Alappuzha, or Alleppey, as the world has come to call, is the land cradled amidst the glorious Backwaters of Kerala, southern India. Alleppey proudly wears the title of ‘‘Venice of the East”, which is more than justified by its web of rivers, interspersed with meandering canals. The bustling city is a mix of colonial buildings, surrounded by rice fields. Apart from being a merchant gateway, it is also historically prominent for its classical literature and cultural exchanges with the west. However, backwater tourism remains the main attraction here, with houseboats flocking the many waterways and channels. Alleppey is well connected by road, rail, and air. While Cochin International Airport is 78 km away, the district has its own railhead too. The waterways make for conveyance too, as an SWTD (State Water Transport Department) boat jetty rests just opposite the bus station.
Major Attractions :
● Temple Festivals - When in Alleppey, enquire about the festival schedule and keep an eye out for the glorious Kuthiyottam* procession. If visiting in December, Chirappu Mahotsavam* in Mullackal Temple is a sight to behold.
● Snake Boat Races - If you don’t mind the monsoons, experience the Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race in August. A competition boat can carry up to 100 persons and tourists can rent separate boats to get closer to action.
● Boat Rides - Float through the lagoons enjoying the picturesque surroundings - either by spending a day on a houseboat, or taking a short ride on a smaller boat called shikara.
● Karumadi Kuttan - Check out the ancient Buddha statue, made of black granite, which dates back to the 9th century. It is protected by the Archeological Survey of India.
When To Visit :
Given its maritime geography, the weather in Alleppey is particularly enjoyable. The temperatures remain pleasant, never exceeding 35 degrees or falling below 20 degrees Celsius. The best time to visit would be September to March. While the summers are good for backwater exploration, winters attract honeymooners and beach bouncers. With monsoon tourism gathering moss, June to August is a fine time as well.
Indian Terms Explained :
Kuthiyottam- A ritualistic, symbolic presentation of human sacrifice.
Chirappu Mahotsavam- An annual festival celebrated in the Puzhakkarakavu Devi Temple, Kerala.
Panchavadyam- A temple art form in Kerala, literally meaning an orchestra of five instruments.
Vallam Kali- Translated this means snake boat race, and is the most interesting facet of the Onam festival in Kerala.