Introduction : Carved out of the erstwhile Kottayam and Quilon districts, Alappuzha(Alleppey) district was formed on 17th August, 1957 and consisted initially of seven taluks, namely Cherthala, Ambalappuzha, Kuttanad, Thiruvalla, Chengannur, Karthikappally and Mavelikkara.
The name Alappuzha is derived from the geographical position and physical features of the place. It means the land between the sea and network of rivers flowing into it. The district is bounded on the north by Kochi and Kanayannur taluks of Ernakulam district, on the east by Vaikom, Kottayam and Changanassery taluks of Kottayam district and Thiruvalla, Kozhencherry and Adoor taluks of Pathanamthitta district, on the South by Kunnathur and Karunagappally taluks of Kollam district and on the west by Lakshadweep sea.
The present Alappuzha district comprises of six taluks namely Cherthala, Ambalappuzha, Kuttanad, Karthikappally, Chengannur and Mavelikkara. Total area of this district is 1414 sq. kms. The district head quarters is located at Alappuzha.
Alappuzha beach: This is one of the most popular picnic spots in Alappuzha. The pier, which extends into the sea here, is over 137 years old. Entertainment facilities at the Vijaya beach park add to the attractions of the beach. There is also an old lighthouse which is greatly fascinating to visitors.
The Vijaya beach park: Picnic spot with children's park & boating facilities (Open 1500 - 2000 hrs). Entrance fee Rs. 2 per person; Free entrance for children below 5 years. Other facilities for children: Toy train, bicycles Video permit, Camera permit.
Kuttanad: Kuttanad, called the rice bowl of Kerala 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.
Pathiramanal (11/2 hours by motor boat/30 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.
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 diety 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 five-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.
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 19th.
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 km 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 (24 km 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.
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 (47 km 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 18th century, this exquisite piece of art is one of the largest murals in Kerala. The palace museum houses antique sculptures, paintings and bronzes.
The climate is moist and hot in the coast and slightly cool and dry in the interior of the district. The average monthly temperature is 250C. The district also gets the benefit of two outstanding monsoons as in the case of other parts of the state.
Hot season - March to May
South-west monsoon (Edavappathi) - June to September
North-east monsoon (Thulavarsham) - October to November
Dry weather - December to February
The district has 8 reporting rain gauge stations at Arookutty, Cherthala, Alappuzha, Ambalapuzha, Harippad, Kayamkulam, Mavelikkara and Chengannur as recorded in 1989. The average rainfall in the district is 2763 mm.
Connectivity- The intricate network of canals and backwaters connect the city to the districts or cities of Kottayam and Kochi.
Air: You can reach Alappuzha by air. The closest airport is at Cochin, 64 km. The Thiruvananthapuram Airport is 159 km away.
Rail: There are railways connected to Cochin and Thiruvananthapuram.
Road: NH 47 passes through Alappuzha. Alappuzha is linked to MC Road by the Changanassery Road.
Water: Boat services to Cochin 5.30 hrs, Kollam 8 hrs, Changanasserry 3 hrs and Kottayam 2.30 hrs.