Alappuzha - Kerala Tourist Spot
Alappuzha, the Venice of the East, is a district beautifully placed between the Arabian Sea and the Vembanad Kayal.The midland is bed of the famous river Pamba and also enjoys a special place among the different tourist spots of Kerala as it hosts not one but two celebrated boat races- 'Moolam Vallamkali' at Champakkulam and 'Nehru Trophy Vallam Kali' at Punnamadakayal. The place is also historically important as it has been the capital of the ancient Chempakassery kingdom. What makes the place even more attractive is that it is the connection link of Kottayam- Kochi- Kollam backwaters. Alappuzha that boasts of being home to the oldest Sri Krishna temple.The famous St. George Church has been erected and is one of the best known Christian pilgrim centers of India. There is even a famous statue of Buddha (assembled in the 11th century). The many temples and churches that flourish side by side depict the city as a perfect instance of religious harmony!
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A few hours off at the lovely beach at Alappuzha Beach is an exhilarating experience you should not miss. Along the sandy stretch one can find sea piers that are over a hundred years old. There is also a huge light houses in the beach. The amazing Vijaya Beach Park and the Sea View Park are other attractions in close vicinity.
Arthunkal St. Andrew's Church
The Arthunkal St. Andrew's Church is one of the famous Christian houses of worship in the district. There is a grand feast organized by the church authorities every January in memory of St. Sebastian.
Kuttanad has become synonymous with the word backwaters, and so is a must visit spot when one plans a holiday to Kerala- the land that is much known for its marvelous backwaters. Along the coast of the vast expanse of lakes, canals, rivers that cover most of Kuttanad, one can observe nuances of rural Kerala life styles.
The acres of well maintained paddy field in Kuttanad, a place several feet below sea level, adds more greenery to the perfect picture the place showcases.
This place is famous for the temple at Champakulam. Still better known is the fantastic celebration at the temple every year. An interesting procession of elegant water floats and boats decked with colourful parasols carrying idols of the deity moves about the water surface. People also render performances on these boats. Boat races are also held in connection with the celebration. Most famous is the Champakulam Moolam Boat Race- the oldest snake boat race in Kerala. The annual boat race is held in June-July.
Mannarssala - (15 kms north of Krishnapuram Palace, and 32 km before Alappuzha)
Mannarssala has a sacred place among those who believe in the powers of Nagaraja or the serpent king. It is also faintly mentioned in the great epic, the Mahabharata.. The temple here is one of the most revered sites for snake worship in Kerala. Some families even today worship the snake god and perform special rituals for them.
The temple complex encompasses many shrines, each built in typical Kerala style; and there are numerous skillfully crafted idols of different snakes, the snake king and his queen.
The annual festival in the month of Thulam (October/ November), the related preparation and grand celebrations all present a vibrant picture. The majestic processions, the offerings and special prayers are feast for the eye. There is also 'vedikketu' or fireworks that add to the life and vividness of the festivity.
Nehru Trophy Boat Race, the annual water carnival at Punnamada Lake, is considered the biggest snake boat race in the world. The colourful boat pageantry which precedes the boat race is a marvellous treat to the eyes. The snakeboats with a length of 30 to 60 metres and with 100 to 150 oarsmen plough the waters with the rhythm and symbols to the tune of the legendary songs. The Nehru Trophy was instituted by the late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who was enthralled by the charm and gaiety of the water carnival. The boat race attracts a large number of tourists, domestic and foreign.
In addition to this the boat races at Payippad, Thiruvanvandoor, Neerettupuram, Karuvatta and Thykkoottam are quite famous.
Alappuzha is a great centre of fisheries. 'Chakara' a rare marine phenomenon in which a large number of fish throng together in the early days of May to August is a peculiarity of Purakkad, one of the main fishing centres on the coast of the Arabian Sea. This is in fact a fishermen's fiesta.
The district is the major centre of coir and allied products. There are about 4000 production units including a few big factories with mechanized looms. Alappuzha retains monopoly in coir production and exports.
Amabalappuzha Sreekrishna Temple on the Kollam-Alappuzha Highway is called the Dwaraka of the South. It is frequented by thousands of devotees especially during the annual festival which falls in April every year.
'Ambalappuzha palpayasam' the devotional delicacy of the temple, is renowned for its unique taste.
Ambalappuzha is also famous for the traditional visual martial art of Kerala, Velakali.
Karumadi, three Kms. east of Ambalappuzha, has a statue of Buddha called Karumadikuttan, a perennial source of interest for the tourists.
The beautiful monument of Krishnapuram Palace, the St. George Church at Edathua and the holy shrine- Chavara Bhavan are other attractions.
Air: Nearest international airports are at Thiruvananthapuram (150 km from Alappuzha) and Kochi (Nedumbassery - 85 km from Alappuzha).
Rail: Alappuzha has its own railway station.
Road: Well connected to major cities.