One might have dreamt of visiting heaven, Well Alappuzha, known as Alleppey, a town in Kerala situated 70 km away from Cochin might as well be the next best thing to heaven.
Considered to be one of the oldest planned town in this region, its famous for its houseboats and the lighthouse built on the coast of the town which the is first of its kind.
Popular among tourists, it is a honeymoon destination as well as a paradise for flora and fauna lovers.
The pristine backwaters flanked by palm trees have earned it the name “Venice of the East”.
Kerala has a passion for boats throughout its history and this is personified by the fabulous snake-boat races (Chundan Vallam) which happens on second Saturday in the month of August.
Proud of its rich heritage, Alleppey boasts of lagoons, palm fringed waterways, sandy beaches and lush green coconut palms.
Not to forget its famous dish of fish curry as well as fried prawns combined with the most famous drink in Kerala-toddy.
Alleppey like other towns in Kerala is a paradise for sea food lovers! The sun-kissed beaches, the timeless coves, the bustling shores and canals will bowl you over and leave you wanting for more.
For people living amidst the backwaters, much of their life depends a lot on the lake.
What is really interesting is to see some houses built below the level of water at places, protected by bunds to stop water from rushing in.
Where there are people, there will be vendors.
The backwaters also serve as a metropolis.
One sees restaurants facing the canals, some serving the locals and some positioned for the tourists.
There are vendors selling fish, food and several household materials, rowing their tiny boat with their wares.
It is astonishing how the canals are not very different from roads.
The art, culture and customs of the people of Alappuzha district are mostly the same as those of the people in other districts of central Kerala.
The folk songs in the fields during sowing and harvesting, the awakening songs by the Panans, and a few other dance forms of the traditional style associated with festivals like Onam can still be seen.
Alappuzha has contributed to the language of Malayalam and its literature.
Temples, churches and mosques add sudden burst to the otherwise blue and green expanse of the backwaters.
Sometimes they appear to be completely inaccessible, which is true to some extent because a lot of places in the backwaters can only be approached by a boat, with no road access to the places.
Alleppey is also home to various religious destinations like the Mullakkal Rajeshwari Temple, Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple, St.Andrew's Church, St.
Sebastian's Church and the Champakulam Church to name a few.
An event not worth missing is the fabulous snake-boat race held in August.
Known as the Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race, it is a sight to behold as each snake-boat manned by over a hundred oarsmen zoom through the water, competing for the cup.
The best time to visit Alleppey would be October to November as the Climate is at it s best during this time.
Alleppey has its fair share of problems in terms of pollution, besides which it is one of the most recommended places to visit.
With its unmatched scenic beauty and its incredibly tasty sea food, there is no question that Alleppey is a shining star for the state of Kerala and for our country.