Built in the 9th century AD, Alleppey, called Alappuzha lies on the edge of the great Ashtamudi Lake. With the Arabian Sea on the west and a vast labyrinth of lakes, lagoons and several freshwater rivers criss-crossing it, Alappuzha is a district of immense natural beauty.
Related to the Venice of the East by travellers from around the world, this Backwater Country is also home to diverse range of animals and birds. It has always been honored a unique place in the maritime history of Kerala for its proximity to the sea. Alleppey has earned fame in the commercial world as the world's premier supplier of coir.
Today, Alleppey has emerged as a Backwater Tourist Centre, beckoning thousands of foreign tourists each year. Alleppey is also famous for its Boat races, Houseboat Holidays, Beaches, Marine Products and Coir Industry. Every year, during August-September, Alleppey wakes up to the pulsating Nehru Cup Snake Boat Race, a water sport unique to Kerala.
Alleppey is a tiny place located on a thin strip of land between the Arabian Sea and the Punnamada Backwaters. The place is fondly referred to as the Venice of East because of its striking similarity between the two with regards to intricate maze of backwaters, canals and bridges. In the east the canals open to the Punnamada Backwaters while on the west they end close to the pier of Alappuzha beach. Alleppey- once used to be the busiest coast south of Mumbai, and its canals and backwaters helped in the passage of cargo — be it tea, rubber or other produce from the hills — to the sea. The famous Alleppey Lighthouse still stands tall — a relic to the golden days. Today, the 1,000-foot-long pier, built in 1862 by Captain Hugh Crawford, is a mere skeleton of its past.
Traveling on a houseboat, through a quiet world of wind and water, with no noises but the swaying of the palm trees, the birds calling to each other and the sound of water splashing against the hull of your boat. Before you sleep at night, you can try to count the myriad stars in the clear sky above you, on the backwaters of Kerala. The waterways that connect the villages along the backwaters, reveal fascinating glimpses of village life in Kerala - you can see children running alongside, fields being ploughed and fishing eagles and cormorants diving for fish, as you drift along on a backwater cruise in Kerala. Most cruises are organized around Alleppey, Kuttanad and Kochi in Kerala.
Boat races are part and parcel of the rich traditional grandeur of Kerala.There are many kinds of boat races played out every year in Kerala backwaters; each one has its own story of origin with a lot of legendary tales and mythology attached. According to historical sources, boat races originated as a means to settle various disputes between the erstwhile kings and chieftains. Boat races have been an inherent part of temple festivities organised by religious communities. The Kerala snake boat races have been in existence since four hundred years, they were used for fighting wars in water by the ancient Kuttanadu Kings. The boat races are popularly called snake boat races due to the peculiar canoe shape of the boat. Different kinds of the boat races take place in different parts of Kerala.
St. Mary’s Church in Champakulam Alleppey established in AD 427 is one of the oldest Christian churches in India and the mother church of almost all Catholic Syrian churches in Alleppey District. It is a historic church which is under the archeparchy of Changanacherry. The church was renovated many times and around the church you will find many artifects and rock inscriptions . Champakulam church was once under Niranam Church, which was founded by the Apostle Saint Thomas himself.
The village of Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake and is part of the Kuttanad region. The bird sanctuary here, which is spread across 14 acres is a favourite haunt of migratory birds and an ornithologist's paradise. Egrets, darters, herons, teals, waterfowls, cuckoo, wild duck and migratory birds like the Siberian Stork visit here in flocks and are a fascination for the visitors. An enchanting backwater destination, Kumarakom offer visitors many other leisure options.
Pathiramanal is a small island in Muhamma panchayat of Alappuzha district. Pathiramanal, roughly translated as the 'mysterious sand of midnight', is a small beautiful island of tourist importance. It is situated in the centre of Vembanad lake . Pathiramanal is a haven for hundreds of rare birds migrating from different part of the world. Lies between Thanneermukkom and Kumarakom, it's a beautiful island in Kerala surrounded by the Vembanad Lake. This island is full of coconut trees and luxuriant vegetation. It is also home to a large flock of migratory birds.
The Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple is believed to have been built during 15th – 17th AD by the local ruler Chembakasserry Pooradam Thirunal-Devanarayanan Thampuran.The idol at Ambalapuzha is likened to Parthasarthi with a whip in the right hand and a Shankhu (sacred conch) in the left. This temple is directly associated to the Guruvayoor Sree Krishna Temple. During the raids of Tipu Sultan in 1789, the idol of Sri Krishna from the Guruvayoor Temple was brought to the Ambalappuzha Temple for safe keeping. The payasam served in the Ambalappuzha Temple is famous among Hindu devotees. This sweet pudding made of rice and milk has an interesting mythological legend behind it.It is believed that Guruvayoorappan reaches here daily at the time of Palpayasa Nedyam to have it.<
Marari beach also called Mararikulam beach, is located in the Alleppey District of Kerala State. What makes this beach a famous one is the blend of modernizations in preserving natural surroundings and the local environment, in addition to working with the community. Marari beach is a peaceful place in Kerala where you can relax and rejuvenate yourself. If you are looking for serenity on the deserted sandy beaches, then do visit here.