Alleppey, a slice of Venice in Kerala, is one of the most popular places to enjoy a magnificent stay on a houseboat. The town is known for its backwater lagoons that is lined with beautiful tropical villages. Tourists can look forward to enjoy this idyllic retreat amidst the emerald green waters, palm fringed shores and lush acres of greenery.
Hop on the houseboat and enjoy a foray into the backwaters. Come in August when the famous Nehru Boat Race is held with great vigour and excitement. Besides enjoying a laid back day on the houseboats that offer best of Kerala food, tourists can stop at the small hamlets and enjoy shopping for the locally made coir products and carpets.
Air: Kochi (53 km) has the nearest airport. Direct Indigo flights are available from Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Tickets are very economical (Rs 2,500-4,000).
Train: Alleppey has its own railway station and regular trains ply from Delhi (Kerala S Kranti), Kolkata (Shalimar Tiruvananthapuram Express), Mumbai (Netravati Express) and Kochi (Jan Shatabdi). No direct trains are available from Hyderabad.
Bus: Regular buses for Alleppey are available from Bangalore (559 km, 11 hours, Rs 1000 for AC Volvo), Trivandrum (151 km, 4 hours, Rs 200 for semi-deluxe bus) and Kochi (53 km, 1 1/2 hours, Rs 50 for semi-deluxe bus).
Car: Alleppey can be conveniently reached from Kochi and Trivandrum via private car as well as taxis. The route to be followed from Kochi (approx 1 hr) is - Kochi-Aroor-Kanjikkuzhi-Alleppey. From Trivandrum (1 1/2 hrs), tourists can follow the route - Trivandrum-Attingal-Kollam-Alleppey. Both these routes have well built roads in a good condition. Tourists coming from Bangalore need to come to Kochi through the route Hosur-Kathujuganapalli-Dharamapuri-Salem-Bhavani-Avanashi-Thirumalayampalayam-Palakkad-Marathakkara-Kochi. From here the usual route needs to be followed.
For tourists coming from North India (Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai), the best option is to fly to Kochi (tickets are very economical) and continue their onward journey by taxi or bus.
When To Go
Alleppey experiences moderate climate throughout the year. Summers (March to May) are not the ideal time to visit as the weather is very dry and temperatures can rise up to 37°C. Winters (October to February) are the best time for honeymooning as the temperatures remains cool and pleasant. Temperature remains between 17°C to 32°C and is good for sightseeing as well. Monsoons (June to September) are not the apt time to visit as the area receives very heavy rainfall, forcing tourists to remain indoors.
Eat & Drink
Alleppey has quite a few restaurants and food joints where tourists can enjoy lip smacking local Kerala food. For vegetarians, the best place is Hot Kitchen on Mullackal road and Sree Durga Bhavan Udipi Hotel on Cullan road.
For tourists looking for multi-cuisine options, Vembanad Restaurant on AS Main road and Kream korner on Mullackal road are the best places to enjoy tandoori, Indian, Chinese and Continental cuisines. Royal Park Hotel on YMCA road and Chakara Restaurant on Beach road are bar-cum-restaurants having a good stock of drinks. Most of the restaurants are open from 9 am till 10 pm, while the bar-cum-restaurant hotels open nightly from 6:30 pm and remain open till wee hours of the morning.
Shopping in Alleppey is confined to few small shops scattered around the backwaters. Tourists are specially recommended to buy the coir products like ropes and yarn that are sold by the local vendors. There are no shops per say, but tourists can enjoy shopping for carpets, pepper, coconut oil, areca nut, cardamom, and sugar.
The prices of all the items are very reasonable.
Travel within city
Alleppey is town of scenic beaches, lakes and rivers. Its numerous attractions are easily accessible through its extensive public transport system. Due to the increase in tourism the transport system has improved substantially. Some of the best ways to travel around the town are hiring self driven cars, auto rickshaws, government buses and river boats. Ernakulam is the nearest airport and it is situated around 60 km from the town. There are frequent buses that pass through Alleppey and this is the best way to travel since they cost around Rs 25. The Alleppey railway station is well connected to the rest of the state as well other states. There are many auto rickshaws outside the station and travelers must insist on meter.
Self Driven Cars
Hiring self driven cars are the best way to travel around the town. They are inexpensive and can be hired through local agencies. The steady and calm traffic makes for an excellent drive along the beach front as well as the many small rivers than can be found around the town. They cost around Rs 500 per day and are in good condition.
Auto rickshaws are another good option as they are cheap and generally run on meter. However one must insist on meter or negotiate the price before boarding. They are quick and most of the drivers know their way around town. They may ask for special night fares.
Alleppey beach is a popular attraction in Alleppey, famous for its views of the Arabian sea, lakes and large network of lagoons making for picturesque views. The beach also has a Vijaya Beach Park which has many swings and a toy train making it an ideal place for picnic.
Park Timings: 3:00 PM - 8:00 PM daily Charges:
Entry Fee - Rs 5 (Adults), Rs 2 (Children), Video Camera - Rs 25
Houseboats are the prime attraction of Alleppey and are the best means of exploring the backwaters. These houseboats are the epitome of luxury and are well equipped with modern facilities and international class amenities. A backwater cruise on a houseboat allows you to see the scenic manmade islands and beautiful sights of coconut fringed backwaters and paddy fields.
Built by Marthanda Verma, the Krishnapuram Palace is a two storied building now converted to a museum, taken care of by the archaeological department. The main attractions in the museum are the antique sculptures, paintings and bronze statues.
Ambalapuzha Temple Festival
The famous temple festival of Ambalapuzha is held every year in the Ambalapuzha temple, which is one of the oldest Shri Krishna Temples in Kerala. This 10 day festival is held in the month of March each year with grandeur.
The village of Karumadi, 3 km away from Alleppey, is famous for the mammoth black granite statue of Karumadi Kuttan, a form of Buddha. The half broken statue of Buddha dates back to the 10th century and is visited by pilgrims from all over the world.
Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race
The snake boat race in Alleppey is famous all over the world. The race takes place in traditional forest wood boats, the event is a great sight and is held on the second Saturday of August, every year.
A historical site named after the Pandava brothers, this is a picnic spot. A short and easy trek leads to the reach the rock. The panoramic views from the top is worth the effort of climbing to this spot.
A small island on the Vembanad Lake, Pathiramannal is a place known for wondrous opportunities of bird watching. A bird watchers delight, this island can be reached only by boat with ethereal views of the lake and the backwaters.
St Andrew's Church
A historical church built in the year 1866, St. Andrew's Church is built in the Scotland style of architecture and is known for the impressive pipe organ that was installed here in the year 1881.
Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple
Located just 14 kilometers away from Alleppey is the Amabalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple built in the typical Kerala style of architecture. The main attraction here is the Amabalapuzha festival which is held with great pomp and show.
The birth place of the blessed Kurikose Elias Chavara is found near Alleppey. This Catholic saint has a church that is built over the traditional sight of his birth to protect it. Meditation is encouraged at this church. Mass and the Novena Prayer are held every Saturday at 6:00 am, 7:30 am, 8:45 am, 10:00 am, and 4:30 pm. The solemn feast of Blessed Chavara is celebrated every year on January 3rd, and the novena preparation starts on December 26. At this time, Holy Mass is held at 4:30 followed by novena. On January 2nd a solemn procession carrying the statue of Blessed Chavara through the village is held after the novena.
The Edathua Church was established in 1810 on the banks of the river Pamba. It was modeled after the medieval churches of Europe. The patron saint of this church is St. George. This Catholic saint is known for being especially good at helping to heal mental disorders and other ailments. As a result, numerous people from all of South India make the pilgrimage to this church to seek the blessing of St. George. Every year, an enormous festival is held to celebrate St. George. A remarkable feast of gluttonous proportions is a large part of the festival that lasts for eleven days. A gold statue of St George is at the centre of attention. It is carried out in a grand procession, and then placed on a dais at the center of the Basilica. It remains there throughout duration of the feast.
Sree Nagaraja Temple
The Sree Nagaraja Temple is located in the region surrounding Alleppey. This unusual temple is a serpent shrine that is under the patronage of a brahman family that is headed by a priestess. The ancient shrine is dedicated to the Serpent God Nagaraja. It is one of the most important centers of snake worship in all of Kerala.
It is the most important part of the pilgrimage for numerous people every year. The temple is encircled by 16 acres of beautiful, dense green forest. Once every month, the 'Sarpakalam Pattu' ritual is conducted . This involves drawing the figure of the Serpent God on the floor using vegetable colors.
St Mary's Church
The St. Mary Forane Church was built in 1870. It is one of the oldest churches in the state of Kerala, and is believed to be one of the seven churches that were historically established by St. Thomas. Sometimes this church is referred to as the Champakulam Church. It is located in such a remote area that only the occasional bicycle and canoe frequents this place. This particular church is known for the beautiful mural paintings that are inside. The St. Thomas Statuary, where wooden statues of Christ are created for export, is located near this church.
Kumarakom, a pristine city of Kerala located on the bank of Vembanad Lake has many beautiful landscapes and scenic surrounding making it a perfect holiday spot. The soil being fertile, the place is full of paddy fields, mangrove forests and coconut groves. With its amazing greenery, Kumarakom is the perfect location for honeymooners looking for peace & solitude. Thousands of migratory birds flock to this area every year, making it an ideal place for bird watchers. This beautiful island has numerous small fishing skiffs throughout the town. Experience the backwaters and rejuvenate your senses with an ayurvedic massage which is popular in the region.
Kumarakom is famous all over the world for its backwater lagoons. Tourists can enjoy an ethereal stay on the luxury houseboats and explore the natural vista of the surroundings.
Bay Island Driftwood Museum
Bay Island Driftwood Museum is a prime attraction in Kumarakom which displays sole collection of quality driftwood articles. The museum also houses various root and tree trunk sculptures in unique forms and designs. Listed in the Limca Books of Records, Bay Island Driftwood Museum with its artistic values and uniqueness is a worth visiting place in Kumarakom.
0481 2526223 Timings:
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM (Tue to Sat), 11.30 AM to 5:00 PM (Sunday), Closed on Mondays
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
The prime attraction of Kumarakom, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a haven for rare and migratory species of birds. Sprawling on an area of 14 acres some of the commonly sighted birds are kingfisher, paradise fly-catchers and egrets. Local people can be hired to canoe you through the entire sanctuary.
0477-2253308, 2251796 Timings:
6:00 AM - 6:00 PM daily, Last Entry at 3:30 PM Charges:
Indians: Rs 5, Foreign nationals: Rs 45, Guide: Rs 100-200, Boat Trip: Rs 200-250 (Two hrs)