Venice of the East
|Type of Tourism||: Backwaters, Beaches, Ayurveda|
|Area||: 1,414 square kilometers|
|Population||: 174,164 (As per Indian census- 2001)|
|Best Tourist Season||: September to March|
|Telephone Code||: India (0477), International (+91)|
|Pin Codes||: 688001|
|Clothing recommended||: Light cotton in summer, light woolen in winter|
|Languages spoken||: Malayalam, Tamil, English, Konkani, Hindi|
|What To Buy||: coir products, carpets, mattresses, doormats, rugs, coconut oil, nutmegs, cardamom, cloves, other spices, sandalwood, areca nut, pepper, sugar, fresh fruits, vegetables, bronze & copper wares, knives, combs, wood carvings, muslin, gold-bordered saris, local handicrafts, incense, etc.|
|Food Specialties||: Idli, Sambar, Rasam, Dosa, Appam, Rise, Wada, Puttu, Parippu, Chana, Tapioca, Banana, Jackfruit Chips, Aviyal, Kaalan, Thoran, Chicken Dishes, Lobster Fry, Spicy Steamed Fish, Fish Curry, Other Sea Food, Biriyani, Parathas, Payasam, Unniappam, Kozhakkatta, Herbal Teas, Etc.|
|Shopping Tips||: Most of the shops here sell more or less similar things so don’t hesitate to bargain.|
|Local transportation||: On foot, by boat, taxi, auto rickshaws, bus, cabs, self driven cars|
Alleppey, also reckoned as ‘Alappuzha’ is the sixth largest city in the state of Kerala renowned on the global front for its enchanting backwaters and luxurious house boat cruises. Acknowledged as the oldest planned town of this province, Alleppey is also referred to by the Encyclopedia of Kerala as the domicile of the first lighthouse built along the Arabian coast. Positioned approximately 62 km to the south of Cochin (Kochi) and about 155 km to the north of Thiruvananthapuram, this coastal civic is ornamented with pictorial canals, vivid backwaters, stunning lagoons, freshwater rivers and splendid beaches. The backwaters and the wetlands of Alleppey draw millions of migratory birds such as common teal, cormorants, ducks, etc every year who further multiply the charisma and the appeal of this dandy conurbation. This picturesque town of Southern India endowed with immeasurable scenic pulchritude is fittingly coroneted with the designation; ‘the Venice of the East’ by Lord Curzon; the erstwhile Viceroy and Governor-General of India.
On his visit to Alleppey, Lord Curzon; completely flabbergasted by its charm and loveliness had exclaimed: “Here nature has spent up on the land her richest bounties………Alleppey, the Venice of the East.”
The city derives its name ‘Alappuzha’ after its corporeal position and geographical features. The literal meaning of Alappuzha is ‘the terra firma flanked by the sea and the network of rivers flowing into it’. Bounded by the Arabian Sea to its west and garlanded with a large intertwining system of inland canals, Alleppey makes the idyllic nerve center of the backwater tourism in India. Exalted for its alluring snake - boat races, thriving coir and prawn farming industry and far-reaching paddy fields, Alleppey, the administrative headquarter of Alappuzha District is indeed the most blessed land in God’s Own Country. The coconut and palm fringed waterways, crystal clear lakes, backwaters stretches and virgin beaches of Alleppey revealing the pristine boon of nature tender a perfect vacation to nature lovers as well as peace seekers, to honeymooners as well as family persons. Alleppey, the land of bounteous beauty, hospitality, ayurveda, traditions and celebrations is a must visit Arcadia descended on the earth.
History Of Alleppey
The earliest history of Alleppey is dated back to the Middle Ages when it had established trade relations with ancient Greece and Rome. Archaic literary works like ‘Unnuneeli Sandesam’ throw light on the superannuated record of Alappuzha District. Archeological evidences such as stone inscriptions, rock-cut caves, monuments discovered in the olden temples and churches etc highlight the ostentatious historic worth of Alleppey. From 1st century AD Christianity had secured a strong grip in Alappuzha District. The ‘Kokkamangalam Church’ is believed to be one of the seven churches founded in 52 AD by one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ; St. Thomas. Between 9th to 12th century AD, Alleppey flourished under the 2nd Chera Empire.
Taking a leap of more than 5 centuries, in 17th century AD with the downfall of Portuguese, the Dutch acquired prominent position in the Alappuzha division. Signing various treaties with the Maharajas of Kayamkulam, Purakkad and Karappuram, they founded a number of factories and warehouses here and also interfered in the political as well as cultural dealings of Alleppey. At the same time, Maharaja Marthanda Varma; the ‘builder of modern Travancore’ mediated in the political affairs of those princedoms and Raja Kesava Das, the then Diwan of Travancore turned Alappuzha into a foremost port town of Travancore. Raja Kesava Das aggrandized as the ‘Maker of Modern Alleppey’ took keen interest in the all round development of Alleppey. He built several roads, canals and warehouses and enhanced communication and merchandise amenities in Alleppey Province.
Afterwards, during the governance of Balaramavarma Maharaja, his Diwan Velu Thampi Dalava also encouraged progress and development of Alleppey. 19th century Alleppey witnessed all round advancement in all possible spheres including judiciary and administration. One of the five subsidiary courts of the state established under the reorganization program of the judicial system undertaken by Colonel George Monro was stationed at Mavelikkara of Alappuzha. The very first ‘Post Office’ as well as the first ‘Telegraph Office’ of the Travancore State were situated in Alleppey. The first coir factory was established here in the year 1859 and the ‘Town Improvement Committee’ was also formed in the year 1894.
The legendary scuffle of Punnapra and Vayalar of the year 1946 played an important role in the Independence Movement of India. After the Independence, on 24th March 1948 a ministry was formed in Travancore and on 1st July 1949 the state of Travancore was merged with Cochin. After the creation of the state of Kerala on 1st November 1956, the Alappuzha District came into being as an individual unit from 17th August 1957.