November 2008
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Alleppey, the water place in Kerala, India

Altitude : Sea Level.
Temperature (deg C):
Summer: Max 35, Min 22.5;
Winter: Max 32, Min 22.
Rainfall : 254 cms.
Best Season : October to May.
STD Code : 0477

Alleppey is famously known as the ‘Venice of East’ because of its vast water network. It is located 64km north of Kochi in Kerala. Alleppey is also known as Alappuzha (the local language, Malayalam name for Alleppey). Why the water like term of Venice ? Well, Alleppey is surrounded by the Arabian sea on the west and a vast network of lakes, lagoons and fresh water rivers crisscross it. The large network of canals provides Alleppey its lifeline, proving to be a great transportation network. It has a spectacular long sandy beach.
But when Raja Kesavadasan, the Dewan of Travancore (king), founded the town in 1762, there was just one canal through the strip of sand between the backwaters and the sea. This soon grew into a bustling waterway, with shops, factories and commercial establishments springing up on either bank of the canal. This attracted merchants from other parts of the country and from outside, making this a thriving business location.
By the mid-19th Century, the sea had receded a mile, offering more land along the sand strip. Trading vessels soon began to call on Alleppey (Alappuzha). In 1859 the first organized coir factory & products was started here and began producing matting from coir yarn on a loom developed by an English sea captain. Soon other British company -owned weaving establishments followed.

Mapmyindia map of Alleppey:

Alleppey is also known for its boat races. The most famous of the races is the ‘Nehru Trophy Boat Race’ (named after the first Indian Prime Minister) which began in 1952 on the occasion of the visit of India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, to Alleppey. The boat race is now a regular major (tourist wise) event held on the second Saturday of every August and features the gigantic snake-boats of Kerala, the chundans, (once the battleships of the Malayalee kings from times past). Competition is severe as the boats, with over 120 rowers in each, race to the finish to the accompaniment of rousing music. Each boat is sponsored by a different village and winning the race is a matter of great pride for these villages.
A grand annual festival is celebrated at the unique ‘Nagaraja Temple’ here in October/November. ‘Chirappu Mahotsavam’ is a big occasion at Mullackal Temple in December. Another festival celebrated by the temple is a one-day Thaipooyan kavadi. The famous Chandanakudam is celebrated at the Kidangam-Parampu Temple during December every year. Kottamkulangara Temple in Alappuzha have two festive seasons in February and March, because of two deities with separate flag masts in same compound wall.
For tourists Alleppey(Alappuzha) is the pivotal point for trips into Kerala’s famed backwaters (houseboats & motor boats) and the state’s lush rice bowl, Kuttanad. Between Quilon to the south and Kottayam to the east lie some of the most entrancing scenery of palm-lined banks, islands, quiet water-bound villages and little boats taking the local people to and fro-everything framed in green.
A glide in a “Kettuvallam” (Houseboat) through the enchanting backwaters of Alleppey is sure to rob your heart. Palm fringed narrow canals winding through the vast expanse of paddy fields and the neat tiny hamlets lined up along either sides of the canals are panoramic sights one can never forget. The Chinese fishing nets, the reminiscent of our past trade links, are also found on the way. Flocks of ducks swimming around the banks and tiny birds flying across the sky remains as enduring pictures reflecting the charm of this unique land.
The weather of Alleppey is pleasant throughout the year making it the ideal destination for tourists. The summers though hot, are pleasant. The temperature varies between 22°C to 35°C in summers. You hardly experiences any winters here. The temperature during winters usually varies between 18°C to 30°C.
The months from January to April and August to October are the ideal months to visit Alleppey. The place experiences heavy monsoon showers and if you love rains, it’s not a bad idea to visit Alleppey during monsoons but if you don’t like rains then avoid monsoon as it rains heavily.

Places to see:

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.

Alappuzha beach – This is one of the most popular picnic spots in Alappuzha. The pier, which extends into the sea here, is over 137 years old. Entertainment facilities at the Vijaya beach park add to the attractions of the beach.

A short distance from Alleppey (Alappuzha) is Punnapra, a village that has gone down in history as the scene of a battle between the Communists group and the Travancore State Police in the Punnapra – Vayalar Communist Uprising of 1946.

A traveler can use Alleppey (Alappuzha) as a base to make excursions to nearby historical sites and scenic spots. Pathiramanal, (near kumarakom) a beautiful little island in the Vembanad Lake; it is the largest lake in the Asia, which can be reached only by boat, is set to be developed as a major tourist spot. The Sri Krishna temple at Ambalapuzha, 14 km from Alleppey (Alappuzha), is among kerala’s more famous ones, boating through of the typical temple architectural style of the state. It is equally famed for its palpayasam, a sweet milk porridge offered to the diet. The temple’s main festival occurs in March/April. It was in this temple that the 16th century poet Kunjan Nambiar staged his first Ottan Thullal, a solo dance performance with a high social content.

How to get there:

Air: The nearest airport is Cochin, 64 km to the north; Trivandrum International Airport is 159 km to the south.

Rail: Alleppey has recently been linked to Cochin by rail. The Alleppey Railway Station is 5 km from the central bus stand and the boat jetty.

Road: Alleppey is on the NH 47 highway and is connected to all-important towns in south India by public state transport buses.

Houseboat Boat / Motorboat: Alleppey is linked by boat services through the backwaters to Quilon and Changanassery, Kottayam, Cochin, Kumarakom, Kavalam and Chengannur, Kuttanad places.

Places to stay:

Raheem Residency (site)
Akkarakkalm Memoirs: phone: 91 477 2261522
Nelpura Heritage Homestay (site)
OG’s Beach Bungalow (site)
Hotel Royal Park (site)
Arcadia Regency (site)
Alleppey Prince Hotel (site)
Marari Fishermen Village Beach Resort (site)
Marari Beach Resort (site)
Lake Palace Resort (site)
Coir Village Lake Resort (site)
Punnamada Backwater Resort (site)
Kayaloram Heritage Lake Resort (site)
Pagoda Resorts (site)
Pozhiyoram Beach Resort (site)
Kondai Lip Backwater Resort
Palmgrove Lake Resort (site)
Grand Nirvana Resort: phone: 91 478 2861970
Alleppey Beach Resorts (site)
Lake Heaven Island Resort (site)
Keraleeyam Health Resort (link)
Shanthitheeram Lakeside Heritage Resort (site)
Pathiramanal Lake Resort (site)
Green Palace Kerala Resort (site)
Kuttanadu River Resort (site)
Pooppallys Heritage Homestay (site)
Mullackal Home Stay (site)
Gowri Heritage Residence (site)
Emerald Isle Heritage Villa (site)
Mappilassery Mansion (site)

External articles / sites:

1. Houseboats (link)
2. Location Map (link)
3. trip (link)
4. Forum posts on driving from Alleppey to Goa (link)
5. Houseboat cruise experience (link)
6. Photos from a houseboat (incuding kitchen) (link)
7. Cruise on a houseboat (link)
8. Photo of stream and lake (link)
9. Cruising Alleppey in a houseboat (link)
10. Varkala to Alleppey (link)
11. Alleppey to Munnar (link)
11. Johnson’s blog (link)
12. Backwater tours (link)
13. Grand Nirvana Resort Photos (link)
14. All happy in Alleppey (link)
15. Alleppey continued (link)
16. Trip to Alleppey (link)
17. Photo Gallery on (link)

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