Alleppey is one of the most important tourist centers in the state of Kerala, with a large network of inland canals earning it the sobriquet "Venice of the east". These large network of canals provide Alleppey its lifeline. Alleppey 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. Alleppey 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.
Alleppey 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 Alleppey 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.
PLACES TO VISIT IN ALLEPPEY:-
Ambalapuzha Temple :- It is situated 14 kms. away from Alleppey. In its architectural features, the Sreekrishna Temple confirms the typical Kerala style. The temple is famous through out Kerala for 'Palpayasam' a milk porridge of exceptional sweetness offered to the deity.
Karumadikkuttan :- Situated 3 km east of Ambalapuzha, this village is known for its 10th century Karumadikkuttan statue, a black granite figure of the great Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. There are many interesting legends connected to this idol.
Champakulam :- Champakulam - the water logged village is also the place of oldest angadi (market) known as Kalloorkkadu angadi. The St. Mary Forane Church built in 427 A D is another major attraction famous for its beautiful mural paintings for both tourists and believers. In Champakulam you can see Nadubhagum and Champakulam snake boats which take part in the annual snake boat races
Pathiramanal :- This Island on the backwaters is a favorite haunt of hundreds of rare migratory birds from different parts of the world. The island lies between Thaneermukkom and Kumarakom, and is accessible only by boat.
R-block :- This area is very famous for its backwaters and you can have very beautiful scenes of paddy fields. This is one of the places in the world where farming is done below sea level.
Alleppey Beach :- This is one of the most popular picnic spots in Aleppey. The pier, which extends into the sea here, is over 137 years old. There is also an old lighthouse, which is greatly fascinating to visitors.
Krishnapuram palace :- Built by Marthanda Varma, it is at Karthikapally in Kayamkulam and is famous for its mural depicting the story of Gajendramoksham. In this 18-century museum you can see antique sculptures, paintings and bronzes.
Boat Race :- Allappuzha is world famous for its Snake Boat Race. Boat Races usually take place at the time of Onam festival.