Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Alappuzha Venice of the East

Alappuzha, the Venice of the East welcomes you to the backwaters of kerala. The Palm fringed canals and shores bustling with glimpses from the day to day life in the country side, the mirror still lagoons, picture book lakesides and its long sandy beach has blessed Alappuzha, the water locked district, to become one of the best Backwater tourism destinations in God's Own Country.

Alleppey Backwaters

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 travelers from across the world, this backwater country is also home ot 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, Alappauzha 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.

History of Allepy:

Before the Dutch took over this place, the Portuguese were the predominant rulers of this place. Later Maharaja Marthandavarma came into power and he gave ample importance to the developmental works of the place. Slowly it became a very busy commercial place attracting merchants from all over.

This resulted in the establishment of a number of coir factories producing coir-related goods of quality. The first coir factory was developed by an English sea captain and soon others followed suit. The first Anglican Church was built in 1816 by the Christian missionaries whose headquarter was in Alleppey.

Major tourist attractions in Allepy:

The most important tourist vacation packages attraction in Alleppey is the leisurely boatcruise through the stretch of backwaters fringed by coconut palms. Alleppey, one of the exotic sites of backwater tourism in the state of Kerala is better known as the "Venice of the East" for its labyrinth of lakes, lagoons and freshwater rivers crisscrossing it. This tiny town in Kerala attracts tourists especially during the time of the annual boat race.

For tourists Alleppey is the pivotal point for boat cruises into Kerala's famed backwaters and the state's lush rice bowl, Kuttanad. The boat cruise along the backwaters of Alleppey give one a first hand experience of the simple life style of the people which is a far cry form the bustle and ratrace of people in the cities in India.

One of the most popular cruise routes are from Alleppey south to Kollam (Quilon) for about 8 hours including stops for lunch, chai (tea), a temple visit and a kathakali (dance drama) apart from enjoying the most entrancing scenery of palm-lined banks, quiet water-bound villages, Chinese fishing nets, prawn farming and coir manufacture.

There are several places and tour packages of tourist interest in and around Alleppey.

Punnamada Kayal, the must-visit place of Alleppey where the annual Nehru Trophy boat race takes place. During the month of August-September, the backwaters become crowded with thousands of spectators and a large number of competitors who come to participate in the famous Nehru Trophy boat race.

Krishnapuram Temple, the two-storied building of Alleppey, displays the typical Keralan style of architecture. The largest mural painting, Gajendra Miksham, is displayed in a museum here.

Ambalapuzha Temple, where Lord Krishna is worshipped, is also an important place to visit in Alleppey. Here one can see the typical temple architecture and culture of Kerala along with the chance to taste the Keralan delicacy, payasam, which is served to the visitors in Alleppey during the festival times of March/April.

St. Andrew's Church, established by the Portuguese missionaries in Alleppey, celebrates the feast of St. Sebastian in a fun-filled, festive way.

Situated in the heart of Alleppey, Mullackal Temple, dedicated to goddess Rajarajeswari, is also a place worth visiting.

Surrounded by thick-green forests, Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple of Alleppey is a holy place where the king of serpents is worshiped. Number of devotees from all over India and abroad visit this place every year.

The Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple of Alleppey is believed to have miraculous powers and hence visited by number of pilgrims every year.

Kottamkulangara Mahavishnu Temple and Devi Temple are the oldest temples of Alleppey and are sites worth visiting, especially during the time of festivals.

Hotels in Allepy:

Allepy Prince Hotel: At Prince Hotel, you will experience the royal grandeur and resplendence of the regal life-style of ancient Indian princes and princesses. Each and every room is crafted in luxurious manner and are rich with their elegant interiors. Their unique designs and relaxed ambience create the ideal atmosphere for you to enjoy holiday.......

Kayaloram Lake Resort: Amid this scenic setting lies Kayaloram (meaning lake side), the exclusive lake resort. Kayaloram is a harmonious blend of the ambience of rustic Alleppey and the amenities of a modern resort. Situated on an exclusive stretch of prime water front, fringed by coconut palms and caressed by a gentle breeze.

Marari Beach Resort:Mararikulam is a sleepy fishing village located between the port city of Cochin and Alleppey. And here, amidst the coconut groves is the Marari Resort. Like the other resorts in this hotel chain viz Spice Village, Coconut Lagoon etc, Marari Beach Resort is also constructed with a strong ethnic flavour......

Shopping in Alleppey

Among the locally available products of Alleppey are the coir products and carpets. The fine quality, variety and reasonable price tag make these products stay high in the demand list of tourists. Besides Alleppey is also famous for its pepper, coconut oil, areca nut, cardamom, sugar, etc. There are several markets are available in Alleppey.

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