An Alleppey backwater cruise is the most famous thing to do in the small town off the city of Ernakulam in Kerala. The coastal town is criss-crossed with backwater canals on which ultra-luxury houseboats glide along, giving you a peek inside the local life of Alleppey. While this is a great way to spend a luxury holiday in India, there are other things that can occupy you during your stay in a deluxe houseboat. Here is handy guide of things to see and do in and around Alleppey, that will leave you enriched.
- Mararikulam Beach
Only 14km from Alleppey, Mararikulam Beach is a fishing village now morphed into a beachside resort village with high-end luxury homestays and hotels fringing the Arabian Sea. Travellers throng the Marari beach at sunset to see the orange hued sky throw a spectacular show to culminate the day. Some even choose to stay a night here, to unwind by the sounds of the waves.
- Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple
The Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple (15km from Alleppey) was built between the 15th– 17th century by the local ruler Chembakasserry Pooradam Thirunal-Devanarayanan Thampuran. The sprawling temple dedicated to Lord Krishna is a glimpse into history and architecture of Kerala. There is a large stepped well in the temple known as the kalyani. There is also a resident elephant who is the highlight for visitors. The temple is a busy place with devotees from all over the state who come from far flung places to pay homage. In fact, the payasam (sweet dessert) of the temple is extremely popular with them. It is recommended to visit the temple during the Chambakulam Moolam water festival or the Aaraattu festival that takes place in March or April.
Please note that non-Hindu guests may not be allowed inside the sanctum but can roam around the temple complex.
The small town of Aranmula has tall tales attached to it. It is known for the ancient Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple that stands on the banks of the Pamba River, and the kannadi (mirror) – a shiny reflective mirror made from a special alloy. The temple holds a special place in the hearts of Hindu devotees, as this is one of the 108 “Divya Desams” of Vishnu revered by the 12 poet saints. For travellers, a trip to the kannadi artisan home is as special as the temple. These unique alloy mirrors take from Kerala’s rich cultural and metallurgical traditions. The mirrors have great historical and cultural value. People like to keep them at homes, since they bring good luck. In fact, the kannadis are made only in the homes of one extended family of Aranmula. The origins of the Aranmula mirror go back to the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple.
- Fort Kochi
Located 60 km from Alleppey, Fort Kochi is one of the destinations that travellers like to club with Alleppey. It is a convenient day long trip, where one can roam the cobble-stone streets of the erstwhile Dutch town. There are a number of fascinating things about Fort Kochi, including the Dutch cemetery, the Vasco Church (where the explorer was initially laid to rest), Chinese fishing nets, antique shops, Maritime museum, the Basilica and some great hole in the wall eating joints. The cafes and art galleries of Fort Kochi are extremely relaxing and loved by the travellers.
Located 132km north of Alleppey, Guruvayur is known for its Lord Krishna Temple. The sprawling temple has a large complex, but the sanctum is a cosy spot with an idol of Krishna tucked below heaps of flowers and jewels. One can only enter the temple in traditional clothes like a mund (for men) and saris (for women). The temple is also famous for mass weddings that happen in a large hall. What is more fascinating is a facility for temple elephants close to the temple. The green haven with many water bodies is the resting place for off-duty temple elephants. Guests can go and feed and bathe the elephants, or watch them as their mahouts give them massages. This is a popular activity for travellers with kids.
If you’re spending 48 hours in Alleppey, you can cover all these top destinations around Alleppey.