Washed by the silvery waves of the Arabian Sea, Alappuzha, the Venice of the East welcomes you to the backwaters of kerala. Alappuzha is one of the most important tourist centers in the state, with a large network of inland canals earning it the sobriquet "Venice of the east". These large network of canals provide Alappuzha its lifeline. Alappuzha was one of the busiest centers of trade in the past with one of the best known ports along the Malabar coast. Even today it retains its charm as the centre for Coir carpet industries and prawn farming. Alappuzha the ideal headquarters for backwater tourism as well as for visits to the lovely church filled town of Kottayam, and the town of Aranmula, famous for its historic Aranmula Snake Boat Race which is an annual event.
Kerala - Picture Gallery
Alappuzha is also known for its spectacular snake - boat races held on the second Saturday of August, every year. This competition - the Nehru boat race takes its name from India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who inaugurated in 1952. It is excitement all around as snake - boats , each manned by over a hundred oarsmen, cut through the waters like wind. The event is a tremendous success with tourists and the local population alike. The boat cruise along the backwaters of Alappuzha give one first hand experience of the life style; toddy tapping, fishing for small fry, Coir-making, prawn farming etc., which remains more or less unchanged over the years.
The backwaters act as a vital waterway for the transport of goods, people and their produce are often the only link between isolated villages and crowded towns. In Kerala, the total expanse of backwater stretches over 1500 kms, with a network of 44 rivers, lagoons and lakes from north to south. Alappuzha which forms the main part of this network has the peculiar geographical feature of having the water in level with the land. This gives the advantage of getting a closer look at the village life on shore while on a backwater ride.
A glide in a "Kettuvallam" (Houseboat) through the enchanting backwaters of Alappuzha is sure to rob your heart. Palm fringed narrow canals winding through the vast expanse of paddy fields and the neat tiny hamlets lined up along either sides of the canals are panoramic sights one can never forget. The Chinese fishing nets, the reminiscent of our past trade links, are also found on the way. Flocks of ducks swimming around the banks and tiny birds flying across the sky remains as enduring pictures reflecting the charm of this unique land. The sparkling water and the caressing cool wind is a temptation too strong to resist. Country boats of various types crisscross the path
with passengers from all walks of Kerala's rural life ranging from milkman and newspaper boy to local politicians, priests and wedding parties. It is a unique experience as this is as close as one can get to feel the vibrant life in the countryside of god's own country