Alappuzha, a town with canals, backwaters, beaches and lagoons was described by George Curzon(a visiting diplomat of the time)as the “Venice of the East”. It is a noted tourist destination in India. Alappuzha Backwaters is a selling attraction in Kerala that attracts millions of domestic and international tourists. House boat cruises on these backwaters are possible. However, the Kerala State Water Transport Department provides government boat services which are a cheaper option to explore the backwaters of Kerala.
Alappuzha is globally famous for snake boat races. The annual Nehru Trophy Boat Rave held on Punnamada Lake on the second Saturday of August every year is a noted event of the state. It is said to be the most popular and competitive boat races in India. Other attractions in and around Alappuzha includes Alappuzha beach(offering a view of Laccadive Sea), Pathiramanal Island, Mullakkal Sree Rajarajeshwari Temple, Kalarkod Mahadeva Temple, Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple, St. Andrew’s Basilica, Arthunkal, Mannarasalw Temple, Chettikangara Devi Temple, Krishnapuram Palace, Alappuzha CSI Church (oldest Anglican Church in central Kerala), and Sree Nagaraja Swamy Temple(first and oldest Nagaraja Temple) and RKK Memorial Museum.
The Mullackal Chirap is a major Temple festival of Alappuzha held for ten days at the end of December. The Chettikulangara Bharani festival is another great option to experience the culture in Kerala. The Arthunkal Perunnal, the feast of St.Sebastian and St. George at Edathua is also popular and attended by Christians and non-Christians alike. The Krishnapuram palace, located in Kayamkulam, is popular for it’s grand architecture. The most alluring exhibit here is the Gajendra Moksham which is the largest single band of mural painting so far discovered in Kerala. The Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple is famous for it’s “palpayasam” and typical temple architecture style of Kerala. Located near the Power House Bridge, the RKK Museum stands as a memorial to philanthropist Ravi Karuna Karan and presents a variety of objects with major artistic value and distinction.
The major commodity manufactured in Alappuzha is coir. A Central Coir Research Institute is located at Kalavoor. Kuttanad, ‘the granary of Kerala’, is one of the few places in world where farming is possible below sea level. It is also popular as the traditional home of coir industry in Kerala. There are no forests and mountains in this district except for some scattered hillocks in the eastern part of the district. The town bounded by Laccadive Sea in the west has a network of lakes and freshwater rivers.
The economy of the district mainly depends on agriculture and marine products while recently, tourism has also become a major source of income; mainly due to the houseboats. Other than staying in a house boat on the backwaters, activities like kayaking, canoeing, paddy land tours, sightseeing tours are doable. The resorts and homestays in Alappuzha provide satisfactory experience at a feasible expense while also including the above mentioned activities in their packages.