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ALLEPPEY

ALLEPPEY (Alappuzha): With the Arabian Sea on the west and a vast network of lakes, lagoons and fresh water rivers crisscrossing it, Alappuzha is a district of immense natural beauty. Referred to as the Venice of the East by travellers from across 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.


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Allappuzha has grown in importance as a backwater tourist centre, attracting several thousands of foreign tourists each year. Alappuzha is also famous for its boat races, houseboat 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.

KUTTANAD: "Kuttanad" in Alappuzha (Alleppey) is one of few places in the world where farming is done below sea level. Kuttanad is a land of lush paddy fields and is called the 'Rice Bowl' of Kerela. Kuttanad stretches for 75 Km sandwiched between the sea and the hills. Kuttanad is the most beautiful backwaters region of Kerala. It is here that most of the snake boat races are conducted and a majority of the rice boat & houseboat cruises are scheduled. Kerala's network of navigable backwaters stretches to over 900km. These serene waterways are fringed by palm grove and paddy fields and offer a striking spectacle of the rustic life. Situated in Kuttanad popularly known as the rice bowl of Kerala, QST & R Block Kayals (backwaters) remind the visitor of the famous dikes of Holland. A striking example of the indigenous agricultural engineering know-how, here cultivation and habitation are made possible at four to ten feet below the sea level. For this purpose extensive land has been reclaimed from the backwaters and is protected by dikes built around it. A leisurely cruise along the canals here is a memorable experience

THE VIJAYA BEACH PARK:
Picnic spot with children's park & boating facilities (Open 1500 - 2000 hrs). Entrance fee: Rs. 2 per person; Free entrance for children below 5 years. Boating charge: Rs. 10 for 10 minutes. Other facilities for children: Toy train, bicycles. Video permit: Rs. 25, Camera permit: Rs. 5 respectively SEA VIEW PARK: The park offers boating facilities and a swimming pool. Boat rentals for 10 minutes: Round boat (4 seater) Pedal boat (2 seater), Pedal boat (4 seater) etc..

MANNARSALA SREE NAGARAJA TEMPLE:
(32 km south of Alappuzha) Situated near Harippad, this is a serpent shrine under the patronage of a brahmin family, headed by a priestess. The ancient shrine is an internationally renowned pilgrim centre dedicated to the Serpent God Nagaraja. Sarpa Yakshi and Naga Yakshi are the beloved consorts of Nagaraja. It is believed that Nagaraja as the installed diety is endowed with the form of Hari (Lord Vishnu) and the spirit of Lord Shiva. Legend has it that the first priestess of Mannarasala gave birth to a five-headed snake, which is believed to reside in the ancestral house to safeguard the family. At Mannarasala barren women are believed to be blessed with children and a special turmeric paste available at the shrine is credited with powers to cure even leprosy.

CHAVARA BHAVAN:
(6 km from Alappuzha. Accessible only by boat): Chavara Bhavan is the ancestral home of the blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara. It is now a holy shrine and spiritual resort where thousands of devotees gather for prayer, receive favours and feel amply gratified. Here, a 250 year old historically important beacon of light is preserved intact in its original and primitive form.

KARUMADIKUTTAN: (3km east of Ambalapuzha): Many fascinating legends are associated with this 11th century statue of Lord Buddha

AMBALAPPUZHA SREE KRISHNA TEMPLE: (15 km south of Alappuzha)Built in the typical Kerala architectural style, this temple is famous all over India for the Palpayasam, the daily offering of deliciously sweet milk porridge.

It is also in this temple that Pallipana is performed by Velans (sorcerers) once every twelve years. Paintings of the Dasavatharam (the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu) are on display on the inner walls of the Chuttambalam. Ottanthullal, a satiric art form originated by the poet Kunchan Nambiar, was first performed on the premises of this temple.

EDATHUA CHURCH:
(24 km from Alappuzha, on the Alappuzha - Thiruvalla Road)Established in 1810, the church is dedicated to St. George. It is believed that prayers and offerings at this church help to heal all mental disorders and other ailments.

During the annual feast (5th, 6th and 7th of May) pilgrims from all parts of South India, irrespective of caste and creed, visit the church and seek the blessings of the saint.

ARTHUNKAL CHURCH:
Arthunkal known for the St. Andrews Church established by Portuguese missionaries is near Sherthallai, 22 km north of Alappuzha.The feast of St. Sebastian is held here in every January

CHETTIKULANGARA BHAGAVATHY TEMPLE, MAVELIKKARA:
The Kettukazhcha festival at this temple draws large crowds of devotees. Processions of tall decorated structures on chariots, brightly decorated effigies of horses and bullocks and cultural performances make a spectacular pageant. (Festival - February/March)

PATHIRAMANAL ISLAND (Backwater): This little island on the backwaters is a favourite haunt of hundreds of rare migratory birds from different parts of the world. The island is accessible only by boat.

ALAPPUZHA – Aquatourism:
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 travellers from across 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 famous for its boat races, houseboat holidays, beaches, marine products and coir industry. A singular characteristic of this land is the region called Kuttanad.
BOAT RACE: Alappuzha Nehru Trophy Boat Race at Punnamada (2nd Saturday of August) Alappuzha Tourism Boat Race (9th January) Pulinkunnu Rajiv Gandhi Boat Race (last Saturday of August) Champakulam Moolam Boat Race (Moolam day of Midhunam - July) Payippad Jalotsavam (4th Onam day - August/September) Neerettupuram Boat Race (Onam - August/September).

Q S T & R BLOCK KAYAL: Situated in Kuttanad popularly known as the rice bowl of Kerala, QST & R Block Kayals (backwaters) remind the visitor of the famous dikes of Holland.A striking example of the indigenous agricultural engineering know-how,here cultivation and habitation are made possible at four to ten feet below the sea level. For this purpose extensive land has been reclaimed from the backwaters and is protected by dikes built around it.A leisurely cruise along the canals here is a memorable experience. Kuttanad is the most beautiful backwaters region of Kerala. It is here that
most of the snake boat races are conducted and a majority of the rice boat & houseboat cruises are scheduled. Keralas network of navigable backwaters stretches to over 900km. These serene waterways are fringed by palm grove and paddy fields and offer a striking spectacle of the rustic life.
Getting There: QST & R Block Kayals are accessible by boat from Alappuzha ( 1.30 hrs by motor boat and 30 minutes by speedboat.)

CHAMPAKULAM CHURCH: One of the oldest churches in Kerala, the St. Mary's Church is believed to be one of the seven established by St. Thomas. The annual feast at this church falls on the 3rd Sunday of October every year. The feast of St. Joseph is celebrated on March 19th.

KRISHNAPURAM PALACE: He 18th century Krishnapuram Palace built during the reign of the Travancore monarch, Marthanda Varma, is a double storied structure which displays typical characteristics of Kerala architecture-gabled roofs, dormar windows, narrow corridors. It houses one of the largest mural paintings in Kerala called the Gajendra Moksham. It measures14 feet by 11 feet and is at the western end of the ground floor, a walking distance from the Palace Pool. Inside is also a museum of antique sculptures, paintings and bronzes. Situated 47 kms from Alappuzha on the way to Kollam, Krishnapuram is easily accessible by bus from either town

ALLEPPEY BEACH: (5 Kms from Town) Referred to as the Venice of the East, Alappuzha has always enjoyed a unique place in the maritime history of Kerala. Today, it is famous for its boat races, backwater holidays, beaches, marine products and coir industry. Alappuzha beach is a popular picnic spot. The pier, which extends into the sea here, is over 137 years old. Entertainment facilities at the Vijaya Beach Park add to the attraction of the beach. There is also an old lighthouse nearby which is greatly fascinating to visitors.

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