About AlappuzhaSituating in the Town Alappuzha district of Kerala Alappuzha or previously and more popularly known as Alleppey is one of the most important tourist destination of God’s Own Country - Kerala. Enamoured by the enchanting scenic beauty of this backwater queen, Lord Curzon, the then viceroy of India (1st Decade of 20th Century) expressed his felicity by calling Alleppey the Venice of the East. The city is still famous with this sobriquet. There are numerous canals, beaches and especially backwaters which have made this place the most attractive tourist spot in Kerala. Alappuzha is also the headquarters of Alappuzha district.
Brief History of AlappuzhaThe district of Alappuzha was formed in 1957. But the place has a long and rich historical as well as the mythological past. Kuttanad which is called the Rice Bowl of Kerala is the long land form with a huge stretch of paddy fields, rows of coconut and palm trees and numerous water bodies is the main physical characteristic of this place.
Historical evidences say that Alappuzha had its trade history with Greece and Portugal. Especially the Portuguese merchants and travelers had long been coming to this place since they arrived at Calicut. Therefore, besides trading, the Portuguese started preaching Catholicism and baptizing the resident Syrian Christians. But during 17th century the Portuguese influence started falling and the Dutch took important place and position in Alappuzha. They used to trade the spices mainly ginger, pepper and cinnamon, etc from here. But eventually they started spreading their inevitable influence on the culture and political affairs in Alappuzha until the ‘Maker of Modern Travancore’ Maharaja Marthanda Varma interceded.
Besides giving the Dutch a strong setback from the political picture of Alappuzha by making copious annexations between the native kingdoms of Alappuzha and surrounding localities, Maharaja Marthanda Varma did several important developments for Alappuzha.
After Maharaja Marthanda Varma, Alappuzha saw the maximum internal growth as a prosperous town during the reign of Dharmaraja and Raja Kesava Dasa, the ‘Maker of Modern Alleppey”.Raja Kesava Dasa played a significant role to make Alappuzha a prime Port-Town. During his rule several roadways, waterways, tradeways, canals, etc were made to ease out ways for commercial usage. Under the rule of Maharaja Balaramavarma there were lot of internal development done. The place got its first post and telegraph office, judicial courts, some well-equipped factories and the Town Development Committee.
Under the British rule, Alappuzha also witnessed many movements including rigorous fights for freedom and struggles of Punnapra and Vayalar which was historically renowned as the movement against the then Diwan of Travancore, Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer. Another significant movement which made Alappuzha a socially conscious town was the campaign against untouchability led by a brave journalist T. K. Madhavan. This led the famous Ambalappuzha Shree Krishna Swami Temple to be open for all Hindus irrespective of their individual castes.
Alappuzha also has its mythological linkage to the great epic Mahabharata. It is believed that Pandavas visited Alappuzha while on exile and stayed for a couple of months over here. A natural rock declaring the connection between Alappuzha and Pandavas do still exist in this city.
Geography of Alappuzha
Alappuzha previously known as Alleppey is a district of Kerala and is, basically, a sandy stretch of land criss-crossed by numerous water bodies, rivers, canals and lagoons. The district covers a total area of 546 square meters. The significant existence of a lake in this district called Vembanad which covers an area of 847 square meters where joins six different rivers before stretching towards the coastal line. The west of Alappuzha there is the Laccadive Sea. The abundance of water bodies of both the sea and the fresh water made this town heaven for fishing and enhances the economy. The land of Alappuzha is very fertile especially for ice cultivation. Apart from rice, Coconut is another product hugely cultivate in Alappuzha.
ClimateAs a coastal city, the climate of Alappuzha is naturally hot and humid during the summer time. From September end to November the climate remains cooler. During the summer the average temperature remains around 27-29 degree Celsius while the highest and the lowest temperature recorded in this place are 32 and 23 degree Celsius respectively. As the basic trait of a coastal city, Alappuzha has two very long monsoon seasons running between June and September and then October and November. During the monsoon season the average precipitation is around 2763 mm.
Major Attractions of Alappuzha
Kerala is referred as the ‘God’s Own Country’ for its utter natural beauty. Alappuzha or Alleppey as it is more popular has its own scenic beauty contributed by the numerous water bodies, rivers, backwater and sea which essentially made Alappuzha, undoubtedly, one of the major tourist destination in Kerala.
‘The Venice of the East’ is also one of the busiest port town on the western coastline. The main attraction of Alappuzha is the backwater tourism popularized by the beautiful traditional house boats floating on the serene water. This place is a perfect gateway for the tourists to embrace the nature.
Another definitive feature of Alappuzha tourism is the classic dance form of Kathakali, an unequaled concoction of dance, drama, story-telling and painting all with the elaborate make-up and animated movements. Alappuzha is also the hub of Coir manufacturing which is made of the coconut husk. Visitors are drawn to catch up the manufacturing process in many factories. There are several other attractive spots in Alappuzha which draw thousands of tourists throughout the year in this place. Some important places to visit are:
- Alappuzha Sea beach
- Kattoor Beach
- Marari Beach
- Andhakaranazhi Beach
- Kayamkulam Lake
- Vembanad Lake
- Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple
- Chakkulathukavu Temple
- Ambalapuzha Sree Kishna Temple
- Kanichukulangara Temple
- Mullakkal Bhagavathy Temple
- Thiruvanvandoor Pamabanaiappan Temple
- Chavara Bhavan Shrine
- St. Mary’s Church
- Alappuzha CSI Christ Church
- Edathua Church
- St. Andrew’s Basilica Arthunkal
- Samskithy Center for Indian Performing Arts
- Revi Karunakaran Museum
- Alappuzha Light House
- Pandavan Rock etc.
Shopping in Alappuzha
No tour is complete without any shopping from that place. And when in Kerala, no tourist can resist him/herself from buying some handful of richly aromatic spices and herbs and various other stuffs in abundance. Though Alappuzha is not an ideal shopping paradise for the shopaholics but yet one can find several places for shopping the specialities of Alappuzha. The city is famous for coir and carpet manufacturing. Almost everywhere of the city one can find good quality carpets other product made off coconut husks. If one wishes to shop for spices and herbs there are also plenty of shops offering beautifully fragrant spices including cardamom, pepper, dried ginger, cinnamon etc. And for other knick-knacks one can resort to various shopping complexes scattered here and there in the city.
Festivals in AlappuzhaThe most significant festival in Alappuzha is Chettikulangara Bharani. It is kind of temple festivity which usually takes place in a Chettikulangara Bhagavati Temple dedicated to the goddess Bhagavati. Another important festival in the city is the Annual Ambalappuzha Temple festival in the name of Lord Sree Krishna. This festival is celebrated annually in March-April.
Chakkulathukavu Pongala is celebrated in the Chakkulathukavu Temple during the month of November/December every year. Some other significant Hindu religious festivals and rituals are the Chenganur Arattu, Mannarassala Ayilyam, Mullkal Chirappu etc.
As the Christian community in Alappuzha is in majority, some big Catholic festivities also take place. The annual feasts at the Edathwa, the Arthunakal and various other Churches are some of the examples of those celebrations. Among the non-religious festivals the most popular one is the Annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race (Vallam Kali in Malayam meaning Game of Boat) held in the Punnamaa Lake.
Food in Alappuzha
Alappuzha is famous for its edible marine creatures such as prawn, squids, shrimps, crabs etc and various other sea and fresh-water fishes. Fish and rice are the staple food of the whole state. Alleppey fish curry, Varutharacha Kozhi curry with steamed tapioca, fish molly and Kerala Beaf Fry etc are the most famous traditional non vegetarian dishes while in vegetarian cuisine Crispy Banana Chips, Kurukku Kalan, many types of Thoran and Pachadi in main meal and Bonda, Vada, various types of Dosai, Appam, Idly with Veg Korma and various types of chutneys in snack item would keep one ask for more.
How to Reach AlappuzhaThe city is accessible through all means i.e. rail, air, road and water. The nearest railway station is Alappuzha Railway Station which is thoroughly linked to Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Coimbatore, Cochin and Mumbai and Bokaro. There are many other trains available from cities like Bengaluru, Mangalore, Kozhikode, etc.
The nearest airport to Alappuzha is Cochin International Airport which is 78 km far from the city.
Quick Facts about AlappuzhaCity- Alappuzha
Government- Municipal Chairman
Total- 1414 Sq. Km.
Elevation- 1 metre
Population as per 2011 Census
Density- 1492/Sq Km.
Time Zone-IST (UTC+5.30)
Postal Index Number- 688001
STD Code- 0477
Official Language/s- Malayalam, English