Chavaran Bhawan is the ancestral home of one of the leading luminaries of the Christian faith, the Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara. Kuriakose Elias Chavara was the pioneer for the first congregation for men in the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. His home is now accorded the respect given to a holy shrine. Almost three centuries old, this symbol of Christian antiquity is a refuge for Christians to gather, pray and retreat into themselves to find the pinnacle of spirituality in repose and serenity.
Located around six kilometers from the city of Alleppey, the Chavaran Bhawan is only accessible by boats. The imperturbability of the spiritual aura this place exudes is complimented by the collective composure of its surrounding. Suitable for large congregation of people for a spiritual retreat or for a small group of people trying to get in touch with their inner selves, this spot serves as a get-away from the hustle-bustle of the otherwise tourist-oriented city.
Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple, an ancient symbol of heritage is said to have been constructed by the ruler of the land, Chembakasserry Pooradam Thirunal-Devanarayanan Thampuran around 790 AD. The presiding deity of Parthasarthi, is likened to his traditional warrior form with a whip in one hand and a conch in the other. While the Sankam (conch) is an oft-seen symbol associated with Lord Visnu and his many incarnations, Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple is one of the few rarities with its presiding deity wielding a whip.
This temple has a mythological connection to the famous Guruvayurappan. It is believed that Guruvayurappan visits the temple every day, even to this day, to partake of the skillfully prepared milk porridge that is served for naivedyam. The temple hosts The Amabalapuzha Temple Festival every year in commemoration of the installation of the deity. Aaraattu festival is yet another annual festival celebrated here.
Kuttanad, dubbed the “Rice Bowl of Kerala”, is a scion to the opulent beauty of Kerala's efficacious countryside. The sweep of bustling paddy fields, the placidity of which, a fragile lady needing aegis from the harshness of the world, as it were, is laced by tall, strong coconut trees - the sights for offer here are gratifying, to say the least. Raveling this enchanting land are four major rivers of Kerala- the Achankovil, Manimala, Meenachil and the Pampa.
Needless to say, the waterway forms an important part of irrigation and also the day-to-day activities. Men on boats sell groceries, vegetables, fish etc. to the houses on the banks of the canals – living the life of Kuttanad will most definitely calm the nerves of the city dwellers and spark amusement in the simple yet idiosyncratic activities of the locals. Hiring a boat would be a splendid way to end a trip in Kuttanad. Well connected to the other parts of the state through its waterways, Kuttanad offers an option to explore other parts of Kerala as well!
Champakulam Church is the mother church of most of the churches of the Catholic Syrian descent in Kerala. It was built way back in 427 AD and has seen a number of structural changes in its centuries of existence. The rich experience of history that this church has had over starkly changing times, can be gathered from the many ancient rock inscriptions found around the church. They each tell a story of the church, and the circumstances of various eras this church has seen. One of such relics from the past is the Rock Cross, dated to about 1151 AD. The most important fest held here, is in the name of its patron, St. Joseph held on the 19th of March every year.
The annual fest is held on the third Sunday of October. It is 15 kilometers away from Alleppey mainland but can also be accessed through its backwaters in about an hour's time.
Anyone who has been to the backwaters of Kerala would certainly have a lot to boast about their experiences in the houseboats. Houseboats in Kerala are found only at the backwaters, where they can enjoy the cruise and stay at the boats overnight.
Houseboats, also known as ‘kettuvallam’, were earlier the only means of transport from these isolated villages to the cities nearby. Later, tourists started frequenting the place to have a first-hand experience of the cruises.
Today houseboats contribute a major part to the revenue from the Kerala tourism. You can have a tour in these houseboats at Alleppey, Kollam, Kumarakom and Poovar.
The homely set-up of a houseboat gives you the luxury of an elite resort and the comfort of your home right amidst the backwaters where all you can see throughout is water and the greenery of Kerala. Doesn’t that sound exciting?
Houseboats vary in their shapes and amenities. There are houseboats for budget-conscious locals as well as the ones that take you to the height of luxury. Some of the varieties of houseboats are the Chundan, Veppu vallom, Iruttukutty, Churulan, etc. Some of the well-known organizers of houseboats are the Rainbow Cruises, the River Escapes, the Lakes & Lagoons, the River & Country and the Dreamboats among the rest.
Krishnapuram Palace, named after the adjacent Temple of Krishnapuram, has seen centuries of changes in the world around it, and in itself. The erstwhile King of Travancore, Anizham Thirunal Martanda Varma had built a modest palace of just one storey after bringing the original palace to the ground in the 18th century.
The palace itself was built to showcase the traditional style of architecture native to the land. The present form of the Palace was a result of the renovation the Archeological Department of Kerala undertook in the 1950s after the palace had begun falling into ruins.
The palace now stands tall with three storeys and the palace compound houses a number of buildings which combine various architectural styles from the west and the east. Situated atop a hillock, the Palace is surrounded by lawns beautified by fountains and ponds.
Visit the palace to experience the royal Kerala of yore apart from the many historical exhibits such as mural paintings, coins, sculptures etc.
Pathiramannal, has the ideal setting of a dream. Only accessible by a boat, this is a small island of immense beauty surrounding its small land area. If you were looking to run away from the humdrum of life in the city, this locale will hold you in a trance that will increase your thirst for serenity and beauty - be witness to one of the most breathtaking sunset/sunrise of your life here.
This island is usually a spot en route on the backwater cruise. The Vembanad Lake, the lush greenery and the distance from all the sounds and sight of a town or a city make this, a haven for nature-lovers with wings too.
Home to hundreds of local as well as rare migratory birds, the bright cacophony of sounds which greets you everyday, morning through evening, is a tremendous aide to inner peace.
If you're more adventurous kind, bird-watching would be a fruitful pursuit. It is 13 kilometers from Alleppey and can be reached via boats in about half an hour.
Kayamkulam Lake derives its name from the town of Kayamkulam through which it flows. This is a site known since antiquity as an ancient maritime trade center.
The glory of the pivotal position Kayamkulam enjoys, is extended to the backwaters in this part of Alleppey. It forms a well-regulated and well-maintained channel for transport and trade. In fact the Kayamkulam Lake, connecting Kollam and Alleppey is Kerala's longest backwater tourism route.
One of the best ways to explore the scenic beauty of the lake that flaunts on both its sides, is to hire a houseboat, which come in varying costs and styles, and experience a journey under the stars, over the composed waters, to the sight of poised trees towering over to touch the expanse of the sky. One can order a variety of dishes from the local cuisine on the houseboat, to include your palate in the celebration of the beauty of Kerala.
Karumadikuttan (literally 'the boy from Karumadi') is an endearing name given to one of the oldest installations of Buddha known in the region. The onset of Buddhism in India, saw its gradual growth into many cultures around various states in India.
Few regions still hold onto symbols of the past which identify these events. Karumadikuttan is one such memorabilia situated in the city of Alleppey, dated as far as the 9th century.
Many such antiquities have been identified to have perished through natural calamities or man-induced violence, but this granite statue has been the only one to survive, it being the only Buddhist temple in Kerala.
Though the statue has suffered some damage by the attack of an elephant, devotees revel in the spiritual as well as its temporal presence of this timeless temple.
Alleppey beach is nothing like the beaches you'll find in other coastal cities. Situated in the heart of the city, a mere one kilometer from the Railway Station, the Alleppey beach is a neat stretch of sand fringed on one side by the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea and on the other by tall palm trees.
The splendor of the sparkling water brought out under the radiance of the setting sun, makes for a memorable evening – whether you're with family, friends or spouse. Don't miss out on two other important attractions adjacent to the beach. Take the boat ride from the sea view park to feel closer to the marvel of the sea and for a bird's eye view, walk into the light house with a nominal entry fee. It may be just a tourist spot now, but the light house of Alleppey, in its hey days was of prime importance to this busy port town.
Edathua Church, also known as St. George Catholic Church or ‘Edathua Palli’ figures prominently in the map of pilgrimage centres for Christians. Situated on the banks of one of the tributaries of Pamba river, this abode of worship is as assuaging from its geographical location as it is in its architecture.
Almost two centuries old, the Edathua Church has a structure resembling that of the churches of medieval Europe. The annual fest held in the church has been attracting people from all over the state of Kerala as well as the neighbouring states.
In fact, it has been a prime reason for the economic upliftment of this area. The ten days long fest commences on the 27th of April and continues till the 7th of May. The graceful statue of St. George is ornamented in gold and brought to the center of the basilica to bless the devotees. Private taxis are available for hire to get to the church.
Mullakkal Rajeshwari Temple is located in the heart of the city of Alleppey. Dedicated to Goddess Rajeshwari, a form of Goddess Durga, this temple is soothing to the eyes as well as the spirit of devotion.
The temple enshrines many deities in different forms of Goddess Durga. Built in a style typical to the state of Kerala, this temple is said to be built by King Devanarayana of Chembagassery.
Having found the deities misplaced by one of the many battles in the region, the King decided to pay a tribute by building a temple around the fixed deities. The temple is roof-less over its presiding deity which bestows on its on-lookers, a sense of endlessness amidst the vast, overwhelming setting of the open sky.
Many festivals are celebrated in this temple celebrating Goddess Durga amidst colour and fervor. Some of the important festivals are Navaratri, Mahanavami, Vijayadasami, 'thaipooyakaavadi' etc.
Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple is one of the most revered as well as one of the most visited temples in Kerala. Second only to Sabarimala in terms of its patronage, this temple has maitained a steady throng of devotees through many ages.
This 1200 years old temple has a unique feature attributed to it. The presiding deity of this temple changes her form to accommodate three major incarnations of Goddess Bhagwathy – She is Maha Sarawathi by day, Maha Lakshmi by noon and Sri Durga in the evening.
There are a number of folk, traditional and historical stories woven around this temple and all of them only work to accentuate the charm of the presiding deity and the many sub-deities in the temple complex.
The temple is known for its many festivals which involve vibrant colours, music of the drums, traditional dance and the unmistakable spiritual elation that is thereby reached.
Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple is a much acclaimed temple of Kerala, dedicated to the Serpent God, Nagaraja. One of the most venerated serpent temples around the world, this is a temple clustered with interesting myths and captivating stories.
Legend has it that Lord Parasurama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu has personally blessed this temple. Said to wield great spiritual prowess, the presiding deity is worshipped primarily for fertility in women. Special rites, rituals and services are performed in honour of Lord Nagaraja so as to appease him.
Some of the offerings made are serpent cave made of gold, ornaments, different kinds of vessels, milk, fruits, turmeric etc. The temple is situated in the deeper groves of a forest, as conducive to the form of its serpent presiding deity. The trail leading to the temple is covered with many images of Lord Nagaraja in his many embodiments.
Pandavan Rock is the stage for the enactment of the hordes of mythological stories one might have heard from the ancient epic of Mahabharata. Legend has it that the Pancha Pandavas had made a home of this cave in their wanderings in the forests during their exile, making this, a mythological as well as a historical tourist spot.
The cave has, of course, changed its appearance to a tiny hillock with the passage of time; don't expect to find a hollow cave with its walls covered in pictographic script!
It is an ideal picnic spot for a pleasant evening with the family. It takes an easy climb to reach the top of the rock, unless one is old or otherwise abled, getting to the top isn't very challenging. And once there, the panoramic view is spectacular!
In fact, vantage points can be found throughout the climb. This place is easily reachable from Alleppey by bus, taxi or auto-rickshaw.