Alleppey, often known as Alappuzha, is a charming destination in South India that has gained worldwide recognition for its breathtaking backwaters and enchanting houseboat experiences. These natural wonders continue to attract a significant number of tourists, making Alleppey a top choice for travelers in Kerala. However, there’s more to Alleppey than just backwater cruises and houseboats. The quaint town harbors hidden gems and lesser-known attractions that are a must-visit for those who seek a deeper connection with nature and local culture. In this article, we will unveil these experiences, taking you beyond the well-trodden path.
Kuttanad: Experience The Village Life:
Kuttanad, often referred to as the “Rice Bowl of India,” offers a glimpse into the rural life of Alleppey. It’s a region characterized by dense paddy fields, meandering waterways, coconut groves, fishing, duck farming, and spice cultivation. Exploring Kuttanad lets you witness farming at a unique 4-10 feet below sea level, an intriguing experience in itself. As part of the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems, Kuttanad immerses you in the rustic charm of rural India.
Major attractions: Heritage Agricultural System, picturesque waterways, and coconut-lined farmlands.
Kayaking: Indulge In Activities & Go Birdwatching:
Alleppey’s backwaters are a haven for rare and exquisite migratory birds. Species such as Stork Billed and White Throated Kingfishers, White Breasted Waterhen, Black Drongo, Asian Palm Swift, and Jungle Myna make for fantastic birdwatching opportunities. You can enhance this experience by going kayaking or canoeing, with dedicated birdwatching tours available for an immersive adventure.
Beaches: Watch The Sun Go Down:
Alleppey’s beach, known as Alappuzha, has historical significance in India’s maritime history. The beach boasts a picturesque lighthouse offering breathtaking views. In addition to its beauty, you can explore marine artifacts, coir products, and a 137-year-old pier extending into the sea. It’s the perfect place for boat racing, relaxation, and archaeological exploration.
Ideal for: Nature enthusiasts, peace seekers, photography enthusiasts.
Spa: Rejuvenate Yourself With Ayurveda Session:
Ayurveda is synonymous with Kerala, and Alleppey offers a range of resorts and spas that provide Ayurvedic treatments. While the effectiveness may vary, the spa experiences promise relaxation and rejuvenation. You can choose from several resorts, such as Krishna Ayurveda and Keraleeyam, to embark on a journey of well-being.
Perfect for: Urban souls seeking rejuvenation.
Temples: Indulge In Spiritualism:
Alleppey is steeped in religious heritage, with temples and churches that showcase the region’s cultural richness. You can explore the spiritual heart of Alleppey by visiting places such as St. Mary’s Church and Nagaraja Temple.Suited for: Devotees, history enthusiasts, and photographers.
Shopping: Buy Souvenirs For Your Loved Ones:
Alleppey offers a treasure trove of exotic South Indian jewelry, trinkets, handicrafts, and artifacts. The spice country boasts some of the best products in the region, often at affordable prices. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Alappuzha Zakariya Market to shop for spices, South Indian handicrafts, and fresh fish.
Ideal for: Shopaholics.
Snake Boat Race: Witness Practice Sessions:
If you’re visiting Alleppey in August, don’t miss the chance to witness the Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race. While the race itself is a thrilling spectacle, the overcrowded stands can limit the experience. Consider visiting in June during the practice sessions when you can interact with the rowers, capture photographs, and learn about the history of this historic Indian sport.
Great for: Fans of traditional Indian sports, photography enthusiasts.
Pozhiyoram Beach – Swim and Watch an Amazing Sunset:
Pozhiyoram Beach, although small, offers a serene and picturesque setting for swimming and capturing stunning sunsets. The waves can be quite intense, providing an opportunity for a delightful beach experience. Reach this beach via a rickshaw ride from the main town and witness the mesmerizing red sun melting into the waters, framed by Chinese fishing nets, creating captivating silhouettes.
Recommended for: Swimmers, peace seekers, nature lovers, and photography enthusiasts.
Homestays: Get a Home-Like Feeling Away From Home:
Rather than opting for traditional resorts and hotels, Alleppey offers unique homestays that provide a personalized vacation experience. These accommodations are quaint, serene, and offer insights into local heritage and traditions. Staying in homestays allows you to connect with welcoming hosts and explore Alleppey’s historical richness.
Perfect for: Peace seekers and backpackers.
Seafood: Gorge On Authentic Food:
Alleppey’s rich flora and fauna translate into a delectable and authentic cuisine. Indulge in mouthwatering dishes featuring shrimps, prawns, and other South Indian delicacies. Don’t miss the opportunity to go fishing and cook your own catch. The culinary offerings, including Chettinad Chicken and various chicken curries, will leave your taste buds longing for more.
Recommended for: Foodies.
Backwaters Date: Take Your Loved One on a Trip:
The Alleppey backwaters offer a mesmerizing aquamarine experience that you won’t forget. Navigate through narrow canals that wind their way through paddy fields, all aboard a traditional houseboat. These houseboats are like floating resorts, complete with a chef, an attendant, and a personal sailor, offering a unique and romantic way to explore the essence of Kerala.
A must-do for: First-time visitors to Kerala.
Elephant Parade: Experience the Royal Side of Alleppey:
If you’re visiting Alleppey in January, consider attending the Adoor Gajamela, a 10-day festival featuring adorned elephants. These majestic creatures are accompanied by riders who hold umbrellas for them, creating a grand spectacle that provides a unique glimpse into the cultural richness of Alleppey.
Nightwalk: Gear Up For a Crazy Campfire:
Exploring Alleppey at night by taking a peaceful night walk along the backwaters allows you to immerse yourself in the soothing sounds of the region. Interact with locals, share stories, and experience the local culture. Many homestays and guest houses offer guided night walks, providing deep insights into Kerala’s heritage and way of life.
Ideal for: Enthusiasts, curious travelers, families, and friends.
Activities: Indulge Yourself in Fun Experiences:
No vacation is complete without indulging in activities, followed by leisurely moments. Alleppey’s beaches offer various water activities such as boating, canoeing, kayaking, and parasailing. After an adventurous day, relax under the shade of coconut trees and watch the gentle waves, making for a perfect way to unwind.
Perfect for: Adventure enthusiasts and relaxation seekers.
Revi Karunakaran Museum: Gazing upon the Crystal Collection:
The Revi Karunakaran Museum is a treasure trove of exquisite crystals and ancient artworks. Displaying a variety of crystals collected by the Karunakaran family, the museum also features Swarovski crystal collections, Tanjore paintings, ivory works, antique furniture, and traditional artifacts. Exploring this museum is a journey into the artistic heritage of Alleppey.
Suited for: History buffs and art lovers.
Kalaripayattu: Learn This Traditional Art:
For those seeking unique and enriching experiences, learning Kalaripayattu, an ancient martial art form practiced in Kerala, is a perfect choice. Engaging in Kalaripayattu not only keeps your body fit but also allows you to delve into Kerala’s rich cultural heritage.
Ideal for: Adventure enthusiasts and culture seekers.
Ambalapuzha Temple: Relish Sweet Milk Porridge:
A visit to the Ambalapuzha Temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna, offers a magical experience. The temple’s beautiful interior adorned with colorful paintings and a massive pond enhances the spiritual ambiance. During aarti time, visitors are served Payasam, a delightful rice and milk pudding, providing a taste of divinity.
Perfect for: Spiritual seekers and devotees.
Marari Beach: Reserve a Picnic Day with Family:
Marari Beach in Alleppey is a tranquil paradise, perfect for spending quality time with family and friends. Its serene ambiance, coupled with the opportunity for peaceful strolls, swimming, and witnessing the sunset without the bustling tourist crowds, makes it an ideal spot for a relaxing picnic day.
Recommended for: Families, nature lovers, and peace seekers.
Pozhiyoram Beach: Watch the Mesmerizing Sunset:
Pozhiyoram Beach offers a therapeutic escape where you can unwind while watching the sensational sunset views. The calming effect of viewing the sunrise and sunset against the stunning backdrop of Alleppey’s landscape is unparalleled. Pozhiyoram Beach, known for its water sports, provides a peaceful setting for experiencing the therapeutic effects of sunset gazing.
Suited for: Nature enthusiasts and tranquility seekers.
Floating Triveni: Buy Vegetables on a Boat:
Missing the Floating Market in Alleppey would be a regrettable oversight. The Triveni market provides a unique shopping experience where you can buy rice, spices, vegetables, jewelry, and even small gadgets while sailing in a small boat or canoe. This delightful combination of shopping and boating adds a charming touch to your Alleppey visit.
Perfect for: Families, nature lovers, and shoppers.
Elephant Training Camp: Interact with Baby Elephants:
The Elephant Training Camp in Kerala offers a heartwarming opportunity to interact with abandoned, injured, and rescued elephants. Visitors can watch these majestic creatures bathe, eat, and play under strict supervision. Spending time with these elephants provides a memorable experience and contributes to wildlife conservation efforts.
Great for: Animal lovers and families.
International Coir Museum: Learn Coconut Craft :
The International Coir Museum in Alleppey showcases a variety of products made from dried coconut husk. Visitors can explore a range of items, including bags, ornaments, wall hangings, and miniatures of birds and animals made from coconut. Additionally, you can try your hand at creating these crafts, gaining a new skill during your visit.
Suited for: Families with kids, students, and art enthusiasts.
Coir Weaving: Observe During the Factory Visit :
Coir weaving is a significant industry in Alleppey. Visiting coir factories allows you to learn about the coir business and the production process. You can observe the intricacies of coir weaving, and perhaps purchase coir products as souvenirs. A factory visit offers an educational experience, giving you insights into the region’s traditional craftsmanship.
Ideal for: Explorers and families.
Alleppey, with its captivating backwaters and houseboats, is undeniably a gem in Kerala’s tourism crown. However, the town’s lesser-known attractions and unique experiences provide a multifaceted journey for travelers. From exploring rural life in Kuttanad to indulging in the therapeutic art of sunset gazing at Pozhiyoram Beach, Alleppey offers an array of activities catering to diverse interests. By delving into these hidden charms, travelers can truly embrace the essence of Alleppey, making their visit an unforgettable and enriching experience. So, when planning your trip to Alleppey, be sure to venture beyond the obvious and uncover the town’s hidden treasures, for they are the ones that create the most cherished memories.