Alleppey: Elsa’s Alleppey Homestay

Alappuzha  also known as Alleppey, is a town in Alappuzha District of Kerala state of southern India. A town with picturesque canals, backwaters, beaches, and lagoons, it was described as the one of the places known as “Venice of the East” by Marco Polo (1292). It is the administrative headquarters of Alappuzha District. Malayalam is the most spoken language. Hindi, English and Tamil are also widely understood in the town.

It has the highest population density among all districts of the state. It is 29.46% urbanised. [2]

For administrative purposes, the district is divided into two revenue divisions viz:

1. Alappuzha division comprising Cherthala, Ambalapuzha and Kuttanad taluks with 47 villages and
2. Chengannur division comprising Karthikapally, Chengannur and Mavelikkara taluks with 44 villages.

The panchayats in the district are Arookutty, Aroor, Aryad, Chennam Pallippuram, Cherthala South, Ezhupunna, Kadakkarappally, Kanjikkuzhi, Mannancherry, Mararikulam North, Mararikulam South, Kodamthuruth, Kuthiathode, Muhamma, Thaikattussery, Thanneermukkom, Thuravoor, Panavally, Pattanakkad, Perumbalam, Purakkad, Champakulam and Vayalar.

The municipalities in the district are Alappuzha, Cherthala, Chengannur, Kayamkulam and Mavelikkara

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

Snake boat races are the most significant traditional event in Alleppey. These spectacular regattas are usually held between August and October, and involve long thin boats powered by up to 120 oarsmen. The most famous snake boat race is the Nehru Trophy Boat Race.

Chemmeen was filmed in two villages in Alappuzha. In the opening credits, a written statement in Malayalam thanks the people of both villages.
Area 1414 km² – 3.64% of area of the state
Population 2,109,160 – 6.61% of the population of the state (2001)
Population density 1492/km² (2001)
Literacy 83%-94% (2001)
Sex ratio 1050 females/1000 males
Urbanization 29.46%

The church located at Kokkamangalam or Kokkothamangalam was one of the seven churches founded by St.Thomas, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ. Another church in Edathua attracts thousands across the country. St. George Ferona church is believed to be a centre for so many miracles.

The picturesque CSI Christ Church in Alappuzha town was built in 1818 by the first CMS (Church Missionary Society) missionary to India, Rev. Thomas Norton. It was the first Anglican Church to be established in the erstwhile state of Travancore.


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 network of canals provide Alleppey its lifeline. Alappuzha was one of the busiest centres 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. Chengannur in Alappuzha is the nearest railway station to Sabarimala. The Krishnapuram Palace is in Kayamkulam. The budha idol, Saradamandiram are the main attraction of Mavelikkara.The budha statue is in 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 a 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 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.

Latest addition to Alappuzha is the Revi Karunakaran Memorial Museum featuring countless arts and artefacts. Revi Karunakaran was the architect of 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.

Alleppey paddy fields in Kuttanadu

Kuttanad or Kuttanadu is an area of Alappuzha District, densely covered with waterways. Kuttanad is famous because of its paddy fields and farmers dedicated to the growth of paddy. It was once called the “Keralathinte Nellara”, which means “rice bowl of Kerala”. Many factors such as expense, labour shortage etc. seriously affected the agriculture in this region. Many former rice fields are now used for other crops which require much lesser investment. Kuttanadu is the birth place of literary legend Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai.


Chettikulangara Bharani is the most important festival in Alappuzha district. The festival is one among the important temple festivals of Kerala. Chettikulagara Bhagavathi Temple, the famous temple dedicated to the awesome Goddess Bhagavathi is about 4 km from Mavelikkara. The important festival here occurs on the Bharani asterism in February/ March.The main rituals of the festival are the ‘Kuthiyottam’ and ‘Kettukazcha’. The ‘Kuthiyottam’ features a procession of young boys who have observed rigorous ritual penance. Traditional drums, music and glittering ornamental parasols accompany this procession of boys who dance in a trance.

Padanilam Parabrahma Temple sivarathri is also an important festival in Alappuzha district.This festival is held every year in the Padanilam Temple.The temple is situated in a small town called Padanilam.Padanilam is situated in about 16 km from Mavelikkara town.This place can also be called as the festival village of Alappuzha because Padanilam witness a large number of festivals every year including vrischika mahotsavam,irupathiyetttamonam….etc.Padanilam is a place of religious unity.

A grand annual festival is celebrated at the unique ‘Nagaraja Temple’ here in October/November.’Chirappu Mahotsavam’ is a big occasion at Mullackal Temple in December. Another festival celebrated by the temple is a one-day Thaipooyan Kavadi. The famous Chandanakudam is celebrated at the Kidangam-Parampu Temple during December every year. Kottamkulangara Temple in Alappuzha have two festive seasons in February and March, because of two deities with separate flag masts in same compound wall.

The churches here celebrate grand annual feasts, an occasion to regale and rejoice. The ‘Arthunkal Perunnal’ is celebrated at the Arthunkal Church. The famous regatta forms part of many festivals here at many places. Annual Vallam Kali (Nehru Trophy Boat Race) is held in the backwaters in the month of September associated with the Onam festival. The main attraction is the Chundan Vallam (Snake Boat) race, in which a number of contestants are in the run for the famous Prime Minister’s trophy, a trophy donated by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India. Another important celebration in Alappuzha is “Beach Festival” held from December 30 to January 2.The annual festival conducted in Champakulam “Valiya Palli” ia another big festival.

* The biggest college in Alappuzha is Sanathana Dharma College.
* The St. Joseph’s College[disambiguation needed] is the exclusive college for girls; it is run by the Canossian Sisters.
* The Carmel Polytechnic College at Punnapra has been instrumental in the formation of thousands of technicians during the past 50 years.
* The Carmel International School at Punnapra is a recent addition to the educational map of Alappuzha.
* Al-Ameen Public School at Chandiroor(North End of Alappuzha District) is a part of reknown Al-Ameen Educational Trust.
* There are a Medical college T.D.medical College & 8 engineering colleges, namely;

* College of Engineering, Cherthala, Pallippuram, Alappuzha.
* College of Engineering, Chengannur, Alappuzha.
* College of Engineering & Management, Punnapra, Alappuzha
* Archana College of Engineering, Panamel, Alappuzha.
* K R Gouri Amma College of Engineering for Women, Cherthala, Alappuzha
* Sree Vellappally Natesan College of Engineering, Mavelikkara, Alappuzha.
* Sree Buddha College of Engineering, Nooranadu, Pattoor P O, Padanilam, Alappuzha.
* Mount Zion College of Engg. for women, Kozhuvallur, Chengannur, Alappuzha.

Famous  Boat  Races
July  14th            Moolam  boat  race,  Champakulam
Aug  13th           Nehru  Trophy  boat  race,  Alleppey
Aug                     Rajeev  Gandhi  boat  race,  Pulincunnu
Aug                     Kayamkulam  boat  race
Sep  09th           Mammen  Mappila  boat  race,  Neerettupuram
Sep  09 to 11    Paiyappad  boat  race
Sep  14th           Aranmula  Uthruttathi  boat  race