The residents of Alleppey are close to nature and have a preference of a simple, healthy and peaceful lifestyle. Their traditional outfit of Alleppey is white Mundu and Neriathu; a plain white dhoti embroidered with golden silk lining for men and cream colored sari with golden border for women. The Alleppey cuisine can purely be classified under the typical Kerala food which mainly consists of rice and fish. The menu of these people lists Rice, Fish, Idli, Dosa, Vada, Sambhar, Uthapam, Appam, Kappa, Karimeen Pollichathu, other Sea Food, Kallu, etc. The economy of this region is mainly based on agriculture, back water fishing, shell collection, coir based industries, handlooms and handicrafts, and to top them all, tourism. Tourism is the most significant component of the economy of Alleppey. Tourists throng the Alleppey backwaters almost all round the year and the houseboats that cruise in the backwaters earn the boatmen substantial revenue.
Apart form the common Indian festivals Alleppey celebrates the traditional Kerala festivals, the most noteworthy amongst them being; Ugadi and Onam. Onam is Kerala’s biggest festival that falls in the month of Chingam according to Malayali Calendar and in the month of August or September according to the English Calendar. Onam commemorates the home coming of the legendary King Mahabali when along with the rest of the Kerala Alleppey hosts snake boat races which are ardently attended by a large number of residents as well as tourists. The Snake Boat Races of Kerala comprise the integrated part of the culture of Alleppey.
At the time of Onam, the backwaters of Alleppey are ignited by the vigorous boat races which is reckoned as the largest team sport in the world. Masses of elaborately carved long black wooden snake boats participate in these boat races. Besides the snake boats, other boats typically used for fishing or transportation such as Kettuvalam, Kochu-odi Vallam, Odi- Vallam, Irrutukuthi Vallam and Churulan or Chullam Vallam also participate in the boat races. By and large, a snake boat is ridden by 4 helmsmen, 25 singers and 100 to 125 oarsmen who row the boat to the rapid rhythms of the traditional boatmen song known as ‘Thevanchipattu’. Inestimable onlookers gather at the edges of the rivers or backwaters and cheer the boatmen as the enormous snake boats skillfully slice through the waters.
Some of the chief boat races organized in and around Alleppey include Champakulam Moolam Boat Race, Payippad Jalotsavam, Aranmula Uthrattadi Vallamkali, Nehru Trophy Boat Race, and many more. Nehru Trophy Boat Race held on the second Saturday of the month of August is regarded to be the most competitive and popular of the boat races in India.
Except for Onam, other festivals celebrated in Alleppey include The Mullackal Chirap, Ambalapuzha Temple Festival, Adoor Gajamela, Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple Festival, Theyyam Festival, Sree Krishnaswamy Temple Festival, St George’s Church Festival, Kadammanitta Padayani, Champakulam Moolam Boat Race, Neelamperoor Padayani, Champakulam Church Festival, Chithira, Christmas, etc. Alleppey is particularly reckoned for its temple festivals amongst domestic as well as international tourists because unlike the other Kerala Temples, the temples of Alleppey permit entry to the people of all religions. The foreign tourists specially enjoy the Temple Festivals of Alleppey characterized by grand processions, impressive decorations and jubilation everywhere. The most predominant religion of Alleppey is Hinduism and Christianity and the major languages spoken here include Malayalam, Tamil, English, Konkani and Hindi.
One cannot call it a trip to Alleppey without indulging into three most vital entertainment sources; House Boat Cruises, Watching Snake Boat Race and taking Ayurveda Therapy.
House Boat Cruise: Alleppey is a land of backwaters. It’s a huge congregation of interrelated lagoons, waterways and canals. Even if you can’t spare time for the houseboat camping, you must not miss a short cruise in the Alleppey Backwaters. Sailing in a dexterously fabricated, wonderfully decorated and fully furnished terraced boat through the meandering backwaters fringed with exuberant paddy fields, luxuriant green landscapes, coconut and palm fringed littorals and water lily & algae along the banks is indeed a blissful experience.
Ayurveda Therapy: Kerala is the paradise of Ayurveda; ‘the knowledge for long life’. It’s an antique discipline of science and a nature based system of medication and healing. Alleppey is one of the blessed lands of Ayurveda that helps you relax and revitalize in the lap of Mother Nature. The stimulating flora and fauna of the milieu coupling with the freshness of the air and the profusion of Ayurvedic herbs and medicines render Alleppey a ballpark of Ayurveda. Tourists, both domestic and foreigners, particularly coddle in the Ayurvedic Massage and Spa that aid you to unwind and rejuvenate. Apart from curing a particular trouble, these therapeutic massages leave you totally refreshed and recharged.