Alappuzha: Venice of the east
Alappuzha (also known as Alappy or Alleppey - the name still used by many Keralites), is a town in the Alappuzha District of Kerala in southern India.
Etymologically Alappuzha is derived from two words - Ala and Puzha - Ala which means broad and Puzha which means river. It is a town with picturesque canals, backwaters and lagoons, once described as the "Venice of the East" by English viceroy Lord Curzon. It is the administrative headquarters of Alappuzha District. The present town owes its existence to the Diwan Raja Kesavadas in the second half of 18th century. Kuttanad, the rice bowl of Kerala with the unending stretch of paddy fields, small streams and canals with lush green coconut palms, was well known even from the early periods of the Sangam age.The town is the hot spot of coir industry, which accounts for much of the water borne traffic chugging to and from the neraby lakes.
Alappuzha now is the main hub for backwaters tourism in Kerala. Kerala Houseboats locally known as "kettuvallam" are available on hire on a daily basis as well as for longer duration to take visitors on the old waterways. These huge barges which were traditionally used to carry goods across the backwaters measure up to 80 feet in length. They are still constructed using traditional skills and meticulousness by "tying" huge planks of jack wood together without the use of a single nail and coated with a caustic black resin made from boiled cashew kernels.
The house boats in general have 2 bed rooms with en suite shower rooms. Some of the boats have the bedrooms are even fitted with air conditioners. A routine trip includes food cooked on board in the traditional Kuttanad style. The leisurely cruises show a microcosm of life on the water side with breath taking views of the water, land, birds and human habitations.
Snake boat races are the most significant traditional events in Alappuzha. The spectacular regattas are usually held between August and October, and involve long thin boats powered by up to 120 oarsmen. The most famous snake boat race is the Nehru Trophy Boat Race.
The best way to explore this town, heavily punctuated with quaint sidestreets, colonial era factories and warehouses is to hire a bicycle. The Mullackal Road is a great bet to sneak peek into a bevy of shops from gold jewellery emporia to bell metal and umbrella showrooms.
All the traditional festivals and pastimes of Kerala continue to flourish in Alappuzha district .It has played an important part in the development of the time honored temple arts Kathakali , 'koothu' , 'koodiyattam ' , and 'ottamthullal', all of which are cherished and still performed here. Please click here for a detailed look into Villages of Alappzuha.
Alleppey has a wonderful past. Carved out of erstwhile Kottayam and Kollam districts, Alleppey district was formed on 17th of August 1957.It is assumed that the name was derived by the geographical position and physical features of the place. It is presumed that the coastal taluks of Cherthala, Ambalapuzha and Karthikappally might have been under water and these areas were formed by the accumulation of silt and sand later than the other parts of the district. Christianity had a strong foot hold in this district even from the Ist century AD The church located at Kokkomangalam or Kokkoth- amangalam was one of the seven churches founded by St Thomas, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ. This district had a prominent role in the freedom struggle of the country. The campaign for the eradication of untouchability was organized much earlier in this district. The district also witnessed the 'Nivarthana' movement which was started as a protest against the constitutional repression of 1932. the first political strike in Kerala was held at Alappuzha in 1938. After India became independent, a popular Ministry was formed in Travancore on March 24, 1948 and on July 1, 1949 Travancore and Cochin states were integrated and the position continue till the formation of Kerala State on Ist November 1956.
You can find some of the finest and interesting hotels and resorts here. Specially those at the water front, offering amazing views.