Alappuzha

With the Arabian Sea on the west and a vast network of lakes, lagoons and fresh water rivers criss crossing it, Alapuzha is perhaps the only district of immense natural beauty. Referred to as the Venice of the East by travelers across the world, this backwater country is also home to diverse animal and bird life. By virtue of its proximity to sea the town always enjoyed a unique place in the maritime of Kerala. Today Allapuzha may be on the down trend but as a tourist center it is gaining popularity the town was build as a trading center in 1762 by Raja Kesavadasa the Diwan of Travancore. The major attractions are the backwaters and the snake boat race. 
 
When the town was found by Raja Kesavadasan, the Diwan of Travancore in 1792, there was just one canal through the strip of sand between the backwaters and the sea. This soon grew into a bustling waterway with shops, factories, on either banks of the canal. By the mid 19 century the sea receded a mile offering more land along sand strip. Trading vessels soon began to call on Alapuzha.
 
Kuttanad
 
Kuttanad, called the rice bowl of Kerala, is because of her wealth of paddy crops, is at the very heart of the backwaters. The scenic countryside of Kuttanad with its shimmering waterways also has a rich crop of banana, cassava and yam. This is perhaps the only region in the world where farming is done 1.5 to 2 m below sea level. Inland waterways which flow above land level are an amazing feature of this region. 
 
Sea View Park
 
The park offers boating facilities and a swimming pool. Boat rentals for 10 minutes: Round about (4 seater): Rs. 10 Peddel boat (2 seater): Rs. 15 Pedal boat (4 seater): Rs. 25. Video permit Rs. 15, Camera permit Rs. I0 respectively. 
 
Pathiramanal - 11 1/2 hours by motor boat 130 min. by speedboat from Alappuzha

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 of Pathiramanal (sands of midnight). This little island on the backwaters is a favourite haunt of hundreds of rare migratory birds from different parts of the world. The island lies between Thaneermukkom and Kumarakom, and is accessible only by boat. 
 
Champakulam Church
 
One of the oldest churches in Kerala, the St. Mary's Church is believed to be one of the seven established by St. Thomas. The annual feast at this church falls on the 3rd Sunday of October every year. The feast of St. Joseph is celebrated on March l9th. 
 
Q S T and R Block Kayal
 
These regions are wonders of the indigenous agricultural engineering know-how of Kerala and remind the visitor of the famous dikes of Holland. Extensive areas of land has been reclaimed from the backwaters and are protected by dikes built all around. Here cultivation and habitation are made possible four to ten feet below sea level. A leisurely cruise along the canals that surround these kayals is a memorable experience. 
 
Chavara Bhavan - 6 km from Alappuzha. 
 
Accessible only by boat : Chavara Bhavan is the ancestral home of the blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara. It is now a holy shrine and spiritual resort where thousands of devotees gather for prayer, receive favours and feel amply gratified. Here, a 250 year old historically important beacon of light is preserved intact in its original and primitive form. 

Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Temple - 15 kms south of Alappuzha.
  
Built in the typical Kerala architectural style, this temple is famous all over India for the Palpayasam, the daily offering of deliciously sweet milk porridge. It is also in this temple that Pallipana is performed by Velans (sorcerers) once every twelve years. Paintings of the Dasavatharam (the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu) are on display on the inner walls of the Chuttambalam. Ottanthullal, a satiric art form originated by the poet Kunchan Nambiar, was first performed on the premises of this temple. 
  
Arthunkal - 22 km north of Alappuzha.
 
The St. Sebastian's Church here is an important Christian pilgrim centre. Annual festival: Arthunkal Perunnal - the feast of the patron saint (January) 
 
Edathua Church - 24km from Alappuzha, on the Alappuzha - Thiruvalla Road
  
Established in 1810, the church is dedicated to St. George. It is believed that prayers and offerings at this church help to heal all mental disorders and other ailments. During the annual feast (5th, 6th and 7th of May) pilgrims from all parts of South India, irrespective of caste and creed, visit the church and seek the blessings of the saint.
 
Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple - 32 km south of Alappuzha
 
Situated near Harippad, this is a serpent shrine under the patronage of a Brahman family, headed by a priestess. The ancient shrine is an internationally renowned pilgrim centre dedicated to the Serpent God Nagaraja. Sarpa Yakshi and Naga Yakshi are the beloved consorts of Nagaraja. It is believed that Nagaraja as the installed deity is endowed with the form of Hari (Lord Vishnu) and the spirit of Lord Shiva. Legend has it that the first priestess of Mannarasala gave birth to a live-headed snake, which is believed to reside in the ancestral house to safeguard the family. At Mannarasala barren women are believed to be blessed with children and a special turmeric paste available at the shrine is credited with powers to cure even leprosy. 
 
Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple, Mavelikkara
 
The Kettukazhcha festival at this temple draws large crowds of devotees. Processions of tall decorated structures on chariots, brightly decorated effigies of horses and bullocks and cultural performances make a spectacular pageant. (Festival February-March).

Krishnapuram Palace - 47km from Alappuzha
  
Built by Marthanda Varma, this palace at Karthikapally in Kayamkulam is famous for its mural, depicting the story of Gajendramoksham. Dating back to the l8th century, this exquisite piece of art is one of the largest murals in Kerala. The palace museum houses antique sculptures, paintings and bronzes. 

Karumadikuttan - 3km east of Ambalapuzha
 
Many fascinating legends are associated with this 11th century, statue of Lord Buddha.