With the Arabian Sea on the west and a vast network of lakes,lagoons and fresh water rivers criss-crossing it, Alappuzha is a district of immense natural beauty, referred to as The Venice of the East by travelers from around 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 foreign tourists each year. Alappuzha is also famouse for its boat races, house boat holidays, beaches, marine products and coir industry. A singular characteristic of this land is the region called Kuttanad. A land of lush paddy fields, Kuttanad is called the Rice Bowl of Kerala and is one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea level.
Places to visit:
Kuttanad: Kuttanad, called ' The Rice Bowl of Kerala' because of her wealth of paddy crops, is 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 is perhaps the only region in the world where farming is done 1.5 to 2 m below sea level. In land waterways which flow above land level are an amizing feature of this region.
Alappuzha Beach: This is one of the most popular picnic spots in Alappuzha. The pier, which extends in to the sea here, is over 140 years old. Entertainment facilities at the Vijaya Beach park add to the attractions of the beach. There is also an old light house which is greatly fascinating to visitors.
House Boat: House boats in the backwaters of Kerala, especially in Alappuzha are becoming a unique feature of Kerala Tourism. They enable the nature loving tourists to live on waves, roming through the rivers and backwaters, enjoying the mutlifaceted scenes of the greenish beauty of the land.
Kettuvallams are large roomy canoes, which once used to transport spices, chillies, coconuts, coir, rice etc. to the big trading vassels waiting at Kochi harbour, as for the oarsman and his family. Today, these have been convereted into cozy yet eco-friendly houseboats which are perfect to explore the mesmerizing waterways of Kerala and observe the unhurried pace of kaleidoscopic everyday lice along her banks.
Pathiramanal: According to mythology a young brahmin dove in to the Vembanat lake to perform his evening abulutions and the water made way for land to rise from below, thus creating the enchanting island of Pathiramanal (sands of midnight). This little island on the backwaters is a favourite haunt of hundreds of rare migratory birds from different parts of the world.
Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Temple: Built in the typical Kerala architectural style, his temple is famous all over India for the Palpayasam, the daily offering of deliciously sweet milk porridge. It is also in the temple that Palliapana is performed by Velans once every twelve years. Paintings of the Dasavatharam are on display on the inner walls of the Chuttambalam. Ottanthullal,a satriric art from orginated by the poet Kunchan Nambiar, was first performed on the premises of this temple.
Boat Races: Alappuzha Nehru Trophy Boat Race at Punnamada (2nd Saturday of August), Chamakkulam Moolam Boat Rice ( Moolam day of Midhunam - July), Payippad Jalotsavam ( 4th Onam day) are famous.