With the Arabian Sea on the west and a vast network of lakes, lagoons and fresh water rivers crisscrossing it, Alappuzha is a district of immense and natural beauty. Referred to as the Venice of the east by travellers from across the world, this backwater country is also home to diverse animal and bird life. By virtue of its proximity to the sea, the town has always enjoyed a unique place in the maritime history of Kerala.Today Alappuzha has grown in importance as a backwater tourist centre, attracting several thousands of tourists each year. Alappuzha is also famous for its boat races, houseboat holidays, beaches, marine products, and coir industry. A singular characteristic of this land is a region called Kuttanad. A land of lush paddy fields, Kuttanad is also called the Rice Bowl of Kerala and is one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea level.
The 18th century Krishnapuram Palace built during the reign of the Travancore monarch, Marthanda Varma, is a double storied structure which displays typical characteristics of Kerala architecture-gabled roofs, dormar windows, narrow corridors. It houses one of the largest mural paintings in Kerala called the Gajendra Moksham. It measures14 feet by 11 feet and is at the western end of the ground floor, a walking distance from the Palace Pool. Inside is also a museum of antique sculptures, paintings and bronzes. Situated 47 kms from Alappuzha on the way to Kollam, Krishnapuram is easily accessible by bus from either town.
Ambalappuzha ( Pilgrim Centre)
The Sri Krishna Temple at Ambalapuzha, 14 kms from Alleppey is among Kerala's more famous ones boasting of the typical temple architectural style of the state. It is equally famed for its palpayasam - a sweet milk porridge offered to the diety. The temple's main festival occurs in March/April. It was in this temple that the 16th century poet Kunjan Nambiar staged his first Ottan Thullal, a solo dance performance with high social content.
Close to the Ambalappuzha. the village of Karumadi is famous for its Karumadi Kuttan, a black granite figure of Buddha said to belong to the 9th or 10th century
A short distance from Alappuzha is Punnapra, a village which has gone down in history as the scene of a bitter and heroic fighting between the communists and Travancore State Police in the Punnapra Vayalar Communist uprising of 1946.These are the memorial of the martyrs located in Alappuzha near Kalarcode.
Pathiramanal (An Island)
This is a small beautiful island in the Vembanad Lake and is accessible only by boat from Kumarakom and Muhamma.
Kuttanad, is called the rice bowl of Kerala because of its wealth of paddy crops. It lies at the very heart of the backwaters. The scenic countryside of Kuttanad with its shimmering waterways also has a rich crop of banana, cassava and yam. This perhaps the only region in the worked where farming is done 1.5 to 2 ms. below sea level. Inland waterways which flow above land level are an amazing feature of this region.
Vijaya Beach Park
Picnic spot with children's park & boating facilities (Open 15.00-20.00 hrs). Entrance fee Rs. 2 per person; Free entrance for children below 5 years. Boating charge: Rs.10 for 10 minutes. Other facilities for children: Toy train, bicycles. Video permit Rs. 25, Camera permit: Rs. 5 respectively Ph: 242960
Sea View Park
The park offers boating facilities and a swimming pool. Boat rentals for 10 minutes: Round boat (4 seater): Rs. 10. Pedalboat (2 seater): Rs. 15. Pedalboat (4 seater): Rs. 25. Video permit Rs. 15, Camera permit Rs. 100 respectively.
Chavara Bhavan (6 kms. from Alappuzha, accessible only by boat) is the ancestral home of the blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara. It is now a holy shrine and spiritual resort where thousands of devotees gather for prayer, receive favours and feel amply gratified. Here, a 250 year old historically important beacon of light is preserved intact in its original and primitive form.
This is one of the most popular picnic spots in Alappuzha. The pier, which extends into the sea here, is over 137 years old. Entertainment facilities at the Vijaya beach park add to the attractions of the beach. There is also an old lighthouse which is greatly fascination to visitors.
Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Temple
15 kms. south of Alappuzha, built in the typical Kerala architectural style, this temple is famous all over India for the Palapayasam, the daily offering of deliciously sweet milk porridge. It is also in this temple that Palipana is performed by Velans (sorceres) once every twelve years. Paintings of the Dasavatharam (the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu) are on display on the inner walls of the Chuttambalam. Ottan thullal, a satiric art form originated by the poet Kunchan Nambiar, was first performed on the premises of this temple.
22 kms. north of Alappuzha, the St. Sebastian's Church is an important Christian pilgrim centre. Annual festival - Arthunkal Perunnal - the feast of the patron saint. (January).
Situated 24 kms. away from Alappuzha, on the Alappuzha - Thiruvalla Road. Established in 1810, the church is dedicated to St. George. It is believed that prayers and offerings at this church help to heal all mental disorders and other ailments. During the annual feast (5th, 6th, 7th of May) pilgrims from all parts of South India, irrespective of caste and creed, visit the church and seek the blessings of the saint.
Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple
32 kms. south of Alappuzha situated near Harippad, this is a serpent shrine under the patronage of a 'Brahman' family, headed by a priestess. The ancient shrine is an internationally renowned pilgrim centre dedicated to the Serpent God Nagaraja. Sarpa Yakshi and Naga Yakshi are the beloved consorts of Nagaraja. It is believed that Nagaraja as the installed deity is endowed with the form of Hari (Lord Vishnu) and the spirit of Lord Shiva. Legend has it that the first priestess of Mannarasala gave birth to a five-headed snake, which is believed to reside in the ancestral house to safeguard the family. At Mannarasala barren women are believed to be blessed with children and a special turmeric paste available at the shrine is credited with powers to cure even leprosy.
Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple
The Kettukazhcha festival at this temple draws large crowds of devotees. Processions of all decorated structures on chariots, brightly decorated effigies of horses and bullocks and cultural performances make a spectacular pageant. (Festival - February / March).