Are you thinking of a vacation in Kerala? Now is a good time. The monsoon is slowly receding and the sun is popping out. It is lush green. The air is festive, making it an ideal time to head to Alappuzha. Known as the Venice of the East, Alappuzha has always been an important place in the maritime history of the state. There are references to this beautiful place with its backwaters and lagoons dating back to the days of Pliny and Ptolemy. We list five reasons why you should head to Alappuzha in August.
The rush of adrenaline
Allow us to go back in time, to 1952. During one of his visits, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru took a trip from Kottayam to Alappuzha in a boat. The locals went all out to make his visit special by organizing a water regatta. Nehru was so happy and excited that he is said to have actually jumped into the boat that stood first. Later, after he returned to New Delhi, he donated a rolling trophy and said that the race should be an annual event.
And it is. One of the most competitive of all the snake boat races held in the state, the Nehru Trophy Boat race is very special. Held on the second Saturday of August, every year, it is highly evocative in the collective psyche. People come from far and near to see the sinewy men rowing ferociously. The excitement is palpable. The vanchipattu or the oarsman’s song, the cheer that goes up from the crowd, and the rush of adrenaline is something you have to experience in person.
And, remember, this is just one of the many boat races that Alappuzha hosts.
Laid back backwaters
On all other days, except when there is a Vallamkali or a snake boat race, life goes on as usual along the backwaters. It is laid back, relaxing and rejuvenating. You can go on exploring the many sights and sounds of the village life along the backwaters. A houseboat, though expensive is an ideal way of taking in the rustic village life.
Alappuzha, as you know is a maze of backwaters and lagoons. And the beach is never really too far off. Making it all the more enticing to explore on a boat. And do stop by and see how they weave coir from coconut husks.
Explore the unexplored
The beaches are alluring and the backwaters enticing. But there is much more to Alappuzha that you have to see. Take a trip to Pandi Bird Sanctuary.
History and culture
Being a busy port, Alappuzha has had a long history of trade. Trysts with other religions are part and parcel of the local life. Buddhism flourished here long ago, and Karumadikuttan, an ancient statue of the Buddha bears mute testimony to that fact. Dalai Lama had made a visit to this shrine during his tour in 1965.
The ancient church at Kokkamangalam traces its history to the days of St Thomas, who is said to have arrived in Kerala in AD 52. And there are other ancient places of worship like Mannarasala where snakes are venerated.
Sumptuous sea food
Being close to the coastal area, it is a haven for those who love sea food. Fresh catch makes the eating out experience here unique too. Indulge.