A picture postcard advertisement for Kerala tourism, Alappuzha, or Alleppey as it is popularly called, is a delightful mix of serene backwaters, quiet villages, lush green landscapes, breathtaking beaches and lip-smacking local food. While it’s quite easy to get lost in the quietude of the backwaters, the cultural aspect of the city is equally attractive. It is famous for its boat races, marine products and coir industry. Cochin International Airport is the closest airport connecting Alappuzha.
What to see
If you’re an art lover, a visit to the Revi Karunakaran Museum is a must. Revered for playing a pivotal role in developing the coir industry of Kerala, Revi Karunakaran had an excellent eye for a multitude of art forms. The ivory and crystal collections are among the largest of its kind. A group of Tanjore paintings are a real treat along with a 200 sq. ft. mural made entirely from vegetable dyes. Its special ‘Kerala Room’ has over 3,800 unique pieces that chart the growth and evolution of the culture of Kerala.
What to do
The backwaters of Kerala are a web of waterways that form a natural inland transport network. The houseboats in the backwaters of Alappuzha are a reworked version of the traditional kettuvallam boats of olden times. Kettu refers to dwelling structures and vallom means boat. The beautifully crafted houseboats have every modern comfort. You can stay, cook, relax in the inbuilt jacuzzi, or enjoy your evening in the balcony of the boat. Kumarakom has the most luxurious accommodations, all strung along the shores of Vembanad Lake. Ayurvedic massages need no introduction in Alappuzha. Many resorts promise Ayurvedic therapies and are a huge draw for tourists.
What to eat
The geographical location of Alappuzha makes it easy to access high grade produce. Kerala has a wide range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare and people flock to these parts to taste the unique flavour of the food here. Vegetarians can try sadya, a feast that can include 28 dishes! If you love fish, options include fish mappas, fish moilee, prawns chilly fry or grilled seer fish.
Where to stay
While countless hotels and resorts offer all forms of luxury, two are worth mentioning: Lake Palace Resort and Vasundhara Sarovar Premier. Nestled on a cosy bank of the pristine Vembanad Lake, Lake Palace spreads across 14 acres of lush land. The best thing about the hotel is that it offers visitors a swimming pool that is built in a private lake and has signature Ayurvedic therapies.
The Vasundhara Sarovar Premier in Vayalar is known for its interiors that depict the vibrant art and culture of Kerala. This backwater resort offers an extensive range of facilities such as evening cruises, pedal boating, fishing, cycling, indoor and outdoor games and a designated play zone for kids. The yoga deck overlooking the Vembanad Lake, the heritage villas, a swimming pool for kids, floating cottages and multi-cuisine restaurant will make your stay memorable. They also have a opulent houseboat, which can be hired for an overnight cruise in the backwaters.
Words: Rishab Mehrotra