“Travelling in Kerala is as easy and rewarding as a glide through its backwaters.” -Amy Karafin
Alappuzha , also known as Alleppey, is the administrative headquarters of Alappuzha District of Kerala state of southern India. It is the sixth largest city in Kerala. It is one of the most important tourist centers in the state. Often referred to as the “Venice of the East”, it comprises of a large network of inland canals that provide it a lifeline. Owing to its proximity to the sea, the climate of Alappuzha is humid and hot during the summer, although it remains fairly cool and pleasant during the months of October and November. The city experiences a long monsoon season with heavy showers as both the Southwest monsoon and Northeast monsoon influences the weather of Alappuzha. Holding possession of one of the best known ports along the Malabar coast, Alleppey was one of the busiest trading centres in the past. Infact, even today it possesses command over coir carpet industries and prawn farming. Because of its extensive system of inland canals, it is distinctly recognised for its backwater tourism. It connects Kumarakom and Cochin to the North and Quilon to the South. A Alleppey houseboat cruise in these backwaters is a delightful experience.
Kettuvalloms or Houseboats (Riceboats) are country boats that were used in the early days for the transport of goods from the isolated interior villages to the towns. This aspect diminished with the advent of roads, bridges, ferries and better and improved means of transportation. But these houseboats were commercialised to form a major tourist attraction for the city, for the state. A ride on a Kettuvallom is a fabulous way to explore the fascinating beauty of the backwaters. A house boat is about 67 feet in length and has a width of around 13 feet in the middle. The main wood used in making one is “Anjili”. Other materials are also local and eco friendly. The house boats have fully furnished single and double rooms with sundeck, private balcony with comfortable chairs, kitchen and toilet with WC. The crew, that includes a chef and two oarsmen, gets a separate room/ space for themselves. A glide in a “Kettuvallam” (Houseboat) through the enchanting backwaters of Alleppey is sure to rob your heart.
Alleppey is also known for its spectacular snake – boat races held on the second Saturday of August, every year. The competition (the Nehru boat race) takes its name from India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who inaugurated it in 1952. The atmosphere is filled with roars of excitement when snake boats, each manned by over a hundred oarsmen cut through the waters like wind.
Few other touristic attractions would be Ambalapuzha, Karumadikkuttan and Champakulam. Situated 3 km east of Ambalapuzha, Karumadikkuttan is known for its 10th century Karumadikkuttan statue, a black granite figure of the great Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. Champakulam is the water logged village that is home to The St. Mary Forane Church built in 427 A D.
Kerala abounds scenic, rejuvenating wonders. You just need to pack your bags in order to explore and enjoy!