Extremely famous for its beautiful backwaters, the city of Alleppey in Kerala is also known for its beaches, temples and traditional boat races. This popular tourist destination also has some very well reputed Ayurvedic spas and wellness centres.
Dotting the coastline of the Arabian Sea, Alleppey (also known as Alappuzha) is the oldest planned backwater town of Kerala. This place is famous for its numerous rivers crisscrossing the Sea and is home to many canals, backwaters, beaches and lagoons. Alleppey is often referred to as the Venice of India. The backwaters coupled with houseboats and the tropical village life makes Alleppey worth a visit.
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- Do Not miss the houseboats. If budget permits, try out a luxury houseboat with air-conditioned rooms, music and lounge on the deck and TV with satellite TV. Carry sunscreen, head-gear, swim-wear and sun-glasses during the winters.
- During monsoons, rain-jackets are preferable over umbrellas. Always carry a water bottle and Oral Rehydration Solutions. Remember to pack in your own medicines.
Alleppey reminds me the beauty of Bengali, the endless row of coconut trees, the pastoral land all shared surprising similarities with Bengal and with our neighboring country Bangladesh. The serene atmosphere, the journey by the house boat, the delicious fish items, at some point, all of these bear trace of similarities with Bengal.
A refreshing retreat from the harsh winters. Home to the famous Snake Boat Race.
Congested in winters.
Ideal for tourists of every kind. Suitable for backpackers from places like Trivandrum, Kochi, etc.
One of the cleanest and the oldest planned towns in India, Alleppey is a picturesque coastal delight, with backwaters, lagoons, canals, beaches festooning the city like nothing else. No wonder why Alleppey was nicknamed 'Venice of the East', ironically by the most notorious Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon. Besides this, Alleppey is extremely famous for its snake boat races, which occur in the monsoon season. Alleppey's backwaters are the most popular destination in Kerala. Other places of interest in Alleppey are Alleppey Beach, which offers a breathtaking view of Laccadive Sea, Krishnapuram Palace, St. Andrew's Basilica, and Haripada Sri Subrahmanya Swamy Temple.
Alleppey's history can be traced back to as early as the 1st century AD --- when St Thomas, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ, arrived here and introduced Christianity in South India. The foothold of the Christian religion was further strengthened by the Portuguese and the Dutch forces who arrived many centuries later and established their dominance in this region. The famous St. Andrews Basilica was constructed by the Portuguese in around the 17th century. Alleppey was also under the political influence of Maharaja Marthanda Varma, who is known as the ‘Maker of modern Travancore’. The town played a critical role in the independence struggle of the country, birthing revolts against the feudal British Raj. The famous Communist uprising - Punnapra Vayalur took place here, where more than a 1000 people lost their lives during the struggle period.
The backwaters of Alleppey is home to Kuttanad, often called The Rice Bowl of Kerala. Traversing through a houseboat in this region offers a beautiful green kaleidoscope of rich paddy fields, interspersed with coconut trees. The paddy is cultivated on huge areas of reclaimed land from the Vembanad lake. The reclamation took place over three phases, starting from 1865 to 1940. These reclaimed areas are called Padsekharam. Initially, the reclaiming was done manually with water wheels, and later with steam engines. The paddy fields are drained by 4 major rivers - Pampa, Meenachil, Achankovil and Manimala. Speculations have claimed that it is the only area in the world where farming is done up to 2 metres below sea level.
Day 1 - Reach Alleppey, preferably by noon, and take some rest. In the evening, you can go for a stroll in the famous markets of Alleppey, primarily Mulakkal, where you can get some souvenirs, especially stuff like coir bags, rugs etc. apart from the native spices for yourself. Day 2 - The next day should be earmarked for a visit to the famous Nehru Trophy Boat Race, if the visiting time is in monsoon, or else, go for the glorious Krishnapuram Palace. Thereon, you can take a cruiser or houseboat to the backwaters of Alleppey. Day 3 - The final day can start with a lovely view of the sea at Alleppey beach. Located about an hour away, is the Kumarakoram Bird Sanctuary, which has an exquisite range of birds.
Alleppey's cuisine has a number of must haves. Your taste buds haven't experienced Allepey if you haven't tried the Ghee Roast Dosa and Malayalee Parotha . While Appams and Idlis form the essentials, you can also try "Toddy" which is a locally fermented alcohol beverage made from palm tree and coconut palms. Rice wine can be also tried in Alleppey.
I'm planning a quick getaway to Alleppey for a weekend. How much cost can I expect if I stay in a house boat?
Answer: It mainly depends on how many of you are going and what kind of houseboat you're looking for. Also, prices are different for the route and trip you want. Some are one night and one day and some are longer. There are three types of boats you could choose from, the budget class (which starts at 7k and goes up to 16k), the deluxe class (8k-18k) and the first class (12k-24k). In these, the first two have the options of AC or non AC, the first class has AC only. All three meals are also included. (These rates are for one bed room houseboats which are for two people)
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