Cherthala (formerly Shertallai or Shertallay) is a town located in the district of Alappuzha, in the state of Kerala, India. It is 31 km to Kochi and Kottayam and 22 km north of Alappuzha town, on the Kochi-Alappuzha National Highway NH 47, as well as the coastal rail route. The coastal town is also about 20 kilometers from the historical town of Vaikom and the popular tourism destination Kumarakom.
Cherthala taluk is a part of Alappuzha Revenue District and Alappuzha Parliamentary constituency. All the villages of Cherthala Taluk come under the Cherthala and Aroor Constituencies of Kerala Legislative Assembly. The three-tier local governance structure is as follows: Cherthala Taluk area comes under Alappuzha district panchayat and the area is divided into three block panchayats: Pattanakad, Thycattuserry and Kanzhikuzhy. These block panchayats are again subdivided into Grama panchayats. The Grama panchayats in Pattanakkad Block Panchayath are Aroor, Ezhupunna, Kuthiathode, Kodamthuruthu, Thuravoor, Pattanakkad and Vayalar. The Thycattussery Block Panchayath have five Grama Panchayaths, viz., Arookutty, Perumbalam, Panavally, Thycattusserry and Chennam Pallippuram. Kadakkarappally, Cherthala South, Kanjikuzhi, Thanneermukkom and Mararikulam North are Grama panchayaths in the Kanjikuzhi block.
Cherthala lies between the Kottapuram-Kollam National Waterway passing through the Vembanad lake. Prior to the coming of NH 47, cargo and freight from Cochin market were transported in country boats through the Vembanad lake via the small lake diverting from Arukutty-Thycattuserry-Vayalar. Now these country boats are no more used for cargo transportation, instead converted into tourist floating houseboats. One can still find the canal running across the center of the town which was once the busiest waterway. One can reach Vaikom by the Tavankadav-Vaikom ferry service covering approx 3.5 km across the Vembanad lake and joining the Kottayam district at Vaikom jetty. There are small inland waterways or rivers, which flow across the villages, still navigable through county boats. They transport coir, marine products, vegetables, paddy, sand, construction materials, etc. where roads are inaccessible. The majority of these inland rivers flow from Vembanad Lake on the eastern side and merge into the azhi or sea near Anthakaranazhi on the west coast, crossing the NH 47 at different places.