Connoted as the ‘Venice of the East’ by Lord Curzon, Alappuzha is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in Kerala. Located in Alappuzha district of Kerala, this town is also known as Alleppey. Situated at a distance of 155 km from Thiruvananthapuram and around 62 km to the south of Kochi, the destination is famous for its backwaters.
History of Alleppey
The history of the place dates back to the 16th century. In 1762, Alleppey was founded by the Dewan of Travancore, Raja Kesavadas. During this time, there was only one canal through the strip of sand between the Arabian Sea and Vembanad Lake. However, soon, the town grew into a bustling waterway. Both banks of the canal were dotted with several commercial establishments, shops and factories. This attracted merchants from other parts of India to the region. The town was amongst the busiest trade centres, which had a port along the Malabar Coast. Traders travelling to the destination from across the world came in search for souvenirs and black gold.
By the mid 19th century, more land was available along the sand strip due to the receding sea. This further provided more opportunities for trading vessels to travel to Alleppey. The first coir factory in this town was established in 1859. The factory was engaged in the production of coir yarn on a loom, which was developed by an English captain. The opening of this factory was followed by the establishment of several British-owned weaving factories.
By 1816, Alleppey was chosen by the Church Missionary Society to set up its local headquarters. Three years later, in 1819, the first Anglican Church was constructed in Alleppey. Later, in 1851, the town also received the honour of housing the first post office.
People & Culture of Alleppey
Today, this town is known for its coir carpet industries as well as a centre for prawn fishing. The networks of canals and bridges along the silver beach make Alleppey one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Kerala. The historic Aranmula Snake Boat Race, which is an annual event, also attracts a lot of tourists to Alleppey. Alleppey is also known for its Ayurvedic massage centres. Many centres are run by a team of Ayurvedic doctors where they conduct wellness programs for tourists.
Things to do in Alleppey
Alleppey is famous for its backwaters and also has other attractions such as temples, churches and lakes. Travellers can either opt for Alleppey packages
or just explore the town as a backpacker. Apart from the backwaters, another highlight of the region is Karumadi, which is located at a distance of 3 km from Alleppey. This village is visited by large number of tourists as it is home to a large, black granite statue of Lord Buddha known as Karumadi Kuttan
. Other tourist places in Alleppey include the Pandavan Rock
, Mullakkal Rajeshwari Temple
, Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple
, St. Andrew's Church
, St Sebastian's Church
and Champakulam Church
Food & Shopping in Alleppey
Though there are not many options for shopping in Alleppey, its local coir industry is famous and coir products can be bought from local manufacturers or shops. Houseboats in Alleppey offer cruises along the backwaters. Some offer the facility of cooking on board, which provides a chance for tourists to taste authentic local cuisine. Fish constitutes a major part of the staple diet of the locals and restaurants too offer some local favourites such as fish curries and biryani. Bakeries on Mullakkal Road offer an array of baked goods like puff pastries, cookies and sweet treats like homemade ice cream.
Travelling to Alleppey
Alleppey can be reached by rail, air and road. The nearest airport is in Cochin. From Cochin, tourists can take a train to reach Alleppey
. The station in this town is also connected to bigger cities like Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai. Almost all major bus operators have buses plying between Alleppey and Cochin. It takes a two-hour bus ride to reach Alleppey from Cochin. Taking an overnight bus from Bangalore or Coimbatore is also an option.
Accommodation options in Alleppey
Tourists have many attractive options when it comes to hotels in Alleppey
. Right from heritage hotels, sea-facing resorts to Kerala houseboats; the list is endless. And for those looking for affordable options to stay, there are a few hotels that are located in the main city of the destination too.
The best time to visit Alappuzha extends from the month of August to February. However, to enjoy different activities, the best time also varies. For instance, for sightseeing, the ideal time to visit the destination is from December to February. For tourists, who want to be a part of festivals in Alleppey, the ideal season to visit is from August to November.