Alappuzha, Kerala, India

Alappuzha, also known by its former name Alleppey, is a city and a municipality and the administrative headquarters of Alappuzha district in the Indian state of Kerala. Alleppey is in Kerala and ranks third among the districts in literacy rate in the state. Alappuzha is considered to be the oldest planned city in this region and the lighthouse built on the coast of the city is the first of its kind along the Laccadive Sea coast.

The city is situated 28 km from Changanacherry, 46 km from Kottayam, 55 km from Kochi, 129.4 km from Thrissur and 155 km north of Trivandrum. The nearest hill station is Munnar which is 169.4  km from Alappuzha. A town with canals, backwaters, beaches, and lagoons, Alappuzha was described by George Curzon, Viceroy of India at the start of the 20th century, as the "Venice of the East." Hence, it is known as the "Venetian Capital" of Kerala.

It is an important tourist destination in India. The Backwaters of Alappuzha is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kerala which attracts millions of domestic and international tourists to the district and employs vast number of locals in the private sector. A houseboat cruise in these backwaters can be booked. It connects Kumarakom and Cochin to the North and Quilon to the South. Apart from houseboat services, the Kerala State Water Transport Department provides government boat services within the district and Quilon (Kollam) which considers the best and cheapest way to explore the Backwaters of Alleppey.

It is also the access point for the annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race, held on the Punnamada Lake, near Alappuzha, on the second Saturday of August every year. This is the most popular and competitive boat races in India. Mullackal Chirap is the major Temple Festival of Alapuzha which is held for ten days every year at end of December.

Other attractions in and around Alappuzha are Alappuzha Beach, offering a view of the Laccadive Sea, Pathiramanal Island, Mullakkal Sree RajarajeswariTemple, Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple, Kalarkod Mahadeva Temple, Pazhaveed Bhagavathi Temple, Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple, St. Andrew's Basilica, Arthunkal, Mannarasala Temple, Cheriyanad Sree Bhalasubhramanya Swamy Temple, Chettikulangara Devi Temple, Haripad Sree Subrahmanya Swamy Temple, Krishnapuram Palace, Thakazhy Sree Dharma Sastha Temple, Kidangamprambu Temple, Munnodi Temple, Valiya Kalavur Sreekrishna Temple, Mararikkulam Mahadeva Temple, Thiruvizha Sree Mahadevar Temple, Kanichukulangara Bhagavathi Temple, Cherthala Karthyayani Temple, Varanad Devi Temple, Cheriya Kalavur Ayyappa Temple, Padanilam Parabrahma Temple, Edathua Church, Alappuzha CSI Christ Church (oldest Anglican church in Central Kerala), Champakulam Valia Palli and Vetticode Sree Nagaraja Seamy Temple (the first and oldest Nagaraja temple).

Alappuzha is home to the Punnapra-Vayalar uprising against the Separate American Model independent Travancore proposal and also the revolt against the Feudal raj. Communist Party members were killed by the army of the Diwan, 200 people at Punnapra on 24 October 1946, and more than 150 at Vayalar on 27 October 1946. The total loss of life is allegedly estimated to be more than a thousand. Coir is the most important commodity manufactured in Alappuzha. The Coir Board was established by the Central Government under the provisions of the Coir Industry Act, 1955. A Central Coir Research Institute is located at Kalavoor.

The economy of the district is based on agriculture and marine products. The agricultural activities predominantly revolve around the Kuttanad region, the rice bowl of Kerala. Though the district is industrially backward, some traditional industries based on coir and coir products, marine products, handlooms, different types of handicrafts, toddy tapping have been active from the very early times. The district is known as the traditional home of coir industry in Kerala.

The availability of raw materials and the existence of backwaters and canals suitable for the getting of green husk and accessibility of transportation are the main factors of the development of this industry. Arabs had carried on trade in coir products from very ancient period. The manufacture of mats and mattings were first introduced in 1859 by Mr. James Durragh.

The Coir Board was established by the Central Government under the provisions of the Coir Industry Act in 1955. A coir research institute functions at Kalavoor. The National Coir Training and Designing Centre was established at Alappuzha in 1965.

Coir is the most important commodity manufactured in Alappuzha, Kayamkulam, Kokkothamangalam, Komalapuram, Mannancherry, Muhamma and Vayalar, Coir products are available in Cherthala and Mannancherry, Lime shell in Arookutty and Kodamthuruth, Plywood in Chengannur, Keltron controls in Aroor, Potassium Chloride in Mavelikkara and coconut in Thanneermukkom. The other important commodities manufactured in these towns are copra, coconut oil, glass, mats and matches.

In recent times, tourism has become a major source of revenue. This is mainly due to the presence of houseboats that provide the tourists with a view of the scenic backwaters of the town. Another reason is the proximity to other tourist spots like Munnar, Varkala, Alappuzha and Wayanad.

Kolkata Time 
Kolkata Time
Image: Adobe Stock By Roop Dey #124695375

Alappuzha has a population of over 174,164 people.

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