Marco Polo referred to this land as the "Venice of the East !". This ancient port town was once the busiest port of call on the South western seaboard of the Indian subcontinent. Located in Central Kerala, Alleppey is a network of canals, rivers, backwaters, Snakeboat races and the practice of cultivating paddy below sea level !
Kuttanad : Kuttanad, called the rice bowl of Kerala because of her wealth of paddy crops, is at the very heart of the backwaters. The scenic countryside of Kuttanad with its shimmering waterways also has a rich crop of banana, cassava and yam. This is perhaps the only region in the world where farming is done 1.5 to 2 m below sea level. Inland waterways which flow above land level are an amazing feature of this region.
Alappuzha beach : This is one of the most popular picnic spots in Alappuzha. The pier, which extends into the sea here, is over 137 years old. Entertainment facilities at the Vijaya beach park add to the attractions of the beach. There is also an old lighthouse which is greatly fascinating to visitors. The Vijaya beach park: Picnic spot with children's park & boating facilities (Open 1500 - 2000 hrs). Entrance fee Rs. 2 per person; Free entrance for children below 5 years. Boating charge: Rs. 10 for 10 minutes. Other facilities for children: Toy train, bicycles, Video permit Rs. 25, Camera permit: Rs. 5 respectively.
Pathiramanal (1/2 hours by motor boat/30 min. by speedboat from Alappuzha): According to mythology a young brahmin dived into the Vembanad Lake to perform his evening ablutions and the water made way for land to rise from below, thus creating the enchanting island of Pathiramanal (sands of midnight). This little island on the backwaters is a favourite haunt of hundreds of rare migratory birds from different parts of the world. The island lies between Thaneermukkom and Kumarakom, and is accessible only by boat.
Q S T and R Block Kayal : These regions are wonders of the indigenous agricultural engineering know-how of Kerala and remind the visitor of the famous dikes of Holland. Extensive areas of land has been reclaimed from the backwaters and are protected by dikes built all around. Here cultivation and habitation are made possible four to ten feet below sea level. A leisurely cruise along the canals that surround these kayals is a memorable experience.
Krishnapuram Palace (47 km from Alappuzha): Built by Marthanda Varma, this palace at Karthikapally in Kayamkulam is famous for its mural depicting the story of Gajendramoksham. Dating back to the 18th century, this exquisite piece of art is one of the largest murals in Kerala. The palace museum houses antique sculptures, paintings and bronzes.