The charm of an Alleppey winter (October through March)
Ostensibly, this is the best season to visit Alleppey
. The onset of October heralds the coming of winter as the air turns crisper and the skies clearer with a promise of a nice nippy breeze picking up every now and again. Such weather oscillates between 18 and 33 degree Celsius. The waterways throb with life as the houseboats bring in cartloads of tourists who love to soak up the dull sunshine, the crisp air and the bustle of activity around the backwaters. A definite peak season for business in Kerala at large, you might even have to queue up at the jetty for a regular boat ride from Alleppey to Kollam. As you sail down the Pampa River that joins the Vembanad Lake and finally drains into the Arabian Sea, you will be faced with a busy coastal scenery of rows of Chinese fishing nets bulging against the wind, toddy shops on little islands serving locals and tourists alike, local men gliding down the waters in punted canoes, kids prancing in the paddy fields and several other boats such as yours motoring down the waterway. The sunset too comes in many glorious colours in this season. Besides, this is also the season when Alleppey gears up with festivals, activities and throws open the doors to several attractions. From the Edakkal Cave, the Krishnapuram Palace to the main Alleppey beach, every way you look you will find crowds of tourists trooping in. For the locals, November and December are times of joy and mirth owing to the Chakkulathukavu Pongala festival, another reason December is the best month to visit Alleppey. From temples, the festivities arrive on the beach with the Annual Beach Festival organised between December and January. Chettikulangara Bharani between February and March is the last of the winter festivities that gives you a glimpse into Alleppey’s local culture and customs. Aside to this backwater getaway, you cannot witness if you visit in any other season.
The romance of an Alleppey monsoon (July through September)
Monsoon lashes the Indian subcontinent by rolling over the coasts of Kerala before it progresses to the west and further up north. To watch these dark swirls of clouds heavy with rain form over the Arabian Sea before they hit the shore is an experience that falls short of words. With the temperature hovering between 25 and 31 degree Celsius, there is something vibrant and lively about the waterways of Alleppey in the rains; they come into their own. Post-July as the monsoon intensifies, a handful of attractions shut shop. The beaches whipped with rain appear aloof and abandoned, the backwaters quieter and fuller with the rising water level threatening to swamp the tiny villages. If you wish to see the local markets and get a sense of daily life, you will be sorely disappointed as the local fruit and veggie markets are reeling from the chaos the rains spin out. Not to mention, a lover of nature, photography or simply the monsoon can make the most of their trip with reduced flight, train and bus ticket prices supplemented by cheaper hotel stay. But the one woe you may have to live with is the lack of good dining options, for most restaurants, shacks and cafes close down in the rainy months. Moreover, the threat of a deluge can lead to unnecessary stress on a holiday. If you still wish to get a perspective of the backwaters in the falling rain, consider late September as the torrential rains would have eased out making way for occasional spells of rain. While the weather can still be quite muggy, the atmospherics are dreamy when you float down the backwater on a houseboat and take in the pitter-patter of the raindrops on your roof with a cup of filter coffee in hand. September is also the time for the harvest festival Onam when the houses are done up with flowers and earthen lamps and a feast is in the offing. It is quite a spectacle to catch the snake boat race on the backwaters at this time.
Travel advisory: In the wake of the monsoon, there are chances of a breakout of Malaria and other vector-borne diseases. However, no serious cases have been reported in this regard. It is always a good idea to carry a mosquito repellent with you, bring your rain gear and floaters or waterproof shoes. Always carry your bottle of mineral water and refrain from drinking water locally. Avoid swimming even in your local pool.
The bane of an Alleppey summer (April through June)
The heat truly builds up in this season with the mercury soaring to a 39 degree Celsius and lowering only marginally to about 26 degree Celsius in the nights. The sweltering weather makes Alleppey unfit for exploration. The backwaters seem to give off the heat with hardly ever a gust of wind breaking the dry spell. Tourist visits are few and far between in the peak of summer in Alleppey when they would much rather cool their heels off in a Munnar or Kodaikanal. In this season it is not uncommon to find great deals and discounts in hotel bookings. For budget travellers, this could be a great time keeping the economy in mind, but a terrible one if you care for the outdoors.
Travelling to Alleppey
- By air: The Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport to Alleppey at about 83 kilometres with the driving time being around 2 hours and 5 minutes. Located in Kochi and one of the country’s busiest airports, some of the prominent domestic and international airlines operating out of here include AirAsia, Air India, Emirates, Etihad, GoAir, IndiGo, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Vistara, SriLankan Airlines to name a few. The airport offers connectivity to cities like Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Colombo, Dubai, Bangalore, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Kuwait among others.
- By rail: Operated by the Southern Railway Zone, the Alleppey or Alappuzha Railway Station is an important station on the Ernakulam-Kayamkulam coastal railway line. Some of the trains stopping by at this station include Guruvayur Express to Guruvayur in Kerala, Porbandar Express to Porbandar in Gujarat, Netravati Express to Trivandrum, Shalimar Express, Sampark Kranti Express to Chandigarh, Nizamuddin Express to Hazrat Nizamuddin in Delhi among others.
- By road: There are several private and even state-operated buses from other parts of Kerala to Alleppey and even from the neighbouring states. The fleet comprises regular AC buses along with Volvo AC seater, sleeper, Volvo AC multi-axle buses to name a few. Some of the popular bus routes comprise Coimbatore to Alleppey bus, Thalasserry to Alleppey, Bangalore to Alleppey, Manipal to Alleppey, and Kozhikode to Alleppey.
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FAQ's on Best time to visit Alleppey
Q. Which monsoon month is more favourable for a trip to Alleppey?
A: In September the rains let up somewhat limiting the backwater getaway to occasional fits and starts of rain. Although the humidity levels are high even at this time, you could treat yourself to the most soothing backwater scenery with a houseboat stay. The green cover seems to give off a glossy sheen in this month and you could think of spending some time in the outdoors. Avoid August in Alleppey like a plague because of the torrential rains that lash its coast, inundating the canals, the lakes and the waterways. The shops stay shut, the beaches are deserted, and the attractions boarded up.
Q. Which is the best time to visit Alleppey?
A: October to March is the best time to visit Alleppey. It is the winter months in the backwater getaway when the temperatures range between 18 and 33 degree Celsius with brighter skies and a pleasant breeze always wafting through. From enjoying houseboat ride, hitting the beaches, the local markets, indulging in some window shopping to exploring its multiple attractions like the Edakkal Cave or the Krishnapuram Palace, there isn’t a better time to explore Alleppey. The Chakkulathukavu Pongala festival takes place in November and December and offers a peek into Alleppey’s local rituals and traditions. Most tourists visit in this season, and hotel rates are quite high too, so make sure you close all your bookings at least a couple of months in advance.
Q. What is the best season to stay in a houseboat in Alleppey?
A: A monsoon lover can come down in September when the rains have eased out a little and you can view the vibrant green of the backwaters from the comfort of your houseboat. The peak season for houseboat rides is between late November and February when the air is pleasant, the sun bright but not scorching and the temperature hovering between 18 and 33 degree Celsius. You can enjoy some stunning sunsets from your houseboat, view the backwater life in all its glory, sample some today as you go, outside of enjoying the best of Kerala’s farm produce rendered into sumptuous traditional recipes.
Q. Which is the best time to get hotel discounts in Alleppey?
A: The summer and the monsoon months are typically the low seasons in Alleppey. If you are a budget traveller chances are you are going to bag good hotel deals if you are looking to travel to Alleppey anytime between April and August. The summer heat and then the torrential monsoon rains make Alleppey unsuitable for travel and hence the low footfalls. At such time hotels come up with attractive discounts to lure travellers.
Q. When does the Nehru Trophy Boat Race take place in Alleppey?
A: The waters of the Punnamada Lake in Vallam Kali near Alleppey gear up for the famed snake boat race in the second Saturday of August every year. These 120-foot-long canoes take to the waters with about a 100 rowers manoeuvring across the 1.4 kilometre stretch of the Punnamada Lake. Beating the monsoon woes visitors arrive from every corner of the world to witness this spectacle that is unique to Kerala.
Q. Is it a good time to visit Alleppey around Onam?
A: There is no disputing the charm of Onam to the folks of Kerala. The whole state adorns a different, probably more ornate, look and Alleppey is no different. There is a bustle in the air, homes are painted before the approach of this harvest festival and then floral designs are created on the courtyard and even inside the house as a sign of good luck. Sumptuous feasts are prepared and served to friends and relatives. It is the time of the year for family reunions and a bit of travel. Celebrated in September (the dates vary), Onam festivities go on for more than a week when the monsoon clouds are still hovering overhead and the rains can come down quite unceremoniously spiking up the humidity levels. But their intensity is reduced by the end of August making it a decent time to visit Alleppey.