Alappuzha Beach of Kerala, in Southern India is a cozy serene beach as distinct from the flashiness and glossiness many others of its kind usually evince. The beach usually has a large number of visitors from all over India and most of the European countries.
The Alappuzha Lighthouse in Kerala built in 1862 is a major tourist attraction. Alappuzha, the place where the Lighthouse stands, was one of the busiest ports and trade centers of Kerala in its yester years. Even though it no more can boast of being a port, it has this light house and the magnificent beach along with the lakes and back waters where house boating is an enchanting activity for any visitor.
Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple is a foremost Sree Krishna temple of Kerala, in South India. The Temple is believed to have been built in the year AD 790 by the local ruler Chembakasserry Pooradam Thirunal-Devanarayanan Thampuran. The idol at Ambalapuzha is likened to Parthasarthi with a whip in the right hand and a Shankhu (sacred conch) in the left. The temple is directly associated to the Guruvayoor Sree Krishna Temple. During the invasion of Tipu Sultan in 1789, the idol of Sri Krishna from the Guruvayoor Temple was brought to the Ambalappuzha Temple for safe keeping. The sweet pudding made of rice and milk made at the Temple as a daily offering to the Lord has an interesting mythological legend behind it .It is believed Lord Guruvayoorappan himself reaches here daily at the time of, ‘Palpayasa Nedyam’, as the pudding is divinely termed, to have it, for such is the quality and uniqueness of its taste.
The backwaters forms an important way for the transport of goods, people and the products they produce and a link between rural and urban areas. Backwater area in Kerala is estimated to be around1500 km, constituting 44 rivers, lagoons and lakes from north to south. Alleppey which forms the main part of this network has unique geographical features of having the water along the same level as land. This provides an added advantage of having a much better view of the village life on shore while on a backwater ride.
A glide in a "Kettuvallam" (Houseboat) through the enchanting backwaters of Alleppey is an enthralling experience. Palm fringed narrow canals winds through expansive paddy fields and tiny hamlets lined up on either sides of canals forming panoramic sights one can never forget. The Chinese fishing nets, reminiscent of past trade links, are also found on the way. Flocks of ducks swimming around the banks and tiny birds flying across the sky stays as enduring pictures reflecting the exclusive charm of this unique land. The sparkling water and the caressing cool wind are irresistible temptations. Country boats in varying magnitude and dimension sweeps across the water carrying a comprehensive social range of people from different walks of Kerala life, like from milkman to newspaper boy and local politicians to priests and wedding parties, providing a unique experience, as this is as close as one can get to feel the vibrant life in the countryside of ‘God's own country’.
Chengannur is situated on the banks of river Pampa. Though the temple here is dedicated to Shiva and Parvati, it is popularly known as Bhagavathi shrine. According to legend Sage Agastya had his ashram on the slopes of a hill on the banks of Pampa. Shiva and Parvati, after their marriage at Mount Kailash, came to visit the sage, who could not attend the divine wedding. This forms the situation of holy presence for the formation of Temple.
Once as the Chief priest of the Temple opened the shrine of Goddess in the morning he found the cloth on the idol of the Goddess smeared with blood. Consultations with Temple elders and seniors provided a confirmation that the Goddess was in fact undergoing periods. The pooja or the daily rituals for the next three days were shifted to the northeastern part of the temple. After this incident, the cloth which the Goddess wears during this time (Thiru poothu) began to get considered as a prized possession, and is worshipped in many homes.
During the British rule of India a British Major General called Munro ridiculed the belief of the periods of the Goddess and refused grants for the temple. But then, his wife started to bleed interminably. Though he consulted with several doctors, the bleeding could not be ceased. Munro then thought that should his wife be cured, he will create a trust whose interest would be sufficient to observe the celebration of the Thirupoothu (periods) of the Goddess. His wife was then cured. Apart from creating the trust, Munro also presented two golden bangles to the Goddess.
Chenganur, Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple dedicated to Lord Krishna, is one of the ancient shrines of Kerala Located at Aranmula in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala, on the banks Pampa River. The temple is one of the five ancient temples associated with the great Hindu epic Mahabharata, in Chengannur region of Kerala. The most prominent deity of the temple of Lord Krishna, who emerges for teaching Arjuna the ‘Holy Geeta’. The temple is a stopover for the holy ornaments of Ayyappa (Thiruvabharanam), which are taken into a procession every year from Pandalam. A golden outfit (Thanka Anki) presented by the king of Travancore to Lord Ayyappan is kept in this temple and taken to Sabarimala.
The architecture of the temple is simply inspiring. With four towers over its entrances and a prominent outer wall. The eastern and western tower is accessed by going through a flight of stairs containing 18 steps. The 57 steps downwards through the northern tower leads to the Pampa River. The Temple features graceful and mystic murals dating way back to the 18th century. Shaped in a pyramid design with each nook and corner immaculate in its conception the temple is voluminous and spread over a huge area with a golden flag staff in front the entrance of the temple. Amongst the many festivals celebrated in the temple the one during Thiruvonam is more famous especially because of the well-known Aranmula Boat Race. The boat race is more of a water carnival than a contest.
Chettikulangara Sree Bhagavathi temple, one of the most renowned temples in Kerala, is located at Chettikulangara in Mavelikkara taluk of Alappuzha district in the south Indian state of Kerala. The deity here is worshipped in four forms, as Maha Saraswathi in the morning, as Maha Lakshmi at noon and as Sri Durga or Bhadrakali in the evening. The 1200-year-old temple has 13 territories colloquially termed ‘Karas’ as its responsible community.
The temple earns a large revenue owing to its voluminous worshippers and provides for many other Temples coming under the control of Travancore Devaswom Board, the temple administrating authority of Government of Kerala.
Famous for many of its colorful festivals especially the ‘Bharani’ festival for which even tourists from abroad come along for such is the display of color and pomp and gaiety of the festivity. The Temple is also beautiful with its own unique surroundings.
Established in 1810, this church dedicated to St. George and is believed to heal all mental disorders and related ailments. The annual feast (5th, 6th and 7th of May) finds pilgrims from all parts of South India, irrespective of caste and creed, visiting the church to seek blessings of the Saint and to offer their prayers.
Kettuvalloms or Houseboats (Riceboats) are country boats which in years gone by were used to transport goods from isolated interior villages to towns. As roads, bridges and ferry services developed Kettuvalloms were a thing of past. Now they are back again as a major tourist attraction. A ride on a Kettuvallom is indeed a fascination that knows no barriers especially since there is nothing to substitute it when it comes to experiencing the chill and warmth as well as the scintillating expanse of backwaters with an in between spread of residential villages and their paddy fields. A house boat usually about 67 feet in length has a width of around 13 feet in the middle and is made of local and Eco friendly bamboo poles, coconut fiber ropes, bamboo mats, coir carpets etc. The boat is made of a wood called "Anjili". The house boats are well furnished single and double rooms and designed with a sundeck, private balcony comfortable chairs, kitchen and toilet with WC. In addition there is also separate rest room for the crew. Traditional lanterns are used as lights. The crew includes a chef and two oarsmen. The cuisine is traditional Kerala flavor with the local specialties; delicious fish and prawns.
.Amongst shallow pools of slightly salty water and lush paddy fields a village named Karumadi popular for its Karumadi Kuttan which in fact is a black quartz statue of Buddha, as old as 9th or 10th century, found by the side of a public canal, as a remnant of Buddhism, which according to historians flourished in Kerala during those centuries, with many interesting traditions related to it and attracting archaeologists and travelers alike to the Karumadi village each year. During his visit to Kerala in 1965, the Dalai Lama stopped by to worship at this ancient shrine. Since then the statue has been declared a protected monument.
The half broken statue, in itself a legend, has it that an elephant charged towards it and broke its right half. Besides, the fact that the statue is made of black quartz makes it all the more unusual since quartz is usually associated with gray color. A genuinely fascinating relic of the Buddha age in Kerala, it is worth taking some time out from your sightseeing excursion in Alleppey! The Village is about three kilometers from Ambalapuzha.
The Krishnapuram Palace at Kayamkulam in Alappuzha district, Kerala in southwestern India was built in the 18th century by Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma of the Travancore kingdom. Built in Kerala architectural style with gabled roof - that is triangular at the top ends, narrow corridor and dormer windows – that is windows built upright on a sloping roof, the Palace is both majestic and graceful. The double edged Kayamkulam Vaal (sword) is kept here. The palace courtyard have four statues of Buddha found in Alappuzha District.
Kuttanad is a region spread in Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam Districts, in the state of Kerala, India, well known for its picturesque vast paddy fields interspersed with backwaters and hence with its own geographical peculiarities. The region is of the lowest altitude in India, and one of the few places in the world where farming is carried out below sea level. It's also one of the historically important places in the ancient history of South India.
Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple, an ancient internationally renowned centre of pilgrimage for devotees of serpent God Nagaraja is within a little thick of forest and huge trees alike most other snake temples with over 30,000 images of snakes along the paths and among the trees, and is the largest such temple in Kerala. Women desperate for motherhood come here for blessings, and upon the birth of their child come to hold thanksgiving ceremonies bringing new snake images as offerings. A turmeric paste available at the temple is considered to be credited with curative powers. The temple is located in Alappuzha district of Kerala.
Muhamma is a beautiful 'census town' meaning a place with certain characteristics of town yet not quite a town is on the banks of the sprawling Vembanad Lake and thus an idyllic tourist destination with the famous island Pathiramanal being easily accessible from here by boat. A dream destination for natural lovers for its natural lush greenery which is well complimented by the crystal clear water scape of vembanad lake Muhamma is alike a paradise in the God’s own country.
Mullakkal Goddess Temple is a very interesting temple since irrespective of religion anyone can enter the temple making it living epitome of secularism. Even though the temple is considered to be 500 years old the present idol of Rajarajeshwari was placed in the year 1962 after the old idol was found damaged.
The important festival here is Mullakkal Chirappu which extends up to 41 days. This festival comes in the month December – January. Various cultural programs are also part of the festival. One feature of the temple is that it is also accessible by backwaters through houseboats.
The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held on second of august every year. Snake boats or chundan vallams as they are colloquially termed participates in this spectacular boat race conducted without fail since 1952. The boat race is held at Punnamada Lake near Allappuzha.
The Pamba River the third longest river in the South Indian state of Kerala after Periyar and Bharathappuzha is considered as the Dakshina Ganga (Southern Ganges) due its association with Kerala's Largest Pilgrim Centre - Sabarimala. The River Pamba flows through the lands of Pathanamthitta District and the Kuttanand area of Alappuzha District.
Pandavan Rock gets its name for Pancha Pandavas of the Hindu epic Mahabharatha during their period of travel in disguise and exile from their home land is believed to have stayed here. The cave inside the rock has certain pictographs which can be explored and the whole area is a scenic beauty full of rocks. It takes some walk to reach the rock with the cave inside it but the walk can not only be enjoyable but refreshing for sights around.
This little island, which is named as if from some lyrics, as `sands of midnight` is very much within the thick of back waters and as if there for a resting place for the migratory birds lying between Thaneermukkom and Kumarakom, and is accessible only by boat. There is one myth behind the name of the place which is as once a young Brahmin plunged into the Vembanadu lake for his evening washings and the water made way for land to rise from below forming the beauty of an island ‘ Pathiramanal’ so that the Brahmin could come up after his bath and do his usual prayers and prostrations to Lord.
This is a wide area of created Land from the backwaters preserved by dams built for sake of cultivation and habitation four to ten feet below Sea Level. For the sake of comprehension similar to ‘Dikes of Holland’ they are good examples of natural habitat engineering without any over use of technology or undue exploitation or transformation of prevailing ecological state and form.
St. Andrews Church in Arthinkal 25 kilometers (16 miles) north of Allappuzha pioneered by the Portuguese missionaries in 1581 is one of the oldest in Kerala. The deity here is St. Sebastian, and the church comes under the Latin order with legend having that in Arthinkal many Christians living in traditional way were not baptized as there weren't any church or priest. Later, in 1579 they got permission from the landlords to build a church, and a thatched hut was built with only a cross inside. When the Portuguese missionaries arrived here in 1581, they baptized these Christians into the Latin rite and installed the idol of Santha Anthrose (St. Andrews).
St. Marys Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church is an ancient Christian Church in Champakulam town of Alappuzha District in Kerala. It belongs to the Syro-Malabar Church under the archeparchy of Changanacherry. It is a Forane church, with several Parishes under it.
St. Thomas sailed to Kokkothamangalam where he preached the gospel for about a year. 1600 people embraced Christian faith through him according to the narration in "Rampan Pattu", an ancient form of Syrian Christian folk-song prevalent in Kerala. He formed a Syrian Christian community at Kokkothamangalam and enshrined a Cross for the faithful. The people of Kokkothamangalam and nearby places venerate St. Thomas as their beloved heavenly patron.
The Sree Subrahmanya Swamy temple at Haripad is one amongst the oldest temples of Kerala. The Temple is an architectural wonder and the deity with four arms is large in size than any other of its kind. The Payippad Snake boat race is conducted here and related to the temple.
Vembanad Lake in the state of Kerala is one of the largest lakes in India. The Vembanad wetland system is bordered by Alappuzha, Kottayam, and Ernakulam districts. It lies at sea level, and is separated from the Arabian Sea only by a narrow barrier island. Canals link the lake to other coastal lakes to the north and south. Several rivers of the state flow into the lake, including the Achenkovil, Manimala, Meenachil, Muvattupuzha, Pamba and Periyar. The lake surrounds the islands of Pathiramanal, Perumbalam and Pallippuram. The Vembanad Lake is approximately 14 kilometers wide at its widest point. Tourist boating and Transport boating is functioning along Vembanad lake.
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