|Kayamkulam Lake||Located at Kayamkulam in Alappuzha District|
|Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary||Situated on the banks of the Vembanad Lake near the celebrated Kumarakom Backwaters and approximately 31 kilometers from Alleppey|
|Krishnapuram Palace||Located at Kayamkulam approximately 47 kilometers from Alleppey|
|Edakkal Caves||Stationed about 56 kilometers from Alleppey at Edakkal|
|Pandavan Rock||Situated at Urukunnu|
|Karimadi Kuttan||Located at Karimadi near Ambalapuzha|
|Marari-Beach||Located at Mararikulam in Alappuzha District just 16 kilometers to the North of Alleppey Town|
|Main Beach of Alleppey|
|Sree Nagaraja Temple||Located about 32 kilometers to the south of Alleppey in Alappuzha District|
|Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple||Situated nearly 13 kilometers to the south of Alleppey|
|Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple|
|Mullakkal Rajeshwari Temple||Located right in the heart of Alleppey|
|St. Mary’s Church||Located at Champakulam|
|St Andrews Church|
|St Sebastian’s Church||Stationed approximately 23 kilometers to the north of Alleppey|
|Chavaran Bhawan||Located close to Alleppey at the distance of about 6 kilometers|
|Edathua Church||Located on the banks of the river Pamba|
Straddling across a number of districts of Kerala (Alleppey, Kottayam and Ernakulam) and identified by different names at various places, ‘Vembanad Lake’ happens to be the largest lake in the state of Kerala and the longest in the country. The Vembanad Wetland System encompassing the overall area of about 2033.02 square kilometers is acclaimed as the largest Indian Wetland System. The Lake is roughly 14 kilometers broad at its widest point. The Vembanad Wetland System connected with a far reaching network of lagoons, estuaries and canals covers about 196 kilometers in north-south and 29 kilometers in east-west. Vembanad Wetland is now included in the list of wetlands of international importance and it’s a home to over 20,000 waterfowls in India. Owing to its incomparable scenic beauty, the Vembanad Lake of Kerala has rendered itself one of the foremost tourist destinations of Southern India over last few years. Alleppey is positioned to the south west coast of the lake and Vembanad Lake provides an easy rout for water transport from Alleppey across Kerala. The economy of Alleppey is also supported by the Vembanad Lake as the major occupations of this region such as agriculture, fishery, tourism, etc are based on it. Tourists mainly alight at Alleppey to enjoy the stay at the boathouses that tenderly glide over the Vembanad Lake and offer the incredible opportunity to behold the pristine natural beauty of the vicinity.
Kayamkulam Lake located at Kayamkulam in Alappuzha District is regarded to be the longest and one of the most scenic backwaters in the state of Kerala. Spread over the total area of about 60 square kilometers, the Kayamkulam Lake is a shallow water reservoir that connects the Ashtamudi Lake by the Chavara-Panmana canal. The wide opening of the Kayamkulam Lake at the Kayamkulam volley into the Arabian Sea presents the marvelous prospect of the sunset to the tourists sliding in the houseboats. Apart from the house boat cruises and tourism interests, this lake is also used as a route for inland water transport of passengers and cargo. Kayamkulam Sri Vittala Temple and Kayamkulam Thermal Power Plant are two famous destinations huddled close to the Kayamkulam Lake. The best time to pay a visit to this lake is between August and March.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary situated on the banks of the Vembanad Lake near the celebrated Kumarakom Backwaters and approximately 31 kilometers from Alleppey is a much-loved stopover of migratory birds and a dreamland for the ornithologists. Developed by an Englishman; Alfred George Baker amidst a rubber plantation, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary was formerly known by the title ‘Baker’s Estate’. Spread over an all-embracing area of 14 acres on the southern banks of Kavanar River, this outstanding bird sanctuary has a well laid down trails that lead the visitors around the sanctuary. The key attraction of the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary comprises innumerable domestic as well as migratory birds spotted here for instance; cuckoo, heron, waterfowl, egret, owl, darter, cormorant, Brahminy kite, moorhen, duck, lark, flycatcher, parrot, teal, Siberian crane and many others. These nomadic birds alight here from the Himalayan topographies and also from the far away regions of Siberia. Dawn is the ideal time for bird watching as this is when the birds leave their nests and fly over the Vembanad Lake ready to go on the food hunt. The fervent bird watchers arrange for an early morning trek so that they could spot the wide range of various bird species. Kerala Tourism Development Corporation is going to introduce a guided bird watching trail at Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary quite soon.
Krishnapuram Palace, located at Kayamkulam approximately 47 kilometers from Alleppey is an ancient palace today converted to a palace museum. Established by Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma in 18th century AD, this royal residence is built in Pathinerakettu Kerala order of architecture. The gabled roof, slender corridors, dormer windows and a large pond inside the complex are the noteworthy features of this historical edifice of Kerala. Presently managed and maintained by the Archaeological Department of Kerala, Krishnapuram Palace displays the regal articles belonging to the erstwhile Maharaja of Travancore; Maharaja Marthanda Varma. The palace also houses extraordinary Kerala-style paintings and murals, Gajendra Moksham being the principal of them all. This 154 square feet mural is considered to be the largest of its kind in Kerala. Other worth mentioning exhibits of the Krishnapuram Palace are a double edged sword named ‘Kayamkulam Vaal’, one of the 4 effigies of Lord Buddha found in Alappuzha District and a copy of the Bible printed in Sanskrit.
Edakkal Caves, stationed about 56 kilometers from Alleppey at Edakkal is a pair of natural caves perched at the altitude of about 1200 meters atop the Ambukutty Mala. These pre historic caves preserve the ancient graphical writings made by the Neolithic man and estimated to be dating back to about 5000 BC. These Stone Age carvings and engravings of Edakkal Caves are very rare and perhaps the only case in point of such evidences of prehistoric civilization found in South India. Discovered and brought to lime light in the year 1890 by a police officer of the former Malabar State; Fred Fawcett, these caves probably also have the correlation with the Indus Valley Civilization.
Pandavan Rock, situated at Urukunnu is a cavern referred to in the Mahabharata as the cave where the five Pandava brothers had resided while traveling through Kerala during their exile. Christened after the Pandavas as the ‘Pandavan Rock’, this cave makes one of the most loved tourist attractions and most sought after picnic destination close to Alleppey. The Pandavan Rock, locally known by the name the ‘Pandavan Para’ is not directly connected by road. The tourists who want to explore this legendary cave have to undertake a hike from the bottom of the hill that upholds it. The trek begins from the spot where an ancient shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva is situated. Yet, as the hill is not at all steep, the ascend is not very hard or challenging to climb. This trekking trail offers the tourists a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the mesmerizing aerial vistas of the surrounding landscapes from an elevation. From the various vantage points on the way, one can capture the stunning views of the bordering hills, verdant forests and the reservoir lake of Kallada Dam.
‘Pathiramannal’, literally meaning ‘Sands of Night’ in local tongue is one of the enthralling tiny islands surrounded by the enchanting Vembanad Lake. This island is distinguished from the others by the fact that it serves as a home to around 91 local and 50 migratory species of birds who sojourn in this heavenly abode for a few days of the year. Pathiramannal is a real Canaan for the ornithologists as myriads of beautiful birds including pintail ducks, night heron, common teal, cormorant, Indian shag, darter, purple heron, terns, gulls, little egret, large egrets, cattle egret, intermediate egret, Indian pond heron, pheasant-tailed and bronze-winged jacanas, watercock, stork-billed kingfisher, whistling duck, little cormorant, cotton pygmy-goose, whiskered tern, monarch flycatcher and so on are spotted here. To reach Pathiramannal you can take the Muhamma-Kumarakom water rout.
Karimadi Kuttan, located at Karimadi near Ambalapuzha in Alappuzha District is an age old statue of the Lord Buddha dated back to 9th century AD. Made in black granite, the left hand side of this historical sculpture is today missing. This statue is now protected and maintained by the Archeological survey of India.
Marari Beach, located at Mararikulam in Alappuzha District just 16 kilometers to the North of Alleppey Town is a serene and tranquil sea shore ideal for a short vacation near Alleppey. Endowed with pristine natural beauty and tenderness, Marari Beach is a just right destination to relax and rejuvenate in the fondling lap of loving Mother Nature. The clean and uncontaminated beach of Marari is perfect for reposing and safe for swimming. Apart from the far-reaching stretch of creamy sun kissed sand, the palm fringed coast and the emerald green waters of the Arabian Sea, other attractions at the Marari Beach are the Mahadeva Temple and the Arthunkal Church. To reach Marari Beach from Alleppey one can avail the KSRTC bus to Maraikulam Junction and then cover the distance of 4 kilometers either on foot or in an auto rickshaw.
Main Beach of Alleppey
Alleppey Beach, a reasonably large, even and clean coastline forms the western periphery of the Alleppey Town. Also reckoned as Alappuzha Beach, this shoreline happens to be one of the most frequented and busiest beaches of entire Kerala State. Bordered by the Arabian Sea to its west, the Alleppey Beach is also enclosed by a large network of lagoons, backwaters, canals and a number of freshwater rivers. These waterways also serve as the routes for the tea and rubber transportation in Alleppey. A remarkable attribute of Alleppey Beach is an old lighthouse erected in the year 1862 by Captain Hugh Crawford in order to guide the boats arriving here for merchandise purposes. This lighthouse today in ruins is 1000 feet tall and makes a prominent trait of the Alleppey Beach. Presently the tourists are particularly drawn towards the Alappuzha Beach to see the remains of this legendary lighthouse. As the structure of this lighthouse is in decrepit order, an admission inside the lighthouse has been prohibited by the government. Most of the portions of the lighthouse have been swabbed and carried away by the relentless waves of the sea. The additional attractions of the Alleppey Beach are the Vijaya Beach Park and an old dock that was used for trade in olden days. Three railway lines are still visible in depleted conditions on this dock. Alleppey Beach is equally treasured by the locals as well as the tourists who indulge in the beach sports such as volleyball and Frisbee here. Tourists even like to enjoy camel and pony rides available here.
Sree Nagaraja Temple
Sree Nagaraja Temple of Mannarasala, located about 32 kilometers to the south of Alleppey in Alappuzha District is an ancient temple dedicated to the Serpent God; ‘Lord Nagaraja’. This shrine, snuggled in the woods of Haripad is acclaimed as the largest temple of its kind in the state of Kerala and bears an international repute of a sanctified and auspicious pilgrimage center. Housing over 30,000 images of snakes placed along the passageways and amongst the trees, this temple of Lord Nagaraja is predominantly worshipped by women. Even the head priest of this shrine is a lady. Patronized by a Brahmin family, this temple features stupendous stone carvings of snakes. It is believed that the women who worship the Serpent God at this temple of Mannarasala recover or reinforce their fertility and are blessed with desired progeny. Upon the birth of their child the ladies again come to this temple and offer thanksgiving prayers and rituals to the Nagaraja. As per the prevalent practice they also enshrine a new image of snake in the Nagaraja Temple and in this way the images of Nagaraja keep on increasing. An extraordinary turmeric paste available at the Nagaraja Temple of Mannarasala is believed to have certain unusual curative powers. Once in a month a ritual named ‘Sarpakalam Pattu’ is performed at the temple which involves sketching the image of Lord Nagaraja on the floor with vegetable colors. As the legend goes, Lord Parashurama; the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu and the creator of Kerala had installed the main statue of the Serpent God here.
Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple
Ambalapuzha, a small town of Alappuzha District situated nearly 13 kilometers to the south of Alleppey is reckoned in every corner of the country for its Sree Krishna Temple; one of the three Krishna temples of Kerala. Estimated to be built by a local king named ‘Chembakasserry Pooradam Thirunal-Devanarayanan Thampuran’ in 790 AD, this temple bears an interesting legend at its background. It is said that once Lord Krishna Himself appeared before the king in the form of a sage and challenged him a game of Chess. As per the condition laid, the King on his defeat had to pay the sage a certain amount of the grains of rice determined using the chess board. One grain of rice shall be placed in the first square, two in the second, four in the third, and eight in the fourth and so on. Every square of the chess board will have twice the number of grains of its precursor and thus the number of grains would increase in a geometric progression. Evidently the King was beaten by the sage and as per the final calculation he had to pay him more than trillions of tons of rice. The King realized that he was unable to fulfill the sworn reward. Upon seeing the embarrassment of the King, the sage took his original form of Lord Krishna and told the king that he could pay the debt in installment. From that time onwards the ‘Paal-Payasam’; a sweet made from rice and milk is served to the pilgrims and devotees in the temple of Lord Krishna at Ambalapuzha; the Dwarka of South. The Ambalapuzha temple is particularly famous for its Paal-Payasam and its Ambalapuzha Temple Festival. At the time of this festival, the idol of lord Krishna is carried by five elephants in a grand procession escorted by the sounds of musical melodies.
Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple
Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple sited at Chettikulangara in Mavelikkara taluk of Alappuzha District is one of the most celebrated temples of Kerala dedicated to the Goddess Bhagavathy. Supposed to be built at least 1200 years back, this temple structure reveals the traditional Kerala style of architecture. The most noteworthy aspect of this temple is that the presiding Goddess of the shrine appears in the form of Maha Saraswathi in the morning, Maha Lakshmi at noon and Sri Durga in the evening. Apart from the chief deity, the temple complex also houses the shrines dedicated to several sub deities i.e. Upadevathas namely Yakshini, Nagarajav, Ganapathi, Balakan, Thevara Moorthy, Vallyachan, Rekshas, etc. The chief festivals celebrated at the Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple include Parayeduppu, Kumbha Bharani, Ethirelpu Ulasvam, Aswathy Ulasvam, etc. The devotees of the Goddess Bhagavathy offer ‘Kettukazhcha’ (deftly sculpted and decorated forms of six temple cars) to their deity as a symbol of gratitude and respect. A worth mentioning feature of this temple is a massive oil lamp made out of granite which can hold over 1000 wicks at the same time. Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple under the administration of ‘Travancore Devaswom Board’ happens to be the second richest temple sansthanam next to Sabarimala.
Mullakkal Rajeshwari Temple
Mullakkal Rajeshwari Temple, dedicated to the goddess Rajeshwari and located right in the heart of Alleppey is regarded as one of the most distinguished temples of Southern India. Visited by thousands of pilgrims all round the year, this temple is particularly famous for its ‘Mullakkal Chirappu’ Festival and ‘Thaipooyakavadi Festival’ celebrated with ultimate devotion and faith by the devotees. The chief attraction of this temple is its Sreekovil made for Vana Durga. Even at the time of the nine days festival of Navaratri and on the tenth day i.e. Vijayadasami, the temple of Goddess Rajeshwari is illuminated and burnished in an ostentatious manner and the temple receives heavy deluge of devotees alighted here from different parts of the state and country. As the legend goes, the idols of the Mother Goddess consecrated in the sanctum of this temple were brought here by the soldiers of Thekkumkur King. This temple of Goddess Rajeshwari was constructed by the king Devanarayana of Chembagasery years later.
St. Mary’s Church
St. Mary’s Church also known as ‘Champakulam Kalloorkadu St. Mary's Forane Church’ and ‘Champakulam Valia Palli’ is the Roman Catholic Church located at Champakulam and venerated as one of the oldest Christian churches in the country. Believed to be one of the seven churches established by St. Thomas; one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ, the St. Mary’s Church of Champakulam is applauded as the mother church of all the Catholic Syrian Churches of Alleppey. Estimated to be established in 427 AD this church has been rebuilt many times over the years. An open air Rock Cross dated back to 1151 AD is positioned in the St. Mary’s Church premises. A number of archaeological evidences, stone cravings and artifacts discovered around the church testify the antiquated history of the Champakulam Church. Once under the Niranam Church, the Champakulam Church now belonging to the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church of India played an essential part in many social, political and religious affairs of the Eighteenth century. St. Mary’s Church is principally known far and wide for its two annual feasts celebrated with unequalled pomp and grandeur. ‘The Feast of Mother Mary’ is an eleven days celebration held in the month of October. ‘The Commemoration of the Death of St. Joseph’ is held on 19th March every year.
St Andrews Church
St. Andrew’s church, one of the most notable churches of Alleppey was originally raised for the Scottish Officials and their families. The construction of this Scottish Presbyterian Church commenced in the year 1864 and was completed in 1866 AD. A pipe organ was installed inside the church in the year 1881 and a clock tower was added in 1891 AD.
St Sebastian’s Church
St Sebastian’s Church, stationed approximately 23 kilometers to the north of Alleppey is one of the most vital churches in the entire Kerala State. Believed to be founded by St Stephen in the first century AD, this church is commended to be one of the seven original churches established by him. Aggrandized as one of the most venerated Christian pilgrimage destinations in Kerala, this church celebrates the Feast of St Sebastian in the month of January. The church receives thousands of devotees at this time of the year.
Chavaran Bhawan, located close to Alleppey at the distance of about 6 kilometers is yet another beautiful tourist destination reachable only by boat. Chavaran Bhawan is the ancestral home of a highly revered Catholic Saint ‘Blessed Chavara’. On 3rd January every year a feast in the honor of Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara is celebrated with exceptional pomp and gaiety.
The Edathua Church, established on the banks of the river Pamba in the year 1810 is a spectacular tabernacle fashioned after the churches of Europe built in the medieval era. St. George, a Catholic Saint exalted for healing various mental disorders is the patron saint of this church. Countless devotees and pilgrims from every corner of South India alight here to make a pilgrimage to the Edathua Church and seek the blessings of the sanctified St. George. A huge festival is organized in the honor of St. George every year when extravagant feast is laid for eleven days. During that time a gold statue of St George is carried out in a grand procession and then consecrated in the heart of the Basilica.