Aluva is a city and a municipality in Ernakulam district in the state of Kerala, India. It is one of the most industrialised towns in Kerala. It is famous for the Aluva Sivarathri festival at Manal Puram (land with sand) on the banks of Periyar river.
Aluva has a history and stature of its own. The place used to be a continuous area of land spread across Kakkanad and Alangad. Historians have recorded that it was so up to AD 1341. The Periyar river was then known as Churniyar and had its course as a single stream, flowing through Thottummukham, caressing Mangalapuzha and flowing into the Arabian Sea. The town used to be a holiday resort and a centre of commerce right from ancient times. The place was also thickly populated, historians have recorded.
History also records the changes that happened to the Periyar and its banks in 1341. Deluge forced the river to flow into two tributaries at Thottummukham. One continued to flow through Desam and Mangalappuzha to fall into the Kodungallor backwaters. The other made a new track to flow downward dividing the Aluva mainland into two, the north and south. It again got divided at Kunjunnikkara island, one to flow into the Varapuzha backwaters and the other into the Cochin backwaters.
The Mangalappuzha is one of those many landmarks that history had left behind in Aluva. Once Mangalapuzha was known to be the nerve centre of trade and commerce in this part of South India. Spices, ivory, rose wood etc from this part of the land were the major items that attracted merchants from all parts of the world to Kerala. Taking a walk down history’s dark lanes we come to know that there were gallows, which were used to hang, convicts here. These were under the Alangad District Court. In 1800 the court headquarters were shifted to where the present UC college stands. The gallows were dismantled once the college buildings started coming up. The bungalows of the Dutch and the Portuguese were also there overlooking the Periyar. History also says that Tipu Sultan had made his march in his quest to conquer Travancore and had camped on the sandbanks of the Periyar. This was way back in 1790. 1939 saw the Marthandavarma bridge being opened to traffic and since then it has been part of every Aluvaiites’ lifeline. The bridge connects the southern part of Aluva with that of the north.
Schools & Colleges
Aluva is also famous for one of the oldest resident schools established by the British in Kerala. This school called Christava Mahilalayam or Mahilalayam (as the locals call it) is perched on top of a hill which overlooks paddy fields and orchards. The school has grown in leaps and bounds and contributed to the all round development of its students.Other noteworthy schools are Vidyadhiraja Vidhyabhavan, Nirmala, St. John the Baptist, St Francis, The Alwaye Settlement, etc, all of which has shown its class in various fields : academic, cultural, sports .
Union Christian College of Alwaye, a prominent institution in the field of education. So many eminent Indians made their college studies in this prestigious Institution. Aluva and Cochin has got one of the highest number of frequent bus services in India between two cities.
Aluva is well connected to all major cities in the country by air (Nedumbassery), rail, road and sea (nearest port Cochin). All major trains have stops at Aluva. National Waterways pass through Aluva.
Aluva is as much a quaint and interesting town as it is a strategic one. Communal Amity and Economic well being are the characteristic hallmarks of this wonderful place. It is located 12 km from the Cochin International Airport. Aluva also is the home for the Advaitha Ashramam. It is also the headquarters of the Federal Bank; a large Private Bank in India. Aluva is famous for the Kings palace (Travancore). There are many famous people who are from Aluva. Movie actor Dileep (Gopalakrishnan), Hindi Film actor John Abraham, TV star Anil Mohan, Industrialist and Entrepreneur Anand R, Writer Malayatoor Ramakrishnan, politician and MLA Muhammed Ali, Dr Sreekumar (Physician, Calicut Medical College), artist Manu Nambiar, Jacob Thomas, Manager ICP of UK, Telecom Professional Sumesh P. etc. Aluva also have some of the famous Hindu temples of Siva temple, Narasimha Swamy temple (Kadungaloor temple) Krishna temple, Perumpalli devi temple, Cheerakada temple etc. and also the Christian churches and seminaries of Thrikunathu seminary. Aluva mosque also is very famous. Above all Aluva is famous for its smooth flowing Periyar river which is the second largest river in Kerala. Thiruvaloor temple in Alangad is a famous temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Perumthachan, the famous architect belongs to Aluva. The Uliyannur temple desingned by him is very special in its constructional art. Film stars N.F. Varghese is a native of the Uliyannur island. The Aluva Thuruth and the Parumthu Ranchi manappuram situated in Thottummughom are those in the finest islands in Kerala. Sri Sainuddin (film star) is an old student of the UC College. The chief of 'THE NEST' Software Technologies, Sri. Jahangeer is also an Aluvaite. Old politicians like P.K. VASUDEVAN NAIR, P. GOVINDA PILLAI are students of UC College. Young cricketer Sreesanth is an old student of Vidyadhi Raja Vidyabhavan School at Cheerakkada.
Pilgrimage & Instutations
The Thiruvairanikkulam Mahadeva temple situated at Sreemoolanagaram in Aluva is one of the holiest pilgrim centres of Kerala. It is the only temple were lord Siva and Devi Sri Parvathy co exist in a single Srikovil. Lakhs of devoties are coming during the Nadathurappu mahothsavam in the month of kumbha.
LabaL Organisation, the technical consultancy is situated at Aluva. LabaL organisation functions to nourish industrialists with new technologies. LabaL Organisation offers modern technologies to industry and serves as a bridge between academy and business enterprises.
The Janaseva Sisubhavan situated in the border of Aluva town is the prime institution to provide care and protection to the children with no aids. The activities of this establishment has aquired enough participation from entire cross-section of our society.
The Aluva Sivarathri festival is one of the most colourful festival celebrated by the Hindus in the month of Kumbha (February - March) in Kerala. This festival is celebrated on the banks of the river Periyar at Aluva, about 16 kms from Ernakulam. This festival is celebrated to commemorate the day on which Lord Siva consumed the deadly poison to save the world from destruction. On this day, the pilgrims awake the whole night, read the Puranas and the other holy texts and return home next morning after performing the 'Bali' ritual at dawn. A ritual trade fair and various cultural programmes are also organized during the festival.
Periyar,a beautiful river and second largest in the state is the life line of Aluva. A trip down the river and its silken-smooth sand banks will be one of the most memorable experiences in any ones life. The history of Aluva brings to the picture the history of Periyar. The presence of the river has given Aluva one of the most exquisite culture as could be compared to that of any part in Kerala. As it is known, the rivers of Kerala have brought with them the behavior and traditional aspects of the population living on their banks. The case is no different here either.
Take a walk down Periyar river and you will find some kind of a gracefulness envelope you. The cool river, it’s silken-smooth sandbanks and the people around gets into your mind to stay there emanating a sacred feeling that you would want to come back to its banks over and over again. The Periyar is indeed Aluva’s lifeline. The activities along the long stretch of its banks are always hectic as if life proceeds along with the quiet flow of water downstream. Small scale as well as cottage industries thrive along the riverbed bringing in revenue and smiles into every home.
The riverbank has its ornamental look with huge tall coconut palms lending its own charm. The green canopy along the shores fills the mind with happiness. The temples, churches and mosques along the banks of the Periyar give a touch of Aluva’s diverse culture and beliefs.The town is also known for its communal harmony and the goodness that comes with it. Periyar is the most important river in the Ernakulam district. The Periyar with a length of 229 km is the longest river in the district. Among the rivers in the State, Periyar is second only to Bharathapuzha in length. During its course five important tributaries join the river. They are Muthirapuzha, Mullayar, Cheruthoni, Perinjankutti and Edamala.
The Chalakkudy river also joins the Periyar at Elanthikara, 10 km east of Kodungalloor. Periyar is very high in hydroeletric potential. There are a series of dams and power stations viz. Pallivasal, Kundala, Madapetty, Senkulam, Neriamangalam and Panniyar on this river basin. Idukki Hydroelectric project is the most important scheme of its kind in Kerala. Kalady, the birth palace of Sankaracharya, the greatest Advaitha Philosopher is on the bank of Periyar. Other important places on its bank are Malayattoor and Aluva which are places of pilgrimage for Christians and Hindus respectively. The Periyar traverses through all the Taluks in the district. The river is highly beneficial to the district for irrigation, drainage and navigation. The river plays a very important role in the agricultural, industrial and commercial development of the district. The Periyar valley irrigation project is capable of irrigating a net area of 30414 ha.