ALAPPUZHA – The Venice of the East
Washed by the silvery waves of the Arabian sea Alappuzha occupies a significant place in the tourist map of Kerala. Interlocked with a large number of canals and bridges this water locked district has immense untapped potential for backwater tourism.
Alappuzha has several canals and lakes fit for boat cruise. Three prominent rivers in the southern grid of Kerala viz. Achankovil, Pamba and Manimala empty into the lakes. A boat journey through the lakes will be a memorable experience. The watercourses are flanked by an unending row of coconut trees which heave and sway to the tune of the gush.
Amabalappuzha Sreekrishna Temple on the Kollam-Alappuzha Highway is called the Dwaraka of the South. It is frequented by thousands of devotees especially during the annual festival which falls in April every year. ‘Ambalappuzha palpayasam’ the devotional delicacy of the temple, is renowned for its unique taste. Ambalappuzha is also famous for the traditional visual martial art of Kerala, Velakali.
Nehru Trophy Boat Race, the annual water carnival at Punnamada Lake, is considered the biggest snake boat race in the world. The colourful boat pageantry which precedes the boat race is a marvellous treat to the eyes. The snakeboats with a length of 30 to 60 meters and with 100 to 150 oarsmen plough the waters with the rhythm and symbols to the tune of the legendary songs. The Nehru Trophy was instituted by the late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who was enthralled by the charm and gaiety of the water carnival. The boat race attracts a large number of tourists, domestic and foreign. In addition to this the boat races at Payippad, Thiruvanvandoor, Neerettupuram, Karuvatta and Thykkoottam are quite famous.
Alappuzha is a great centre of fisheries. ‘Chakara’ a rare marine phenomenon in which a large number of fish throng together in the early days of May to August is a peculiarity of Purakkad, one of the main fishing centres on the coast of the Arabian Sea. This is in fact a fishermen’s fiesta.
The district is the major centre of coir and allied products. There are about 4000 production units including a few big factories with mechanized looms. Alappuzha retains monopoly in coir production and exports.
Karumadi, three Kms. east of Ambalappuzha, has a statue of Budha called Karumadikuttan, a perennial source of interest for the tourists.
Arthumkal Church is famous for the St. Sebastian’s church which is situated south west of Cherthala town 22 Kms north of Alappuzha. The famous Arthumkal Perunal is held in January every year. Catholics from all parts of the state participate in the feast of St. Sebastian.
Mannarassala near Harippad 32 Kms. south of Alappuzha is an important centre of pilgrimage in the district. The famous Mannarassala Temple devoted to the serpent deity is a rare phenomenon of worship. The Ayilyam festival held in November every year is very famous.
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