Alappuzha, traditionally known as Alleppey, is a town in Alappuzha District of Kerala state of southern India. A town with picturesque canals, backwaters, beaches, and lagoons, it was described as the one of the places known as Venice of the East by Marco Polo (1292). It is the administrative headquarters of Alappuzha District. Though the present town owes its existence to the sagacious Diwan Raja Kesavadas in the second half of 18th century, district of Alappuzha figures in classical Literature. Kuttanad, the rice bowl of Kerala with the unending stretch of paddy fields, small streams and canals with lush green coconut palms, was well known even from the early periods of the Sangam age.
Alappuzha beach is one of the most popular spots in the district of Alappuzha. Its beautiful garden on the shore gives an exclusive sight. Imposing buildings of a colonial past overlook the shore. The pier, which extends into the sea is more than 140 years old and is a rare sight. Dense Palm groves at one end and an ancient towering light house at the other, Vijay Park and Sea view park are all spectacular sights one should never miss. Boating Facility is available in both Parks.
Backwater Cruise :
View the landscape beauty , monuments, temples,churches and industries of Alappuzha by cruising through its rivers,canals and backwaters.The starting point is from Alleppey and the finishing point is at Jetty .
Boat Races :
Alappuzha district is proud of being the cradle of boat races. All the important boat races, namely the Nehru Trophy boat Race at Punnamada, the Payippad near Haripad, the Thiruvandoor, Neerettupuram, Karuvatta and Thaikkoottam boat races are held at different parts of the district during August-September . Thousands of people from all parts of the world come and witness these races.
Krishnapuram Palace :
Located at a distance of 47 km from Alappuzha on the way to Kollam, this palace was built in the 18th century during the reign of Marthanda Varma. This palace is noted for its typical Kerala architecture, with gabled roof, dormer windows and narrow corridors. Here you will find the famous mural kept in the western end of the ground floor, called ‘Gajendra Moksham’ which is the largest mural in Kerala. There is also a museum of antique sculptures, paintings and bronze articles in the palace.
Kuttanad Region :
The region is known as the 'Rice Bowl of Kerala'. It is perhaps the only region in the world where farming is done below sea level. The boat trip to Changanacherry passes through this beautiful and fertile region.
Mullakkal Rajeswari Temple :
It is dedicated to the Goddess Rajarajeswari. The nine day 'Navarathri' festival is celebrated twice a year and is of special significance to the people of Alappuzha. Another important festival of the temple is 'Thaipooyakavadi'.
This is a small captivating island in the Vembanad Lake. Situated between Thaneermukkom and Kumarakom, this island is the favourite spot for hundreds of rare migratory birds from different parts of the world.
Ambalapuzha Temple :
Constructed in the typical Kerala architectural style, this temple is famous all over India, and is renowned for the Palpayasam, the daily offering of sweet milk porridge. This temple witnesses the performance of Pallipana by Velans (sorcerers) once every twelve years. Paintings of the Dasavatharam (the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu) are displayed on the inner walls of the temple. The ‘ Ottanthullal’, a satiric art form based on social themes was the brain child of the poet Kunchan Nambiar who performed it for the first time in the premises of this temple.
Arthunkal Church :
This christian Pilgrim centre near Sherthalai is 22 km. north of alappuzha. The St. Andrews Church here was built by Portuguese missionaries. The annual feast of St. Sebastian is held here in the month of January.
Champakulam Church :
The St. Mary's Church is one of the oldest church in Kerala. It is said to be one of the seven churches established by St.Thomas. Tha annual feast is held on the 3rd Sunday of October. The feast of St. Joseph is celebrated on March 19th.
Chavara Bhavan :
The ancestral home of the blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara, lies 6 km. from Alappuzha. Thousands of devotees gather at this shrine. It can be reached only by boat from Alappuzha.
Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple, Mavelikkara :
The shrine is known for the Kettukazhcha festival, which attracts a large number of devotees. The festival is held in Feb./Mar. and colourful procession is taken out.
Edathua Church :
This church, dedicated to St. George is of special significance as it is believed that prayers and offerings here help in healing all kinds of mental disorders and other ailments. The annual feast is held from 5th - 7th May and attracts devotees from all parts of south India. The Church is just 24 kms. from Alappuzha.
The small village near Ambalapuzha is known for the black granite idol of Lord Buddha known as Karumadikuttan. The idol dates back to 9th or 10th century.
It is 32 kms. from Alappuzha near Haripad and is famous for the ancient temple of Sree Nagaraja, the King of Serpents. Pilgrims from all over the country assemble here during the two day annual festival.
Q S T and R Block Kayal :
These regions are famous for farming over reclaimed land from the backwaters. The area is protected by dikes built all around and reminds visitors of the famous dikes of Netherlands. A cruise along the canals here is quite a memorable experience.
A short distance from Alappuzha is Punnapra, a village which has gone down in history as the scene of a bitter and heroic fighting between the communists and Travancore State Police during the Punnapra Vayalar Communist uprising of 1946.