Alappuzha or Alleppey derives its name from the unique geographical position and physical features of the place, meaning the land between the sea and network of rivers flowing into it. It is the sixth largest city in Kerala. It is famous for its backwater stretches, picturesque lakes and Ambalapuzha Paalpaysam. It is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Kerala. Founded in 1762 by the Divan of Travancore, Raja Keshawadasan, this pristine backwater town with a series of lakes and lagoons gives it the name of “Venice of the East”.
Carved out of the erstwhile Kottayam and Quilon districts, Alappuzha (Alleppey) district was formed on 17th August, 1957 with its headquarters in Alappuzha town and consisted initially of seven taluks, namely Cherthala, Ambalapuzha, Kuttanad, Thiruvalla, Chengannur, Karthikappally and Mavelikkara.
Alappuzha hosts the famous Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race every year. It is home to a thriving coir industry. It has a flat unbroken 82km long sea coast with enchanting beaches dotting its length.
Location and access
Alappuzha is located in central Travancore, 62km south of Cochin and 155km north of Trivandrum. A system of canals which is a part of the National Waterway 3 crisscrosses the town of Alappuzha. Alappuzha is on the NH47 road highway and is well connected to all important towns in South India. The railways also connect Alappuzha to most important cities of India.
The months of August-September witnesses the Onam festival celebrations, the major highlight of which is the series of Snake Boat Races. The temple festivals and the annual feasts of the churches situated around Alappuzha provide you with a glimpse of the spiritual heritage of Kerala. Ambalapuzha festival is one of the famous festivals in Alappuzha and the place to watch Velakali, a dance form.
The economy of the district is predominantly based on agriculture and marine products. Traditional industries based on coir and coir products, marine products, handlooms, different types of handicrafts, toddy tapping, etc. have been dominating the scene since the very early times. Alappuzha is also an important trading and commercial centre. At present, Alappuzha is an important wholesale and retail trading centre for rice, copra, coconut oil, pepper, ginger and areca nut.
Things to do in Alappuzha
The calm serene waters of Alappuzha beckon you to have a ride on one of the houseboats and enjoy nature at its best while having scrumptious seafood cooked according to your liking. Drifting through quiet canals lined with coconut palms, meeting local villagers and sleeping under a galaxy of stars will be an unforgettable experience.
No visit is complete without going to Kuttanad region, named the rice bowl of Kerala, in Alappuzha. It is among the few places where farming is done below sea level.
You can also avail of guided tours of villages where you get to see coir-making, boat building, toddy (palm beer) tapping and fish farming.
You can visit the 400year-old Champakkulam church, one of the 7 churches established by St. Thomas, the apostle. The Chavara Bhavan, located 6km from Alappuzha, is another interesting place that one cannot afford to miss. Ravi Karunakaran Museum is another must-see place in Alappuzha. This museum is home to the world’s largest private collection of Swarovski crystals. One can also get to see hand carved precious and semi-precious stones, silver ware, artifacts, etc.
The best time to visit Alappuzha will be from August to March. During the monsoon season from June to August, houseboat tours will not be available.
Accommodations in Alappuzha
As Alappuzha is a busy tourist destination, you can find many hotels and home stays. One can find a comfortable and inexpensive place to stay without much hassle.
The discerning traveler can choose one of the many water-front luxury resorts that dot the place.
Come to Alappuzha and enjoy the tranquility and get back to your busy life feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.