Located in the heart of the slithering backwaters of Kerala, Alleppey or Alappuzha is often termed the “Venice of the East”. The town is among the oldest planned towns in India and is famous for its several backwater canals, beaches, paddy fields and lagoons. Alleppey is iconic for its houseboats cruises in the backwaters and attracts thousands of visitors each year. With the Laccadive Sea on its west Alleppey is blessed with an abundance of natural flora and fauna and the backwaters and the wetlands make it rich in marine life and resident and migratory avi fauna. Alleppey is also a cultural hub in Kerala since the early Sangam Era (3rd Century BC – 4th Century AD) and was a stronghold of the Chera Kingdom and had trade relations with the Greek and Romans. Alleppey was also one of the spots where St. Thomas the Apostle built the Churches. Here’s the list of the best places to visit in Alleppey.
1. Alleppey Beach
The iconic Alleppey beach is the perfect place to relax on a quiet and subtle evening. The waters of the Arabian Sea look majestic from the white sandy shores. If lucky, one can also view the dolphins from the beach. Nevertheless, the waters are not safe for swimming due to the strong currents especially during the monsoons.
Karumadikkuttan refers to the local name for the 9th century black granite statue of Buddha found abandoned at a nearby stream called Karumady thodu. The Statue is unfortunately missing its entire left half but has now been conserved by the Kerala State Government.
3. Marari Beach
Located almost 11 kilometers from Alleppey, Marari Beach is famous for its Ayurvedic centers and stylish beach resorts. The Shoreline is covered with long rows of coconut trees and is a great place to tie a hammock and spend the afternoon beside the clean and calm waters.
4. Kerala Backwaters
Giving Alleppey the moniker ‘The Venice of the East’, Kerala backwater canals attract thousands of tourists to Alleppey each year. The snake boat races and the houseboat cruises are a must do activity in Alleppey. Owing to its rich bird and marine life, the backwaters are the best place to try some extravagant seafood.
5. Vembanad Lake
The longest Lake in India and the largest lake in Kerala, the Vembanad Lake is known by the name Punnamada Lake in Alleppey. The lake covers an area of 2033.02 sq km, making the largest wetland system in India. The lake enjoys rich biodiversity and is home to several marine, bird and animal species. The lake is also home to the annual snake boat racing which must be witnessed.
6. Mannarasala Temple
Located amidst lush green surroundings, the Mannarasala Temple is dedicated to the Hindu deity Nagaraja. While the origins of the temple are shrouded with Hindu legends, it is one of the major pilgrim spots with a typical Kerala temple architecture. The amazing architecture and the 30,000 images of various mythical snakes, makes it a must visit spot.
7. Mullakkal Bhagavathy Temple
Dedicated to Goddess Rajarajeswari a form of the Hindu deity Shakti, the Mullakkal Bhagavathy Temple is built in a style that distinguishes it from the other temples in Kerala. The roof is absent over the image of the deity and it also contains an elephant house. The temple is a unique architectural marvel which must be visited.
8. Krishnapuram Palace
The iconic Travancore style castle, The Krishnapuram Palace was built by Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma in the 18th century. Today the palace is a major tourist attraction and also contains a small museum maintained by the Archeological department of Kerala. Do visit for witnessing the breathtaking Kerala style architecture and several antiquities from the Travancore era.
Alleppey is one of the major cities that are located in the Kerala Backwaters. Its lush green surroundings, friendly people, rich abundance of marine, bird and animal life make it a prime tourist destination in Kerala. The above-mentioned places are a must visit to experience the natural beauty and culture of Alleppey.
Other Major Tourist Destinations In Kerala: