Alleppey is a famous city in ‘God Own’s Country’ Kerala. Referred to as the “Venice of the East,” it is famed for its exotic backwaters interlocked by multitude lattice of canals, luxurious houseboats, emerald lagoons, splendid beaches, natural verdant beauty and lush paddy fields. Tourists from all over the world flock over to relax and enjoy the backwaters whilst experiencing staying in a houseboat, soaking in the mesmerizing beauty and rejuvenating at the ayurvedic and wellness spas.
The backwaters and Houseboats
With its labyrinth of serene streams with mild waves, crisscrossing network of canals and scenic natural beauty of dense greenery, lush green paddy fields and coconut groves, the backwaters are aptly titles as the ‘Venice of the East’ and is a sight to behold. The best way to explore the backwaters is by cruising and staying on a luxurious houseboat that is manned by a cook, guide and oarsman. It is an enchanting experience of overlooking the waters on an open deck, viewing the dazzling sunrise and sunset with beautiful birds adorning the sky and star gazing at night.
The Alleppey Beach is a riveting beach with sparkling sand, crystal clear azure waters with soft waves, 150-year-old vast pier stretching out into the sea, dense palm groves and scenic views. It is a popular spot for picnicking and engaging in fun activities such as parasailing, surfing, volleyball etc. The Vijaya park which is a children’s park, Sea View Park for boat rides and the ancient lighthouse add to the charm of the beach and makes it a perfect locale for a family outing.
The Marari Beach is an idyllic tranquil beach perfect for peace, relaxation and unwinding. Situated 11km from Alleppey in a quaint town of Maraikulam, it comprises of glimmering golden sand, calm turquoise water and coconut trees with mesmerizing views of sunrise and
sunset. One can take a stroll along the shore, relax under the shade of the towering trees or engage in thrilling water sports such as swimming, parasailing, water-skiing, deep-sea fishing, surfing and boat cruising the backwaters. The beach is rated as one of the World’s Top Five Hammock Beaches by the National Geographic Survey and is popular especially with honeymooning couples.
Located at a distance of 47km from Alleppey, Krishnapuram palace is a magnificent palace and a museum perched on the top of a hill and is surrounded by a beautifully manicured terraced garden with fountains, ponds and a newly erected chamber housing the statue of Buddha. Built in the 18th century by the erstwhile Travancore king Marthanda Varma Maharaja, it comprises of gabled roof, dormer windows and narrow corridors and is reminiscent of conventional rare Kerala styled architecture. The palace has an archaeological museum resplendent with antiques, sculptures, coins, weapons, artifacts in bronze, stone inscriptions, murals, exquisite paintings and a bible in Sanskrit dating back to 1886. A major attraction is the exquisite mural painting depicting the story of Gagendra Moksham which is the largest in all of Kerala. The mural is 14 by 11 feet and covers an area of around 53 square feet and has a rich historical value attached to it. The double-edged sword Kayamkulam Vaal can also be found here. The Krishnapuram Palace is currently maintained by the Archaeological Department of Kerala and was recently renovated in accordance with the scientific techniques that are prescribed for the protection of heritage buildings.
St. Mary’s Forane Church
The St. Mary’s Forane Church also known as Champakulam Kalloorkadu Marth is one of the oldest and magnificent Catholic Syrian Church built in 427 AD in Champakullam, on the banks of river Pamba with beautiful views of the backwaters flowing adjacent to it. The ancient Syro- Malabar church under the Archeparchy of Changanacherry is popular for its marvelous architecture, magnificent sculptures, stunning murals, baroque rock inscriptions and ancient artefacts of Portuguese influence in its traditional designs. Legend has it that the church was founded by St. Thomas, the Apostle himself.
Karumadi is a small village near Alleppey that allures tourists from all over the world to see the half broken black quartz statue of Lord Buddha dating back to 10th century. Several fascinating legends are associated with the statue and many believe that it possesses mystical powers to cure diseases and my touching it’s feet, the healing power gets transferred and heals the person. Such is the aura of the statue and is a must visit Buddhist pilgrimage site for devotees and tourists alike.
Vembanad Lake and Pathiramanal
The second largest lake in the country, Vembanad lake is famous for its tranquil pristine backwaters and splendid surroundings. The beautiful lagoon can be explored by indulging in a day or night boating excursion or staying in a houseboat. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary located on the coast of the lake is a treat for nature enthusiasts and bird watchers. One can find a large population of Waterfowl along with other birds such as owls, cuckoos, brahminy kite, flycatcher, egret, lark, Siberian Crane Heron, parrots etc.
Pathiramanal, which means “Sands of the Night”, is a tiny island located in Lake Vembanad and boasts of a pristine and unadulterated verdant landscape. The islet is a bird watchers’ paradise as it’s a haven for approximately rare and endangered 91 local species of birds and 50 species of migratory birds that hover in the sky enhancing the beautiful and joyous experience.
The best time to visit Alleppey is between August to March when the weather is more pleasant to indulge in the outdoor experiences.
A perfect getaway for relaxation and rejuvenation by experiencing the backwaters and overnight stay in the houseboat and soaking in the breathtaking beauty.
Flight: The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, Kochi located at a distance of 75 km. A cab can be hired from there directly to reach Alleppey.
Train: The main station is the Alleppey Railway station and is well connected to various cities across the country such as Trivandrum, Chennai, Bangalore, New Delhi, and Cochin. A cab can be hired from there to reach the main city.
Road: Several private and state buses ply from major cities to Alleppey. Private car and taxi can also be hired.