Kerala Tour Package, India Cruise Packages, House Boat Alleppey Tours.
Alappuzha, also known as Alleppey
A town with picturesque canals, backwaters, beaches, and lagoons – it was described as the Venice of the East by Lord Curzon. Though the present town owes its existence to thesagacious Diwan Raja Kesavadas in the second half of 18th century, district of Alappuzha figures in classical Literature. Kuttanad (a region in Alleppey district), the rice bowl of Kerala with the unending stretch of paddy fields, small streams and canals with lush green coconut palms, was well known even from the early periods of the Sangam age.
History says Alappuzha had trade relations with ancient Greece and Rome in Antiquity and in the Middle Ages, as well as with other parts of India. Alappuzha has a lighthouse,which is a major tourist attraction. Soon after Alappuzha was developed as a port by the Diwan Raja Kesavadas, the town started functioning as the main commercial centre of thestate of Travancore. Export flourished from the port. Spices like pepper were the main export items. Domestic trade was also active. Many traders from Gujarat came and settleddown here to do trading, leading to the presence even now of a Gujarati community in the town. Alappuzha is a centre for coir industries. Later coir (different kinds of rope made from coconut fibre) became a major product of the town, both for local and world markets.
Alappuzha is unique as it is the only district in Kerala without forest. It is a hot spot for renting exotic houseboats, and these stunning creations are hand crafted by masterbuilders without the use of drawings or models. Alappuzha is now the hub for backwater tourism in Kerala.
You might have had a wonderful cruise in houseboats along the silent backwater stretches of Kerala. The comforting journey along the fascinating lagoons and pictorial lakesidesof God’s Own Country is an experience one wouldn’t want to miss. But have you ever wondered how this massive vessels crafted out of wood is really brought to life.
Kettuvallam is a country boat that was used in the early days for the transport of goods from the isolated interior villages to the towns. Houseboats have come a long way from the old days. They are not referred to as houseboats, rather ‘Kettuvallams.’ Kettu in Malayalam means ‘to tie’ and Vallam means ‘boat,’ which translates to a boat made by tying wooden planks together with coconut ropes and coated with cashew nut oil. Each houseboat was built using the ancient principles and techniques of boat building by the local carpenters using wood in early days. You will be surprised to know the fact that no nails are used in the boat building process. Instead, wooden planks are fastened together with coir ropes to make the hull. The materials that go into the making of a Kettuvallam are local and eco-friendly – bamboo poles, coconut fibre, ropes,bamboo mats, carpets etc. A standard house boat, which could be about 100 feet long, can hold up to 30 tons, about as much as three big lorries can carry.
With the advent of roads, bridges and ferry services, gradually the Kettuvallams went off the scene. Now these kettuvallams are back again as a major tourist attraction. A ride on a Houseboat is a fabulous way to explore the fascinating beauty of the backwaters.
Modern day houseboats are modernized versions of old kettuvallams that were used to carry tons of rice and spices. They are different from the traditional houseboats as they now have cozy living rooms, furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, well-equipped kitchen and some even have a balcony for fishing. They are also powered by diesel engines.
There are houseboats with fully furnished single room, double room and triple rooms. All of them have sundeck, private balcony with comfortable chairs, kitchen and toilet. Today there are A/c and Non A/c house boats with Deluxe and Luxury facilities. There are houseboats available to hire even for 500 $ per night.
The bedroom in the houseboat is private and the bathroom modern, with showers, flush toilets and hot water. Though the houseboat has got its own facilities for the client, it also has its own limitations and cannot fully support an overnight stay in a comfortable way. The reason being most of the time hot water facility doesn’t work for many reasons. Moreover quality of water available in the houseboat is so sticky and is never a wise decision to take shower in it. Clients cannot have a refreshing feeling due to the nature of water. So it is better to suggest the clients to take shower in the next hotel that they stay in and refresh themselves. During the night times, when the boats are anchored, there will be flies and mosquitoes in the boat which cannot be fully controlled or avoided. This might probably annoy some clients who are sensitive to these issues.
In spite of all, The houseboats of Kerala are increasingly becoming popular with domestic as well as international tourists. Consequently, the number of houseboats plying the backwaters ofKerala have increased dramatically. However very few houseboat companies offer the same authentic experience even today whereas most of the houseboat companies have become very commercial in nature and service quality is diluted. So in order to evaluate the safety and service standards of houseboats and classify them accordingly, the Government of Kerala has conceptualized a scheme to grade the existing house boats which maintain the quality standards into Gold and Silver Star categories and also to give Green Palm certificate as a symbol of eco-friendliness to those house boats which adopt environment friendly practices in its operation.
Boats in a variety of shapes and sizes have traditionally been the main means of transport of men and materials in the Kerala backwaters since olden days. In particular, the house boats were used to ship rice and spices and other goods between Kuttanad and the Cochin Port. It was a three-day affair in those days. It was the important mode of transportation in coastal Kerala just because of its accessibility to the most remote areas. However, as time passed, the scene changed gradually. Motorized road, rail and air transportation scored over the slow and staid country boat, with people opting for speed over charm.
Recently I happened to visit the main finishing point of Alleppey which was as worse as a fisherman’s place (market). 90% of the boats operate from here only. There were lot of boats anchored and locating one’s boat would be very difficult for any guest. Even if they locate the boat, they need to cross and climb many houseboats that are anchored there. So it would definitely be a nightmare for any guests particularly elderly people to locate and embark the boat. 10% of houseboats have private boat jetties wherein check-in & out will be as smooth as possible without any hassle.
To overcome these kind of issues, to improve the overall product and enhance the service, South Tourism decided to open an exclusive office at Alleppey. Today being an auspicious day, we are doing a soft launch and official opening would be on 19th September 2013. One of our senior Managers Mr. Vinoy would be heading the branch with his team of people. They will be available with the guest at the time of check-in & out to ensure smooth process. Any issues related to houseboat will be addressed on the spot and they will ensure clients are comfortable and enjoy the cruise.
Whoever wish to avail houseboat assistance from us, please note we will be charging a very minimal amount of Rs. 150 to provide houseboat check-in / out service. Please let us know if you would like to avail this service. In future you will be receiving instant updates from our Alleppey office as well and this will ensure that your client doesn’t go unhappy or with any complaints.
I am sure you will find our services at Alleppey to be the best in ensuring client satisfaction.
Tourists Season: August to March
Temples in and around Alleppey
Mullackal Rajarajeshwari temple, Alappuzha
The temple is located at the heart of Alleppey town. The presiding deity is Goddess Rajarajeshwari. The temple celebrates two festivals every year. The nine-day ‘Navarathri’ festival is especially important. The last two days are the most auspicious days. Colorful processions participated by nine elephants are held in the evening. Another festival celebrated by the temple is a one day ‘Thaipooyakavadi’ about fifteen kavadis take part in this spectacular procession which is presented during the evening
Sree Krishna temple, Ambalapuzha
Ambalapuzha is situated 14 km. away from Alleppey. The Sree Krishna temple is one of the most important temples in Kerala. In its architectural features, the temple conforms to the typical Kerala style architecture. The main festival is celebrated during March/April. The temple is famous throughout Kerala for ‘Palpayasam’ , a milk porridge of exceptional sweetness prepared in a very large quantity and offered to the deity. Poet Kunjan Nambiar who lived in the 16th century staged his first ‘Ottam Thullal’, a solo dance, in this temple auditorium. The painting of the Dasavadharam (the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu) are also displayed on the walls of the temple.
Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple
The deity in this temple is Bhadrakali and is supposed to possess miraculous powers. The main festivity associated with the annual festival of the temple, ‘Kettukazhcha’ is veryfamous and it is a procession of tall decorated structures in chariots in which effigies of horses, bullocks and epic heroes like the Pandavas and various scenes from the Puranas are displayed. This festival is celebrated during February/March every year. The kettukazcha festival draws large crowds of devotees.
Kottamkulangara Mahavishnu and Devi Temple
The Mahavishnu temple, the oldest temple in Alappuzha is situated at the centre of a pond which has now been covered fully with sand. It is also the only major temple in Alappuzha, located in the same compound with two flag masts and having two festival seasons. The festival season of Mahavishnu temple is in January and that of the Devi temple in March
Churches in and around Alleppey
The Latin Catholic Church
It is one of the oldest churches, which has now been renovated and given a face lift. It is situated near Kannan Varkey Bridge, Alappuzha.
Arthunkal Church (22Kms/1hr)
This Christian Pilgrim centre near Cherthala is 22 km. north of Alappuzha. The St. Andrews Church here was built by Portuguese missionaries. The annual feast of St. Sebastian is held here in the month of January.
The St. Mary’s Church is one of the oldest churches in Kerala. It is said to be one of the seven churches established by St. Thomas. The annual feast is held on the 3rd Sunday of October. The feast of St. Joseph is celebrated on March 19th.
This church, dedicated to St. George is of special significance as it is believed that prayers and offerings here help in healing all kinds of mental disorders and other ailments. The annual feast is held from 5th – 7th May and attracts devotees from all parts of south India. The Church is just 24 kms. from Alappuzha.
Boat Race in Alleppey
Alappuzha is world famous for its Snake Boat Race. Boat Races usually takes place at the time of Onam festival in August/September. Scores of long snake boats and other smaller crafts participate in these events. The largest team sport in the world, the snake boat races are preceded by colourful water parades.
- Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race (10th August 2013) takes place every year on the second weekend of August in the lakes of Punnamada and Champakulam. The main attraction is the Chundan Vallam (Snake Boat) race, in which a number of contestants are in the run for the famous Prime Minister’s trophy, a trophy donated by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India.
- Champakulam ‘MoolamVallamkali’ – this traditional annual boat race of Kerala begin in June at Champakulam. This festival is known as’ Moolam Vallamkali’. Moolam signifies a Malayalam asterism (star or Nakshathram), Moolam of the month Mithunam.
- Another noteworthy race is the Payipad Boat Race near Haripad, (18th September 2013) which begins from the ‘Onam’ festival day and continues for three days.
- Rajiv Gandhi Trophy Boat Race (Pulinkunnu Rajiv): this boat race is held on two weeks after the Nehru Trophy boat race. It is held at Pulinkunnu, 10 km away from the Alleppey town. The boat race is conducted in memory of Late Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, the former Indian Prime Minister. (last year this race was not completed because there was a problem between local Political Parties so this year also it is not sure whether the boat race will take place or not).
- Aranmula Boat Race (Pathanamthitta 55 Km from Alleppey 01.5 hrs drive) 20th September 2013- this is held during Onam festival (August – September) it takes place at Aranmula near a Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Krishna and Arjuna
Places to visit
Pathiramanal (Can be suggested for Bird watchers)
It’s a small island located in the Vembanad Lake. Island on the backwaters is home to many rare varieties of migratory birds from different parts of the world. According to mythology a young Brahmin dived into the Vembanad Lake to perform his evening ablutions and the water made way for land to rise from below, thus creating the enchanting island, Pathiramanal (sands of midnight).
Mullackal Rajarajeshwari temple, Alleppey
The temple is located at the heart of Alleppey town. The presiding deity is Goddess Rajarajeshwari. The temple celebrates two festivals every year. The nine-day ‘Navarathri’ festival is especially important. The last two days are the most auspicious days. Colorful processions participated by nine elephants are held in the evening. Only Hindus are allowed to enter the temple.
Alleppey Beach (3kms/ 15mnts)
This is one of the most popular picnic spots in Alleppey. The pier, which extends into the sea here, is over 138 years old. There is also an old lighthouse, which is greatly fascinating to visitors.
Sri Krishna temple, Ambalapuzha (20kms/ 30mnts drive)
The temple conforms to the typical Kerala style architecture. The main festival is celebrated during March/April. The temple is famous throughout Kerala for ‘Palpayasam’, milk porridge of exceptional sweetness prepared in a very large quantity and offered to the deity.
Arthunkal Church (22Kms/1hr)
This Christian Pilgrim centre near Cherthala is 22 km. north of Alleppey. The St. Andrews Church here was built by Portuguese missionaries. The annual feast of St. Sebastian is held here in the month of January.
Karumadikuttan (3km east of Ambalapuzha):
The small village near Ambalapuzha is known for the black granite idol of Lord Buddha known as Karumadikuttan. The idol dates back to 9th or 10th century
Chavara Bhavan (06Km from Alleppey)
The ancestral home of the blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara, Thousands of devotees gather at this shrine. It can be reached only by boat from Alappuzha
Edathua Church (24Km away from Alappuzha)
This church, dedicated to St. George is of special significance as it is believed that prayers and offerings here help in healing all kinds of mental disorders and other ailments. The annual feast is held from 5th – 7th May and attracts devotees from all parts of south India.
Mararikulam (12Km away from Alappuzha)
Situated on the coast south of Alappuzha, it is a quiet beach and has an adjoining fishing village.
Revi Karuna Karan Memorial Museum (Alappuzha)
Mr. Revi Karuna Karan a remarkable Personality dedicated a great deal of time, money and energy for the growth and development of the coir industry. Mr. Revi Karunakaran till his last breath, couple of years ago, played a pivotal role towards the betterment of the coir industry. Mr. Revi’s family opened a museum in his name to house some of the selecteditems from his impressive collection. The museum has the largest collection of ivory sculpture, handicrafts, crystal wares, paintings and many more things
Timings – Weekdays, Tuesday to Sunday 09.00 am to 05.00 pm (Monday Holiday)
Excursion from Alleppey
Krishnapuram Palace (47Kms/2hrs)
Built by Marthanda Varma, it is at Karthikapally in Kayamkulam and is famous for its mural depicting the story of Gajendramoksham. In this 18-century museum you can see antique sculptures, paintings and bronzes. The largest mural painting, Gajendramoksham, has been displayed in a museum here. We can see a temple near to the palace which is Krishnapuram Temple, in south India is a two-storied building in Alappuzha, which displays the typical Keralian style of architecture..
Mannarasala Sri Nagaraja Temple, Haripad (35Kms/1 hr drive)
This beautiful temple dedicated to the King of Serpents is located near Haripad. A two day festival is celebrated by the temple with much religious passion. On the second day bynoon, the ‘Ezhunnallathu’ (royal outing) ceremony is conducted when the idol of ‘Nagaraja’ is carried by the priests and taken around the temple in a procession.
it is inaugurated on 02nd June by Chief Minister of Kerala. As of now they have operating one plane it is seven seater also they are planning to introduce 18 seater in the coming days. Now they have operations from Ashtamudi to Alleppey and Alleppey to Bolgatty Palace (www.keralaseaplane.com).
Hospitals in Alleppey
- Medical Collage Hospital (in Vandanam 20 Km away from Alleppey)
- K.V.M. Hospital
- Sahrudaya Hospital
- General Hospital (Middle of the City)
Restaurants In Alleppey
- Hotel Royal Park
- Hotel Prince
- Hotel Halayes
- Hotel Time Pass
- Reaching Alleppey
Air: The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport (90Km /02 ½ hours by road)
Rail: Alleppey railway station is 4 Km away from the center of the town and it is well connected with all cites. Nearest Railway stations are Kottayam, Cherthala, Ernakulam, Kayamkulam and Kollam
By Road: Alleppey is well-connected with all major nearby places of south India like Cochin, Trivandrum, Chennai, Bangalore, etc.
By Water: The mesmerizing way to reach Alleppey is water. Alleppey is well connected through waterways. It is well-linked by boat, ferry, houseboat services through the scenic backwater to Kollam, Kottayam, Kumarakom, etc.
There are speed boat service from Alleppey to Cochin and Approximately 02 Hrs and 75Kms
- The distance from Alleppey to Munnar is 190Km & will take 05.5hrs drive
- The distance from Alleppey to Periyar is 160Km & will take 04hrs drive
- The distance from Alleppey to Cochin 70 Km & will take 02hrs drive
- The distance from Alleppey to Trivandrum 180Km and will take 05hrs drive
- The distance from Alleppey to Varkala 130Km and will take 03.5hrs drive
- The distance from Alleppey to Kollam 90Km and will take 02.5hrs drive