The Venice of the East holds a reputation for its spectacular backwaters. It’s what tourists from all over the world pay tons of money to experience. But, do you know that Alleppey also has a charm beyond its backwaters? While it is nice to experience the adventures of lazing around in a boat in the middle of fringed waters with paddy fields around, it is equally important to explore the place around. Here are a few places in Alleppey you can visit after you are done enjoying your boat ride.
Marari, short for Mararikulam, is a beach 11 km away from Alleppey. The name is inspired by the fishing community that lives in the Mararikulam village. It’s considered to be one of the best beaches in Kerala. The turquoise water and white sand with coconut palms spread across have left many visitors at a loss for words. It’s not hard to imagine spending a whole day here frolicking in the waters and basking in the sunshine.
Apart from the beach, the place is also home to a 140-year-old lighthouse, the Mararikulam Shiva Temple, the Kokkamangalam Apostle St. Thomas Pilgrim Centre, and a Dutch Palace built by the Portuguese in 1555.
Coir Weaving Community
Another interesting fact about Alleppey is that it is the coir weaving hub of Kerala. Right from extracting the fibre from coconut husks and processing it to creating handicrafts, you will see it all here. There are many small coir weaving businesses across the village. Befriend a local and they will take you to one to experience the whole process first-hand.
There’s also an International Coir museum located in Kalavoor, Alleppey that you can go to. You will find information about the history of the coir industry in Kerala, and the traditional processes used in its making. They also have a souvenir shop where visitors can shop a wide range of coir handicrafts, coir doormats, coir ornaments etc.
Revi Karunakaran Museum
Speaking of the coir community in Alleppey, the Revi Karunakaran Museum is another place you can visit. It is dedicated to one of the well-known coir industrialists and businessmen of Kerala, Revi Karunakaran. His wife, Betty Karunakaran, built the museum for him. It has a huge assemblage of Revi’s art collection, ivory and crystal collections, Tanjore paintings, and more.
What’s really special about this really small shrine is that it contains a three-foot-tall, half Buddha statue that dates back somewhere between the 9th and 14th century AD. The statue is made of solid black granite. It is believed that a British Engineer named Sir Robert Bristow found this statue in 1930 and built a shine to preserve it.
St. Andrew’s Basilica
The majestic St. Andrew’s Basilica church in Arthunkal is claimed to be the largest shrine of Saint Sebastian in all of the world. Even though the church dates back to the 16th century, it was rebuilt in 1584 under the priest Jacomo Fenicio.
Race of chundan vallam
The Nehru Trophy boat race is a spectacle to watch in the month of August. With over 400 years of history to it, this boat race has attracted people from all over the world. It is held on Alleppey’s Punnamda Lake and is one of the highlights of Onam.
As part of the Kuttanad Development Scheme, the Thanneermukkom Bund is the largest mud regulator you’ll find in India. It divides Lake Vembanad into two parts and connects Kottayam and Alappuzha.
This particular island is famous for its bird sanctuary. 91 local species of birds and 50 migratory birds reside on this island. The best time to visit this island is from November to May.
St. Mary Forane Church
You have to visit this church for its beautiful sculpture, murals, architecture and blue water views. You will not find a more beautiful church than this in Alleppey. Many people believe that this church was constructed in 427 AD.
Looks like you have a lot to do while in Alleppey. If we have missed out on any hotspot to visit in this beautiful paradise, let us know in the comments below.
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