Alappuzha or colloquially known as Alleppey, is located on the Arabian Sea coast of Kerala, a southwestern state of India. Located 96 miles or 155 km north of Thiruvananthapuram and 36 miles or 62 km south of Kochi, Alappuzha, said to be the oldest city in the region and is a good example of medieval city planning of south Indian cultures. It is a popular tourist destination in south India, with Malayalam being the main language spoken along with Tamil, Hindi and English. The ambient and scenic beauty of the beaches, lagoons and waterways, like canals and backwaters of Alappuzha were well known even in the colonial era of India. Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of India, even named the city as the ‘Venice of East’. The first lighthouse built on the western coast of India is located here, according to a Malayalam encyclopedia. Today, Alappuzha is the capital of the Alappuzha district of the Kerala state, with a population of over 177,000 residing in the city; it ranks as the sixth largest urban region in the state.

Perhaps most of Alleppey’s appeal lies in its ancient waterways and its cultural diversity. The network of backwaters in Alappuzha and quaint houseboats cruising along its serene waters has become the tourism icon of Kerala. These waters and canals connect the city as far as Quilon in the south and Cochin and Kumarakom to the north, apart from navigation these backwaters are the arena for India’s largest, and most popular boat race known as the ‘Nehru Trophy Boat Race’ scheduled on Augusts’ second Saturday, every year. The month of December too, is a colorful one in Alappuzha as it hosts the ten-day festivities of the ‘Mullackal Chirap’.

Apart from its aesthetic value, Alleppey is an important industrial centre, with its numerous coir industries. As per the Coir Industry Act of 1955, the Union Government of India has developed coir industry here by setting up a ‘Coir Research Institute’ at Kalavoor, Alappuzha.

Many tourists flock to Alleppey to visit best beaches along the Arabian coast, like the Alappuzha beach. Many cultural sites in Alleppey double as architectural masterpieces of the old, like the Chettikulangara Devi Temple, Mullakkal Temple, Champakulam Valia Palli, Edathua Church, Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple, Krishnapuram Palace, Haripad Subrahmanya Swamy Temple, and Mannarasala Temple. The sweet Ambalappuzha Payasam of Alappuzha, is known to be the best in all of India.

Climate and Best Time to Visit

The region of Alappuzha falls in the tropics of India and is on the western coast. As a result, the climate is humid all around the year. September to March is the tourist season in and around Alleppey.

  • November to February – Winter – The climate is temperate (around 17°C to 32°C), and is popular among honeymooners. The Backwaters of Alleppey are especially busy during this time of year.
  • March to May – Summer – It is a time of tropical heat and humidity. The temperatures reach up to 37°C. People find this period ideal for moving around and exploring the various known and obscure attractions.
  • June to September – Monsoon – The rain over the western coast of India is continuous and heavy, that limits mobility. It is better to avoid visiting Alleppey during this time of the year

The ideal time for tourism in Alappuzha is between December and February. Many people also find navigating the cool backwaters during early summer quite enjoyable.

Attractions of Alappuzha

Alappuzha Beach

The Alappuzha beach is popular among the locals as well as the tourists, with its numerous historic sites and scenes. The ancient lighthouse near the beach and a pier that is as old as the history of its colonial creators, offer a unique experience. The Vijay Park and Sea Park, both are popular recreational centers where visitors can go boating between the lighthouse and the palm-filled shore.  

Backwater Cruise

The Backwaters in Alappuzha stretch from Alleppey to the Jetty and are a unique way to explore all the important attractions while enjoying scenic views. Houseboats are also available for tourists if they decide to relax.

Boat Races

The boat races held in the Alappuzha district, between August and September attract audiences from across the globe. Particularly popular is the Nehru Trophy Boat Race, traditionally organized at the Punnamada Payippad close to Haripad. The boat races of Neerettupuram, Thiruvandoor, Thaikkoottam and Karuvatta in Alappuzha are equally entertaining.

Mullakkal Rajeswari Temple

Mullakkal Rajeshwari Temple honors the Hindu Goddess Rajarajeswari and the Thaipooyakavadi festival is a significant event at the temple. Alappuzha has a practice of celebrating the festival of ‘Navarathri’ twice, as opposed to only once every year, as in the rest of India.

Arthunkal Church

The very first Western anchorage in India was in Kerala, by the Portuguese. The Christian missionaries from Portugal built the Arthunkal Church of St. Andrews, near Sherthalai (22 km from Alappuzha), which has now become a pilgrimage for Indian Christians. Its St. Sebastian feast of January is particularly famous.

Get In

By Plane

The International Airport at Cochin is the closest to Alappazu. From there, one takes a taxi (usual fare is Rs. 450) into the city, from where Alleppey is accessible via bus or train. Trains from other major cities like Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and Chennai also reach Alappuzha.

By Train

Regular trains connect Alleppey to major Indian cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Hyderabad, Coimbatore and Mangalore.

By Bus

Several bus routes cross Alappuzha, for example an hour on bus (regular fare is Rs. 33) from Cochin Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram. Overnight luxury buses from Bangalore and Chennai usually cost around Rs. 650 and regular overnight buses from Coimbatore and Mysore cost about Rs. 220.

By Car

The National Highway - 47 of India’s East-West-North-South corridor passes through the Alappuzha district, which connects the region of Alappuzha-Ambalapuzha-Cherthala to cities in south India; for example, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Kottayam, Kochi, Kollam, Chennai, Coimbatore and Bangalore.
Tourist taxis available at major airports and railway stations are a hassle-free and convenient means for travelling near Alleppey

Get Around

By Bus

City and state bus services in Alleppey are reliable and affordable means of commuting in the region.

By Autorickshaw

This is a popular medium to travel between tourist spots quickly and cheaply.

By Taxi

Taxis and cars are available on rent with or without drivers, at an average rate (which may vary considerably) of Rs 7 per kilometer.

By Boat

Using waterways to navigate close-knit spots like Kuttanad is highly advisable, as some popular places are only accessible by boat.

The regular and cheap ferries that connect the busy local markets are also an option of travelling around in Alappuzha.

By Foot

Many consider walking to the many scenic destinations and buildings in Alappuzha, especially during the summer.

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