NEHRU CUP SNAKE BOAT RACE
The Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race is a spectacle par excellence and it can be described as the biggest team sport in the world. This spectacular event, which is the most famous single attraction in Alappuzha, is held on the second Saturday of every August. It is the queerest display of a rural culture and rural vitality in a fast urbanising world. It is Kerala’s greatest tourism event. It is estimated that some two lakh spectators come to witness this spectacular show on the earth. Not only tourists from abroad and from other states but locals as well throng the place to watch the race. Chundan Vallams (Snake Boats) crewed by scores of oarsmen shaded by colorful umbrellas present a spectacular sight. There will always be severe competition as Snake boats sponsored by different villages and with more than 100 oarsmen in each race to finish it to the accompaniment of thumping music.
It is a little town 14 km south of Alappuzha, famous for Sri Krishna Temple. The Ambalappuzha Palpayasom- a sweet porridge of milk, rice and sugar – offered to the diety is very delicious and popular. The annual temple festival is in March/April. The temple has also another significance. It was in this temple that the 16th century poet Kunjan Nambiar staged his first Ottan Thullal, a solo dance performance with high social content.
THE ST. ANDREW’S CHURCH AT ARTHUNKAL
St. Andrew’s Church better known as Arthunkal Church was established by the Portuguese missionaries. It is a known pilgrim centre near Cherthala, 22 km north of Alappuzha.
It is an 18th century palace built by the Travancore King, Marthanda Varma at Kayamkulam. It is a double storied structure displaying the characteristics of Kerala architecture. At the western end of the ground floor is seen a painting of ‘Gajendra moksham’, one of the largest mural paintings in Kerala. It measures 14 feet by 11 feet. Inside the palace, there is a museum of antique sculptures, paintings and bronzes.
Punnappra near Alappuzha has gone down into history as the battle ground between the Communists and the erst-while Travancore state police in the Punnappra- Vayalar Communist uprising of 1946. A memorial to the martyrs stands testimony to the event, which the state Government declared as a part of the freedom struggle.