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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Alappuzha (Kerala-India)

Alappuzha is the much famous backwater of Kerala, the prime reason to visit God's own country. Kissed by the waves of the Arabian Sea, the canals and shores, outlined with palm trees, the country-side glimpses, the lagoons, picturesque lake sides and long sandy beaches, all of this make Alappuzha, or Alleppey one of the most visited destinations of tourists from abroas as well as from within the country.

Houseboat info: Hire a houseboat for anything between Rs. 5000/- to Rs. 15,000/- on a per night basis. AC or non-AC, 01 / 02 or 03 room, attached bathroom. All the houseboats have a crew comprising of a cleaner, captain, cook, and helper. The crew will assist you in selecting the day’s fresh catch, which will most likely be shown to you by a fisherman who will row in on his boat and come near your houseboat, so that you can peek into his catch and select what you want as your meal. The dish will be mouth-watering to say the least.

To reach: Cochin airport, 64 kms to the north. ; international airport 159 kms to the south ; located on the NH 47 and well connected with all important towns in south India.

Important bus timings: Bangalore 1400 hrs (duration 17 hrs), Coimbatore 0615 hrs (duration 07 hrs), Cochin frequent service (duration 01 1/2 hrs), Trivandrum frequent service (duration 03 1/2 hrs), Quilon buses every 02 hrs. (all buses going to Trivandrum pass through Quilon, duration 02 hrs), frequent buses to Kottayam, Trichur, Palghat and Calicut. Railway station is located 05 kms from bus and ferry station. Alappuzha is connected by rail to cities like Cochin, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Bokaro.

Railway enquiry: 253965, 253865. linked by boat service through backwaters to Quilon, Changanassery, Kottayam, Cochin, Kumarakom, Kovalam, Chengannur. Contact ferry services : 0477- 252015

Alappuzha beach: The beach here is one of the cleanest and most beautiful beaches in India.

To reach: any local transport from Alappuzha

Nearby attractions: visit the Vijaya Park and the Sea View Park, both of which have boating facilities. A children's park with toy trains and bicycles is also located at Vijaya Park. Timings 1500 - 2000 hrs.

Additional info: at the beach, look for a sign that displays a food joint called UPSTAIRS. It is an authentic Italian eatery owned and personally supervised by an Italian lady. Sample the lasagna, pasta and other day-specials.

Warning: Children should not go near the water without adult supervision; heed warning signs and avoid going in the water during high tide and monsoon

Ambalapuzha temple: the temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. It is in this temple that the ritual of Pallipana is performed by Velans, once in every 12 years. Pallipana is an art form performed by sorcerers (Velan). In ancient times, human sacrifice was performed here, which has now been replaced by the sacrifice of cocks. the temple is also famous throughout Kerala for its "Palpayasam", milk porridge.

To reach: local transport in Alappuzha; 08 miles south of Alappuzha

Nearby attractions: Visit Karumadi, to see an image of Buddha, a relic of the times when Buddhism flourished in the state. Backwaters and canals in Allepey