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Kerala in southern India is famous for its enchanting backwaters. The serenity and calm of Kerala backwaters attract tourists from around the world. The sense of ethereal peace felt in the tranquil backwaters of Kerala has to be experienced to be truly appreciated. Stay at a Kerala backwater hotel and let the magic of God's Own Country mesmerize you.

 

Kerala backwater destinations have a number of hotels that cater to the growing demand for backwater cruises in Kerala, India The tourism destinations of Kochi (Cochin) Alappuzha, Kollam, Kumarakom, Kozhikode and Varkala are popular starting points for Kerala backwater cruises and tours.


 

Alleppey

Alleppey is surrounded by waterways and canals and is therefore also called the "Venice of the East " Alappuzha is famous for the beautiful backwaters surrounding it. Many Kerala Backwater cruises begin or end in Alappuzha. It is best holiday package for honeymoon couples. The backwaters with water birds and flowers and greenery along their banks are a beautiful and refreshing sight. See the serene attractions of Alappuzha on Kerala tours with Kerala Backwater.

Alappuzha is also known as a center of the coir industry. Coir is made from the rough outer husk of the coconut. The fibers of the husk are processed and woven to make useful items including packaging material, boards, mats and brushes.

Alappuzha is famous for the Snake Boat Races held here every year around the time of the Onam festival. The giant snake boats called Chundanvalloms, race against each other for the prestigious Nehru Trophy. Prime Minster Jawaharlal Nehru donated the trophy after he received an unforgettable reception along the waterways of Alappuzha. Teams of rowers seated on the long Snake Boats with their curving prows battle it out for the honor of winning the Nehru Trophy. Crowds throng the edge of the waterways where the race is held. Many tourists come to Alappuzha to see this exciting event. Alappuzha wears a carnival atmosphere during the boat races held at the Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha. You can see the exhilarating snake boat races of Alappuzha on Kerala tours with Kerala Backwater.

Alappuzha also has a number of historic colonial buildings and a beautiful beach, with a garden alongside the beach. A pier, lighthouse and grove of palm trees are scenic attractions near the Alappuzha beach. Enjoy touring the attraction of Alappuzha in Kerala, India on Kerala tours with Kerala Backwater.

Alleppey is surrounded by waterways and canals and is therefore also called the " Venice of the East " Alappuzha is famous for the beautiful backwaters surrounding it. Many Kerala Backwater cruises begin or end in Alappuzha. It is best holiday package for honeymoon couples. The backwaters with water birds and flowers and greenery along their banks are a beautiful and refreshing sight. See the serene attractions of Alappuzha on Kerala tours with Kerala Backwater.

Alappuzha is also known as a center of the coir industry. Coir is made from the rough outer husk of the coconut. The fibers of the husk are processed and woven to make useful items including packaging material, boards, mats and brushes.

Alappuzha is famous for the Snake Boat Races held here every year around the time of the Onam festival. The giant snake boats called Chundanvalloms, race against each other for the prestigious Nehru Trophy. Prime Minster Jawaharlal Nehru donated the trophy after he received an unforgettable reception along the waterways of Alappuzha. Teams of rowers seated on the long Snake Boats with their curving prows battle it out for the honor of winning the Nehru Trophy. Crowds throng the edge of the waterways where the race is held. Many tourists come to Alappuzha to see this exciting event. Alappuzha wears a carnival atmosphere during the boat races held at the Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha. You can see the exhilarating snake boat races of Alappuzha on Kerala tours with Kerala Backwater.

Alappuzha also has a number of historic colonial buildings and a beautiful beach, with a garden alongside the beach. A pier, lighthouse and grove of palm trees are scenic attractions near the Alappuzha beach. Enjoy touring the attraction of Alappuzha in Kerala, India on Kerala tours with Kerala Backwater

House boats or Kettuvallams are famous in Alleppey and most of the tourists would like to have a cruise in these floating villas.

The Prime attractions of Alappuzha Backwaters:


Punnamada Kayal
The must-visit place of Alappuzha in kerala, where the annual Nehru Trophy boat race takes place during the month of August-September .The long boats, designed to resemble snakes, can accommodate 120 people, making two rows of 60 each.

Krishnapuram Temple The two-storied building, displays the typical Keralan style of architecture. The largest mural painting, Gajendra Miksham, is displayed in a museum here.

Ambalapuzha Temple Lord Krishna is worshipped here.Here one can see the typical temple architecture and culture of Kerala along with the chance to taste the Keralan delicacy, payasam.

St. Andrew's Church Established by the Portuguese missionaries, celebrates the feast of St. Sebastian in a fun-filled, festive way.

Mullackal Temple Dedicated to goddess Rajarajeswari, is also a place worth visiting.

The Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple
This temple is believed to have miraculous powers and hence visited by number of pilgrims every year.

Kumarakom

Kumarakom is an entrancingly beautiful tourist spot in Kerala. The rippling backwaters reflect the azure blue sky. The amazing shades of the green vegetation that include mangroves, coconut palms and paddy fields cover the verdant countryside.
Channels and waterways wind their way through this green paradise. Water lilies and lotuses bloom in the water and birds from the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary call as they fly across the clear tropical sky.

Kumarakom is an idyllic holiday destination that you must visit on your Kerala holidays. Kumarakom is situated 15 km from Kottayam on the Vembanad lake. It is best described as a small, picturesque rural village in Kottayam. It is a small group of islands spread on Vembanad lake.

Kumarakom bird sanctuary is popular among bird watchers and nature lovers. Many rare varieties of birds especially seasonal birds can be seen there.

Kochi

Kochi (colonial name Cochin) is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula in the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of Kerala, hailed as 'God's Own Country'. Its strategic importance over the centuries is underlined by the sobriquet Queen of the Arabian Sea. Informally, Cochin is also referred to as the Gateway to Kerala.

From time immemorial, the Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch, and Portuguese have left indelible marks on the history and development of Cochin. Over the years, Cochin has emerged as the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala and is perhaps the second most important city on the west coast of India (after Mumbai/Bombay). Cochin is proud of its world class port and international airport that link it to many major cities worldwide.

Places to visit in Kochi
Art complex - Madhavan Nayar Foundation, Edappally - Located at Edappally, 10 kms north of Ernakulam en route to Alwaye, the complex consists of two units: the Gallery of Paintings and Sculptures which presents over 200 original paintings by contemporary Indian artists, some of them internationally acclaimed, and works of reputed Indian sculptors. The other unit, the Centre for Visual Arts is reserved for authentic reproductions of selected world masters from Leonardo da Vinci to those of the present century. The centre also exhibits certain larger-than-life mural reproductions of ancient Indian Art. Open 10 AM to 5 PM. Closed on Mondays and Public Holidays.

Chinese fishing nets
These fixed, cantilevered fishing nets, at the entrance of the harbour and along the backwaters, were introduced by traders from the court of Kublai Khan. Records show that they were first erected between AD 1350 and 1450. The best place to watch these nets is from Vasco da Gama square, a narrow promenade that lies parallel to the beach.

Dutch cemetery
Consecrated in 1724, here's an authentic reminder of the many men and women from Europe who came down all the way to play out their roles in the colonial 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.

Dutch palace, Mattancherry
The Palace, originally built by the Portuguese and presented to the Cochin raja Veera Kerala Varma in 1555, acquired its present name after 1663 when the Dutch carried out some extensive repairs. The Cochin rajas held their coronation ceremoniesin the Central Hall of this double-storey quadrangular building. Rooms adjacent contain breathtaking 17th-century murals depicting scenes from the Puranas and the great epics - the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.Open 10 AM to 5 PM. Closed on Fridays.

Fort cochin beach
An ideal place for an evening stroll and to watch a spectacular sunset. Bathing and swimming are not recommended here. The colourful carnival at New Year's Eve is a feature of this beach.

Hill palace museum, Tripunithura
Set on top of a hillock, this prodigious palace-turned-museum displays 13 categories of exhibits, including paintings, carvings and other royal antiquities donated by the Cochin and Travancore royal families and the Paliam Devaswom. The Heritage Museum, located on the rear side of the palace buildings, familiarizes you with the traditional lifestyles of ancient Kerala. As part of the establishment of a mini zoo, a deer park is run by the Society for the Preservation of Hill Palace Premises. The museum premises have also been converted into a botanical garden with exotic tropical trees from central America to Australia. Located 11 kms east of Ernakulam, en route to Chottanikara. Open 9 AM to 5 PM. Closed on Mondays.

Indo-portuguese museum
Located within the compound of the beautiful 1506 Bishop's House, the museum established in a seperate building showcases artefacts like statues and coins left back by the Portuguese.

Jewish synagogue, Mattancherry
Built in 1568, this is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth. The Great Scrolls of the Old Testament, copper plates on which the grants of privilege made by the Cochin rulers were recorded, gold and silver crowns gifted by various patrons to the synagogue, exquisite Chinese hand-painted willow patterned floor tiles, and the synagogue's elaborate lighting are of interest. Open 10 AM to 12 Noon and 3 PM to 5 PM. Closed on Saturdays and Jewish holidays.

Museum of kerala history, Edappally
Located along with the Art Complex at Edappally, it is a Sound and Light show presenting thirty five scenes from the political, social, and cultural history of Kerala. Commentaries in English and Malayalam. Open 10 AM to 4 PM. Closed on Mondays and Public Holidays.

Santa cruz basilica
Originally built by the Portuguese, this church was elevated to a Cathedral by Pope Paul IV in 1558. The church was totally demolished by the British who took over Cochin in 1795. Later Bishop Dom Gomez Ferreira commissioned a new building in 1887. Santa Cruz was finally proclaimed a Basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1984. The basilica, situated close to the St. Francis Church, has some beautiful paintings

St. Francis church
Originally built by Portuguese Franciscan friars in 1503, it is believed to be the oldest existing European church in India. The original structure was made of wood, but was rebuilt in stone around the mid-16th century. The church was Roman Catholic during the Portuguese period from 1503 to 1663, Dutch Reform from 1664 to 1804, and Anglican from 1804 to 1947. Today it is governed by the Church of South India. After his death, Vasco da Gama was buried here in 1524 before his remains were transferred to Lisbon, 14 years later. Of interest are the rope-operated punkahs, or manual fans.

Mohiniyattom

Mohinyattom is a dance of the charmer. It is a seductive dance performed by women, sensuous in appeal. Mohini means the temptress, a character in Hindhu mythology and Attom means dance. Being parallel to the Bharatanatyam of Tamil Nadu, Mohiniyattom dance is performed only by women. In Mohiniyattom, the symmetrical patterns of emotion flow in balanced nuances with smooth footwork, somewhat quickened body movements and special music.

The technique of Mohiniyattom lies in between Kathakali and Bharathanatyam. Combining the formal grace and elegance of Bharathanatyam, with the earthy vigour and dynamism of Kathakali, Mohiniyattom presents delicate expressions of the one with the stylised eye movements and co-ordinates the instinct with charm, subtle allure and seductive appeal. In the rendering of this style there is enchantment, grace, delicacy and passion. There are no abrupt jerks or leaps in Mohiniyattom nor is their any inordinately hard stamping of the foot. The gesture language of Mohiniyattom is largely similar to that of Bharathanatyam but it also incorporates elements from Kathakali tradition. The music for the dance is pure carnatic classical.

Mohiniyattom is mainly the Lasya dance performed strictly according to scriptures of Natya Shastra. It is a lovely fusion of the parallel streams of dance in the eastern and western regions of South India. The presentation styles of Mohiniyattom comprise of the Cholkettu, the Varnam, the Padam, the Thillana, the Kaikottikkali, the Kummi and the Swaram. The predominant mood of Mohiniyattom is Sringaram.

Tribal Dance Forms

Kurumbar Nritham
Hill tribes of Kurumbar and Kattunayakar perform a special type of dance which is staged in connection with marriages. Before marriage, the members of the families of both the bride and bridegroom and after marriage the newly wedded couple perform this dance.

Kaanikkar Nritham
Kaanikkar Nritham is a group dance of the kanikkar tribes. The steps of the dancers perfectly synchronise with the waving of the hands and beating of drums.

Elelakkaradi
Elelakkaradi is a highly heroic group dance in which almost the whole Irular community of men, women and children participate. The dance brings out the fight of the people against the wild bears which often attack their tribal hamlets. The various stages in the fight against the wild beasts are very well presented.

Kaadar Nritham
Kaadar Nritham is a type of tribal dance in which only women participate. It is a primitive dance of the Kaadar tribes of the forest of Kochi area. The performers arrange themselves in a semicircle holding the tip of their cloths in their hands to the level of the waist and wave it to various rhythms of the dance.

Parvalli Kali
Paravalli Kali is a mixed dance of the aboriginals of dense forest of Travancore area in which both men and women participate. They dance holding arms together, or shoulder to shoulder, linked in a backlock posture. The linked arms swing to the rhythm in a fascinating wavelike movement.

Thavala Kali
Thavalakali is a tribal dance in which a number of participants, usually boys, jump one above the other in succession, imitating the leaps of the frog.

Kooran Kali
Koorankali is another tribal dance which is similar to Mankali. One man takes the role of a wild bear with another enacting the role of hunting dog. The movements are perfectly timed to the rhythmic beats of primitive drums.

Paniyar Kali
This higly masculine dance is performed by the men folks of Panyar tribes of Wayand district. As the dance gathers momentum the circle is swiftly expanded and contracted and the dancers utter peculiar cries which gradually run up to a high pitch.

Man Kali
Man Kali is a tribal dance depicting the Ramayana episode in which Sita is being enchanted by Maricha in the guise of a golden deer is enacted in graceful movements.

Edaya Nritham
Edaya Nritham is the dance of men and women from the tribal shepherds. As the singing is going in, one of them imitate the special sounds of shepherds driving their sheep. The dance as such consists of someone of the group crying successively to imitate the wild animals while the other members of the group adeptly bring out the terror on their faces.

Naikar Kali
Naikar Kali is popular ritualistic dance among the tribes in Wyanad and Malappuram districts. This is performed as pooja to family deities during marriages. Naikars perform to the tunes of the instruments, the Thappu and the Kuzhal. With the jingling anklets around their legs, they dance around in clock-wise and anti-clockwise movements to the accompaniment of the instruments.

Gadhika
Gadhika is a ritual dance performed by Adiya tribes of Wayanad district. This dance is meant to care ailments and for having a safe delivery of child. Gadhika begins with the principal performer invoking lord Siva for his help to cure the patients. Once Lord Siva was brought down to earth and he was pleaded by the invocations of the worshippers. The other gods, goddesses were enrolled by the performance. These gods include Chamundi, Maniamma, Malankali (Siva) and Karinkali. The participants include men dressed as women whose function is to welcome the gods and goddesses arriving in response to the summons from Siva.

Folk Songs

Folk Songs
Kerala has a very rich folk song tradition. The farmers, the peasants, the boat men have all contributed to this tradition. They forgot the tedium of toil by singing songs. Even the happiness of the harvest season, the sacramental union of man and woman, and the advent of progeny also found expression in beautiful melodies. Irayimmam Tampy, wrote a lyric for the melody of the traditional lullaby which is one of the most beautiful songs of this kind in Malayalam. Another lullaby melody was chosen by Cherrusseri in the 15th century to retell the Krishna story from the Bhagavatha in mellifluous verse in a Kavya of classical dimensions with forty-seven cantos. The boat song melody was used by Ramapurath Warrier in the 18th century for a fine narrative poem on the story of 'Kuchela' and by Kumaran Asan, for another narrative poem on the great compassion of the Buddha and the disciples who were inspired by him.

Mappila Pattukal (Mopla Songs)
Mopla Songs also known as Mappila Pattukal reflect the Muslim arts forms. These songs represent a long tradition of a happy blending of Arab and local elements of music. The language used in these songs represents a mixture of Arab, Persian, Urdu, Hindi, Tamil, Sanskrit and Kannada. It is believed that the rich literature of Mopla songs has a long history going back to 700 years. These songs sung in rituals, household ceremonies like marriage and as a vocal accompaniment for dances. Love, heroism and devotion to God are the basic sentiments in these songs.

Christian Songs
Pattu literature has many Christian songs which were meant to propagate the Christian faith. One of the main songs deals with the life and deeds of St. Thomas. These songs blend the touch of western music and folk tunes of Kerala.

Music of Kerala

Kerala's music is known as Sopanam. Sangeetam (Music) appears to have acquired its name from the 'Sopanam' which means 'Sanctum Sanctorum' of the temple. Its essential features were born out of a happy blending of the vedic, the folk and tribal music of the region.

The structure of the Sopanam music is believed to reflect the experience of the devotee in ascending the heights of devotion. Sopanam music developed and became popular through the practice of singing invocatory songs in front of the 'Kalam' of Kali meaning the floor drawing of Kali and later on at the sanctum of the temple.

There are a few powerful schools connected with the temples like Pazhoor, Tiumandhamkunnu, Guruvayoor, Ramamangalam. Neralattu Rama Poduval of Tirumandhamkunnu bani, Janardhanan Nedungadi of Guruvayoor, Damodara Marar belonging to the Mudiyettu bant of Pazhoor are some of the most effective experts.

The music system had rejuvenation when 'Geet Govindam' was introduced to Kerala in the local musical mould during the14th and 15th centuries A.D. It was certainly a revival of the Pattu School of music which was preserved in the devotional tyanis.

The musician is inspired by the particular time, when the offering is made to the deity and he selects ragas which is most suited for that time. Such ragas are known as Samaya (time) ragas because time is the deciding factor in singing. The singing of tyanis takes its roots from the music of the earliest singers of the land as mentioned in the great text 'Chilappatikaram'.

Some of the rare melodies specially conceived for the purpose of embellishment of certain emotions are 'Pati', Indisa', 'Puraniru', 'Kanakurinji'. There are certain ragas like 'Sri kandi', 'Desakshi', 'Nalatha' and 'Samantamalahari' used in old devotional songs which produce remarkably fascinating lilt and swing of a local character. The accompanying instruments include the edakka, the maddalam and the chenda
 
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