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Introduction to Alappuzha

Introduction to Alappuzha

About Alappuzha, Alappuzha District, Alleppey Tourism, Alleppey:
Alappuzha or Alleppey is one of the 14 districts in the state of Kerala in India. It was formed as Alleppey District on August 17, 1957. The name of the district was officially changed to Alappuzha in 1990. The district is a widely known tourist destination and is well known for its coir factories. Most of Kerala's coir industries are situated in and around Alappuzha. The district is also known for its communist traditions. It is home to the Punnapra Vayalar strikes against the British and also the revolt against feudal raj. Alappuzha is strongly connected by waterways to various other parts of Kerala, including the famous tourist destination, Kumarakom.

The name Alappuzha is derived from 'Aal(Sea)+ puzhai(River/Mouth)(The joint place of river and Sea)' (Malayalam/Tamil ). Alappuzha is one of the most important tourist centres in the state, with a large network of inland canals earning it the sobriquet "Venice of the East". These large networks of canals provide Alleppey 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 center 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. Chengannur in Alappuzha is the nearest railway station to Sabarimala. The Krishnapuram Palace is in Kayamkulam. The Buddha idol, Saradamandiram are the main attraction of Mavelikkara. The Buddha statue is in a seated posture, resembling Padmasana. A feature common to the idols is that hair has not been engraved on the head. Studies by the Archaeology Department have not been able to explain the absence of hair which is common in Buddha statues of the Gandhara and Mathura tradition. The head has markings resembling headgear. Though the department has made a pagoda-like structure for the statue, no information on the idol is available to tourists who visit the area. Local people in the area light lamps before the idol. The idol at Mavelikara is 4 feet (1.2 m) high and is perhaps, the biggest. The engravings on the head resemble a helmet of Greek statues. The mark of a sacred thread is visible on the body. Another feature is the marking of a shawl on one shoulder. Here the Archaeological Department has put up a board specifying the age of the statue. Saradamandiram was the residence of Keralapanini.

Alappuzha is also known for its 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 was 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 gives one first hand experience of the lifestyle; toddy tapping, fishing for small fry, Coir-making, prawn farming etc., which remains more or less unchanged over the years.

The latest addition to Alappuzha is the Revi Karunakaran Memorial Museum features countless arts and artifacts. Revi Karunakaran was the architect of a modern Coir industry that still employs more than 500,000 people in the state of Kerala. The objects featured at the Museum were collected by his family over three generations and features unique artistic pieces from all parts of the world.

Alappuzha, the district headquarters, is a town with picturesque canals, backwaters and lagoons, was described as the "Venice of the East" by Lord Curzon

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