Alappuzha or Alleppy, (anglicised) is a city in the South Indian state of Kerala, ‘God’s Own Country’.
Alappuzha is so named because of its geographical position; it literally means the land between the sea and the rivers flowing into it. It is replete with canals, backwaters, lagoons and beaches, earning it the sobriquet, ‘Venice of the East’.
Though the district of Alappuzha was officially formed only in August 1957, the place itself is steeped in history, being one of the places where St. Thomas (one of 12 apostles of Jesus) established a church to propagate Christianity. Trade with Greece and Rome was carried out in the Middle Ages.
The earliest rulers are thought to be the Cheras, and it is believed that Lord Ayyappa trained in the Kalari martial arts here. In later times, the Dutch and Portuguese signed treaties of trade with the rulers.
Alleppy is famous for
The scenic beauty of Alleppey is mesmerizing, and it is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in India.
The backwaters are a very rare geographical phenomenon: a series of brackish lakes and lagoons parallel to the Arabian Sea.
One can find unique aquatic species and water plants here; various palms, shrubs and bushes are seen growing along the borders, encasing the backwaters in a shade of green. The play of light especially during sunrise and sunset is a delight to watch and provides many photo opportunities.
Outdoor and Adventure
Taking a ride on the backwaters in a houseboat is an experience of a lifetime. The sights along the way, of houses with their own boat jetties, and with steps leading into the water for people to bathe or do their washing, leave visitors enthralled.
The Kumarakom bird Sanctuary is another place for nature lovers.
Where there is the sea and lagoons, there will be beaches too. There are several beaches in Alappuzha, the most popular being Marari and Alappuzha beaches.
It is no surprise that Alappuzha is a favourite destination of Honeymooners: cruising slowly down a tranquil lake on a houseboat far from the hustle and bustle of the city and surrounded by Nature at her best; few experiences could be more romantic!
Houseboats are available for rent overnight or even for 2 days.
Though Malayalam is the main language, most people also speak Tamil, Hindi and English.
The staple food is rice, fish and tapioca. Alleppey seafood is famous, especially the ‘Karimeen Pollichathu’, Pearlspot fish (indigenous to the region) marinated, wrapped in banana leaves and fried.
There is a strong Christian presence in the city and there are several famous churches in addition to the temples here. Onam is the most famous festival and the annual ‘snake boat’ or Chundanvallom race for the Nehru Trophy is held at that time.
This unique race attracts thousands of foreign tourists each year.
While tourism (read houseboats) brings in a good part of the revenue for this city, agriculture (rice, spices) and marine products are the main earners.
Coconut oil, copra and the coir industry are the other revenue generators; mats and other coir products are also exported.
Climate and Best Time to Visit
The climate is hot and humid almost throughout except when it rains.
It is relatively cool during October-January. But barring the months of heavy rain (June-September) one can visit any time.