Beach

    Image Credit : Wikimedia

    Glistening sands, crystal clear water, beautiful waves, enchanting sunrise and sunset is what makes the Alleppey or the Alappuzha beach one of the best places to visit in Alleppey. This stunningly beautiful beach is known for its vast, endless stretches, thereby proving as a getaway for couples as well as families.

    The remains of Alappuzha Sea Bridge also make it one of the most popular destinations for explorers, narrating the tales of those times when Alleppey was one of the most famous and important port destinations in the state of Kerala. The bridge was then used for passage of goods through ships.

    The beach has beautiful stretches, making the visit to this beach quite ecstatic and enjoyable. It is also in close proximity to several others places to visit, including the Vijay Park, which is a hub for couples and those who wish to enjoy some solitary time.

    The beach is also close to the Sea View Park, which offers an opportunity to enjoy and have fun through different types of boat rides. A picnic spot is located close-by, therefore families can enjoy a day off at the beach and picnic at that spot. Bishop’s House, another popular place of interest is also located close to Alleppey Beach.

    The beach is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the East,’ because of its romantic location and popularity among European countries. The beach is also unique because of its importance in the maritime history of Kerala. Alappuzha or Alleppey Beach has also served as a prime location for movies from South India.

  • 05St. Andrew's Basilica Arthunkal

    Located in Kumarakom, a district in the vicinity of Alleppey, this is one of the best destinations for those who wish to enjoy the perks of wildlife. Providing a rendezvous with the wild, this bird sanctuary is perhaps best known for its migratory birds and animals which make it a paradise for ornithologists.

    Set in Kerala’s backwaters, this bird sanctuary was initially built as a rubber plantation and then slowly turned into a sanctuary by an Englishman. Spread over 14 acres, this sanctuary is located on the Southern Bank of the Kavanar River, which serves as a hub for travellers from all over the world.

    This beautiful sanctuary is also known for its neighbouring areas, where explorers love to enjoy bird watching activities. The tropical climate of Kerala makes this sanctuary a heaven during the on-season months, wherein travellers can easily invigorate themselves with the beauty and greenery of the surroundings.

    World Wetlands Day is celebrated here with zeal and vigour. This is the day when the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation organises events and bird watching programmes for travellers. The main attractions at this sanctuary include cuckoo, waterfowl, cormorant, darter, owl, egret, heron, duck and Brahminy kite and Siberian Crane along with flycatcher, lark, parrot and teal, all of which migrate from all over the world, including Siberia.

  • 06Karumadi

    Image Credit : Wikimedia

    A village situated just a few kilometres from Alappuzha or Alleppey, Karumady or Karumadi is one of the places to visit in Alleppey that explorers would love. The place plays a pivotal role in the history and development of Buddhism as a religion and is perhaps best known for the black granite statue of Sri Buddha.

    What makes this statue even more alluring is the fact that the left hand side of this Sri Buddha Statue is missing. Several theories have been created regarding that missing hand and how it must have been either cut off or broken over a period of time.

    Many fascinating legends surround this statue of Buddha, who was known for his wisdom and philosophy. It is widely believed that the statue of Buddha is affectionate and has a number of magical or mystic powers.

    Several travellers, especially the ones who are gravely ill or have someone who is ill, come to this village and touch the feet of this Lord Buddha statue because is believed that the statue has healing powers which can be directly transferred to the healer or the victim.

    The place also has a wide range of local restaurants that any epicurean would love to try because of the use of indigenous spices and wide availability of different South Indian dishes and cuisines.

  • 07Marari Beach

    Image Credit : Wikipedia

    If you want to unwind completely, then the Marari Beach is a must-visit destination for you. The sleepy little village located close to the Marari Beach is what makes this beach distinct and attractive, inviting people from all over the world to learn and understand the culture of the Indian state of Kerala.

    This beautiful destination is known for being a beach symphony, thanks to its glistening sands and crystal clear waters. Watching sunrise and sunset here is quite a romantic experience that couples would love to enjoy. The place is rated as one of the World’s Top Five Hammock Beaches by the National Geographic Survey.

    The Marari Beach is known for providing unique experiences to the travellers. Taking them away from the modern life, this beach gives them an opportunity to unwind and to enjoy the different facets and bounties of life and nature.

    The village by the sea is one of the best places to visit in Alleppey where one can go to learn more about the culture and heritage of Kerala. Ecology is an important consideration at this beach and therefore travellers have to follow strict rules for keeping the beach and its surroundings pristine.

    The cuisine experience is memorable and several dishes from Kerala’s cuisine are provided at the restaurants and local eateries, which will surely soothe the palate of discerning customers. The beach also has vignettes close by and is a living space that anyone would love to enjoy.

  • 08Edathua Church

    This is a famous St. George’s Catholic Church which is located in Edathua, a place in the Alappuzha or Alleppey district of Kerala. The church is known for celebrating huge feasts during the month of May. The church is also popular for its Christian and non-Christian pilgrims. The Vicar of this Palli was Father Thoman Olakkapady.

    Currently, the church is located close to the Mahatma Gandhi University’s St. Aloysius College which is built and managed by the church. Since the church is located close to the below sea level area, therefore travellers can enjoy agricultural lands and rice farms that are seen separated through the rivers.

    The environs here are enchanting, with mud levees being used for separating runs which are nothing less than a highway or street that one would find in New York.

    A massive shrine at Edathua is located close by. The shrine features architecture similar to that of the churches in Medieval Europe. The church itself was built in 1st century AD and is said to be built by St. Thomas himself, who was a disciple of Jesus Christ. It is also believed that the church at that point of time served as a resting spot for traders and king’s men travelling by the river.

    The annual feast that is celebrated here starts on 27th of April and concludes on 7th of May. The feast sees St. George carried out, decked in golden coloured regalia. Special church prayers are sung and some of them even feature the Syrian dialect of Hebrew.

  • 09Pandavan Rock

    Image Credit : Wikimedia

    Deriving its name from the Pandavas in the epic Indian tale of Mahabharata, the Pandavan Rock is known for being one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. It is widely believed that this was the cave inside which the Pandavas stayed during the time of their exile.

    Currently, this beautiful rock serves as a backdrop for a picnic spot. Tourists are supposed to walk to the destination, but with family or friends, the walk becomes quite interesting and an incredible learning experience. Along the trails, travellers can easily enjoy the stunning views of hills and forests.

    During the walk, the popular Kallada Dam is also visible and people can take a small detour to enjoy the dam and these views.

    So, what are you waiting for? The destination of Alleppey has so many places of interest and it offers something to everyone. So, don’t wait! Start planning your trip and enjoy a wonderful, de-stressing and invigorating vacation with the backwaters, islands, palaces, museums and beaches of Alleppey. You can get here few exciting tour packages of Kerala.

  • 10Pathiramanal

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    Pathiramanal, which means “Sands of the Night”, is a small lake island located on the backwaters of Alappuzha in Lake Vembanad. It is a bird watcher’s paradise since it is supposed to hold approximately 91 local species of birds and 50 species of migratory birds. The location of the island is extremely scenic, making it a lovely space to observe birds and the water. It is also completely uninhabited so you don’t have to worry about the crowd and hawkers disrupting the beauty.

    However, because it is uninhabited and not a major tourist hotspot, you will find that it lacks the usual facilities that bring tourists comfort like benches in order to sit, restrooms, and places to buy food from. Let this not be a distraction since the island is very small and can be toured within an hour, which means that you won’t necessarily be inconvenienced by the lack of facilities, especially if you go prepared. The ride across Lake Vembanad is lovely as is the experience of walking through the island.

    If you happen to visit in the right season, you will find yourself surrounded by the chirpy sounds of thousands of birds. This certainly makes for one of the places to visit in Alleppey.

    Location: Alappuzha

  • 11St. Andrew's Forane Church

    Image Credit : Wikimedia

    Arthunkal St. Andrew's Forane Church, also known affectionately as just Arthunkal Church, is one of the most famous churches in Kerala and attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over the country. It is set on the shores of Alappuzha and the gentle echoes of the waves of the Arabian Sea pays a daily homage within its corridors. The Arthunkal Feast is celebrated for 11days and is one of the times the Church really comes alive.

    For 11 days from 10th January to 21st January, the Church hums with devotees who have come from all over the country to celebrate the St Sebastian’s Feast. On the last day of the feast, as per a special ritual, devotees crawl from the nearby beach, which is 0.5km away, all the way to the church. During this feast, people from all faiths converge to join in the festivities making it a jolly time to visit the city of Alappuzha.

    Even on other days, the Church is worth a visit. It is one of the oldest churches in Kerala and the solemn silence within its quiet building instills peace and good energies in visitors. You can also attend one of the early morning masses that take place here. Later, you can go for a walk on the beach and let the sea winds continue stoking the energy that the church instilled. The best part about the beach is that it is not rife with commercial activity so you can take a stroll here without being attacked by hawkers. And the sunsets here are phenomenal.

    Price:  Free Entry

    Timings: 06:00 am - 06:30 pm

    Location: 20km from Alleppey, in Alappuzha
  • 12Vembanad Lake

    Image Credit : Wikimedia

    This is one of the best places to visit in Alleppey that you absolutely cannot miss. Vembanad Lake is Kerala’s longest lake and is also among the largest in India. Several canals empty their water into the lake at several points along its wide expanse. Since it is a long lake, it covers many districts of Kerala and goes by different names in each district like Punnamada Lake in Kuttanad, Kochi Lake in Kochi.

    Many small islands dot its length. Boating in this lake is a great way to experience the backwaters of Kerala. The Kumarakom Tourist Village offers houseboat cruises and holiday packages which you can take advantage of and so have the best possible backwater boating experience on your trip. The lake is full of exciting possibilities- just imagine yourself floating on the lake early in the morning, sipping a hot cup of coffee and listening to the gentle lapping of the waves and chirping of birds. Now that is peace and happiness!

    And if you get a chance to go to this place during August, you will be in luck. The Annual Snake Boat Race or Vallam Kali takes place at this time and is a major attraction. The sight is amazing, to say the least. Do plan a houseboat trip on the lake while planning your Kerala itinerary.

    Location: Puthenangadi, Muhamma Panchayat, Alappuzha
  • 13Ambalapuzha Temple

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    Ambalapuzha Temple is one of the most rewarding places to visit in Alleppey. The temple is the oldest Krishna temples in Kerala and among the oldest in India too. The temple was built around 15th to 17th century AD and has been one of the strongholds of Krishna devotees for centuries. The temple has a lovely, soothing ambience which will calm you down and make you simply want to sit in the temple for hours on the end. 

    Since there is no entry fees and everyone is allowed to enter inside. Ambalapuzha Temple is also a favourite hangout spot  of foreigners. And it deserves all the attention it gets. The inner sanctum is decorated with paintings of Sri Krishna and the other incarnations of Lord Vishnu. A large mandapam outside is a great place to sit and absorb the atmosphere of the temple. Because of its importance in the Vaishnava tradition, the temple is also popularly considered to be the “Dwarka of the South”, which is a great distinction to confer on a place.

    When in the temple, don’t forget to have the famed sweet milk porridge- Palpayasam. Visitors love this prasad and it is actually counted among the attractions of the temple. An annual festival takes place in the month of March or April and it draws large crowd to the place. If your trip coincides with the ritual festival that takes place every 12 years and is performed by ‘sorcerers’, you are in luck. You get to participate in a rare cultural occurrence which has been around for centuries. In the earlier years, human sacrifice was a part of the tradition though it has now been replaced by a cock sacrifice.

    Timings: 3:00 AM to 12:00 PM, 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

    Location: Ambalappuzha, 14km from Alappuzha
  • 14Karumadikkuttan

    Image Credit : Wikimedia

    Karumadikkuttan is a major Buddhist tourist spots in Kerala. It is an ancient statue of Buddha, made of black granite stone and believed to have been sculpted by Buddhist monks visiting Alleppey around the 9th to 14th centuries AD. The statue is believed to have healing powers and it is a powerful mainstay of Buddhism in the region. As a result of these combined factors, the ancient statue draws a lot of crowd.

    Unfortunately, only half a side of the statue is  intact. Local rumours suggest that the other half was broken when an elephant ran into it. Nonetheless, the importance of the statue is such that it is under the care and protection of the Archaeological Survey of India. It is located in a small village, some kilometres away from Ambalappuzha which makes it convenient to reach. As it is open all day and night for pilgrims, you can easily plan a trip.

    Perhaps you could combine a visit to this statue of Buddha with your visit to the Ambalapuzzha Temple since both pilgrimage sites are located in the same area. After you’ve seen the statue, you could also explore the backwaters around the village.

    Location: Karumady, a village 3 km away from Ambalappuzha
  • 15Mannarasala Temple

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    This is one of the unique places to visit in Alleppey. Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple, as the name suggests, is a temple devoted to snakes. In fact, it is actually an important place of worship for the devotees of the serpent god or Nagaraja. The Mannarasala Temple is the biggest of its kind in Kerala and is considered to be a  powerful place of worship. Most snake temples are located deep inside forests, and Mannarasala is no different.

    It stands deep within the forest glade but this does not deter pilgrims. The temple witnesses a lot of people coming in daily; people who come to the temple in order to pray. Women who desire babies come here to pray for fertility. Once the wish comes true, the baby is brought to the temple and a ceremony felicitating the powers of Nagraja is held. The interiors of the temple are full of snake paintings.

    The temple is a great pilgrimage location for tourists; additionally, it gives some insight into the diversity of the culture and traditions of Kerala. There are legends relating to the foundation of Kerala which is intimately tied up with this temple. It is said to be the site where an appeased Nagaraja granted the penances of Parasurama and changed the death-like salinity of the soil of the land and turned it into a thriving green land.

    Timings: 5:00 AM - 12:00 PM (Till 1.00 PM on Sundays) & 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

    Location: Haripad
  • 16Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

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    Nothing gets better than a bird sanctuary located within the lush green lands of Kerala. Situated on the banks of the well-known Vemband Lake of Kerala in Kumarakom, this sanctuary is a favourite of both birds and bird-watchers. It is a beautiful place full of the chatter of birds from all parts of India and the world. As important as it is to visit the backwaters when in Kerala, it is equally important to visit some of the forests in the state which give it its awe-inspiring lush green landscape.

    What better way to do so than by stepping into Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary? You get to enjoy the tree scented air as well watch the many birds which flock this forest. And as an added bonus, you can enjoy the facilities set up in here by the Kerala Tourism Development Commission. They have set up an interpretation centre along with a large resort in the middle of the bird sanctuary. You can stop here for some informative insights into the birds and later taste some great Kerala cuisine in the resort.

    Price:  Rs.50/- (Indian); Rs.100/-(Foreigner)

    Timings:  6:30am-5pm

    Location: Kumarakom, Kottayam District of Kerala
  • 17Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race

    Held in the memory of Jawaharlal Nehru, this boat race is unlike any other boat racing activity you may have seen before. The Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race, also known as Vallam Kali, is an annual competition that takes place every August on a part of Lake Vembanad. It is one of the cultural highlights of the state, so plan your visit accordingly if it is your desire to see and experience this boat race.

    Unlike other boat racing events which have teams of 5 to 10 rowing furiously in silent concentration, this boat race has teams of at least 100 people, usually fishermen, who row together as they sing at the top of their voice. It is a wonderful experience to simply see the boats row past as you stand on the banks of the lake. The festival draws a lot of rush so you might want to reach the venue early to get a good viewing point.

    If you feel like exploring and being offbeat, you could actually scout for the perfect secluded spot to watch the race on the banks of the lake. Else, go for the tickets for the bamboo stands set up specially for the race. The race is called a snake boat race because of the shape of the boats- long and snake-like.

    These boats have existed for hundreds of years in Kerala and are an easily recognised cultural symbol. They were originally used to fight wars. But now, the boats are employed profitably in this interesting cultural entertainment.

    Location: Punnamada Backwaters in Alappuzha

  • 18Mullakal Bhagvathy Temple

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    Estimated to be almost 500 years old, this temple is a multi-faith site. All people, regardless of caste and creed, are welcomed here with open arms. This generates a benevolent atmosphere which creates positive vibes. The architecture of the building is typical old-style Kerala architecture with a beautiful pond and a profusion of jasmines surrounding the main building. It is an open-roof shrine.

    The main shrine is dedicated to Durga who is worshiped as Mullakal Devi, but there are other shrines belonging to Hanuman Swami, Lord Ganesha, Subramanya Swami, Nagaraja, Navagraha, Sree Krishna, and Lord Ayyappa along with a banyan tree where one finds the lingam of Lord Shiva. Many festivals are celebrated here which keep the compound constantly buzzing with activity. The biggest temple festival is celebrated from Mid-November to Mid-January for a duration of 41 days.

    This is the Mullakkal Chirappu Festival which is celebrated with great enthusiasm and the last 11 days are completely spell-binding. And the firework display at the end of the festival is truly the icing on the cake. It is one of the major attractions of the festival and people come from all over the country to witness it. The Navratri Festival is also celebrated on a grand scale. Hundreds of baby girls are given clothes and worshiped on this Durga festival. It is a pleasant sight to witness.

    Timings: 4.30 am to 10 am and 5pm to 8pm

    Location:  Mullakkal, Alappuzha
  • 19Kayamkulam Lake

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    Kayamkulam Lake used to be a lake, before the authorities decided to break the bar separating it from the Arabian Sea to build a fishing harbour. As a result, it is now a lagoon. It is a place full of activity including  fishing, races or other touristic activities. The aquatic life in this lagoon is very viable commercially, hence the popularity of the spot as a fishing ground. Alongside the fish, many birds also make themselves at home in the environs surrounding the waterbody.

    As far as tourist attractions go, there is plenty to do here especially after the Alappuzha Mega Tourism Project took it up for development. Expect a variety of activity zones here. You can use the Cycling Track or Recreation Room or lunch on the floating restaurant or pay a visit to the Tsunami Museum or the Adventure zone. The list of activities also includes visiting Boardwalk, View Point, Landscaping, Yard lighting, Houseboat Jetty and a waterway for boats, in short, everything is available here.

    A famous boat racing competition by the name of Kayamkulam Boat Race takes place here as well. If you are travelling to Kerala with children, do not forget to take them here. They will love it. The views of the Arabian Sea are also undoubtedly breathtaking. To view the wide expanse of ceaseless waves crashing on top of each other , will give you an experience to remember forever. Don’t forget to visit the Kuvamkulam Lake when in Kerala.

    Location: Between Panmana and Karthikapally
  • 20Vijaya Beach Park

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    Your trip to Kerala is incomplete without visiting at least one of its beaches. Vijaya Beach Park is the place to head to when looking for beach locations in Alleppey. This park is actually a children’s park on Alappuzha Beach managed by the Kerala Municipal Board. There are a variety of things you can do here and a good amount of facilities you can make use of to enjoy the beach experience better.

    If you are with children, let them have a go on the trains, slides and swings set up for them. There are rides for adults too. Excellent boating facilities are offered here too. A large variety of cultural programs are also enacted for the benefit of tourists and there are some entertaining events which you can take part in. The park also boasts of a video game area where your young ones can have fun.

    Though this park on the beach has a commercial feel to it, it does not mean that it has nothing to offer to those who don’t enjoy rides and games. You can always come here, rent a bike and go off on your own to explore the rest of the beach which is quieter than the area in and around Vijaya Beach Park. There is something for everyone here, making it a one of the convenient and fun destination.

    Price: Rs.150/- minimum entry card; Free entry for children below 12

    Timings: 3pm to 8pm

    Location: Alappuzha Beach

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