This article is about the municipality in Kerala, India. For its namesake district, see Alappuzha district.

Houseboat in Alleppey,Alleppey Beach, Vembanad Lake
Nickname(s): "Venice of the East"

Coordinates: 9°29′N 76°20′E / 9.49°N 76.33°E / 9.49; 76.33Coordinates: 9°29′N 76°20′E / 9.49°N 76.33°E / 9.49; 76.33

Country  India
State Kerala
Region Central Travancore
District Alappuzha District
 • Municipal Chairman Smt. Mercy Teacher
Population (2011)
 • Total 174,164
 • Rank 6th
 • Density 4,466/km2 (11,570/sq mi)
 • Official Malayalam, English
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 688001
Telephone code 0477
Vehicle registration KL-04
Sex ratio 1079 /

Alappuzha (Tamil are also widely spoken in the town.

Alappuzha is an important tourist destination in India.[3] The Backwaters of Alappuzha are the most popular tourist attraction in Kerala. A houseboat cruise in these backwaters is a delightful experience.[4] It connects Kumarakom and Cochin towards north and Quilon to the South. Alappuzha is also the access point for the annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race, held on the Punnamada Lake, near Alappuzha, held on the second Saturday of August every year, is the most competitive and popular of the boat races in India.[5] The mullackal chirap is also one of the attractions of Allapuzha which is the festive season held ten colourful days every year in the month of December.

Other attractions in Alappuzha are Alappuzha Beach, offering one of the most beautiful views of the Laccadive Sea, Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple, Mannarasala Temple, Chettikulangara Devi Temple, Haripad Subrahmanya Swamy Temple, Mullakkal Temple, Edathua Church, Alappuzha CSI Christ Church (oldest Anglican church in Kerala) and Champakulam Valia Palli. Krishnapuram Palace[6] also attracts many tourists. The tasty ambalappuzha payasam is a popular dessert.

Coir is the most important commodity manufactured in Alappuzha.[7] The Coir Board was established by the Central Government under the provisions of the Coir Industry Act, 1955. There is also a Coir Research Institute functioning at Kalavoor.[8]


Carved out of the erstwhile Kottayam and Quilon districts, Alappuzha district was formed on 17 August 1957 and consisted initially of seven taluks, namely Cherthala, Ambalappuzha, Kuttanad, Thiruvalla, Chengannur, Karthikappally and Mavelikkara.[9]

The name Alappuzha is derived from the geographical position and physical features of the place. It means the land between the sea and network of rivers flowing into it. The district is bounded on the north by Kochi and Kanayannur taluks of Ernakulam district, on the east by Vaikom, Kottayam and Changanassery taluks of Kottayam district and Thiruvalla, Kozhencherry and Adoor taluks of Pathanamthitta district, on the South by Kunnathur and Karunagappally taluks of Kollam district and on the west by Laccadive Sea.[10]

The present Alappuzha district comprises six taluks, namely Cherthala, Ambalappuzha, Kuttanad, Karthikappally, Chengannur and Mavelikkara.[11] Total area of this district is The district headquarters is located at Alappuzha.


Alappuzha is a landmark between the broad Laccadive Sea and a web of rivers flowing into it. It is a town in Alappuzha District of Kerala state of southern India.

In the early first decade of the 20th century the then Viceroy of the Indian Empire, Lord Curzon made a visit in the State to Alleppey, now Alappuzha. Fascinated by the scenic beauty of the place, in joy and amazement, he said,
Here nature has spent up on the land her richest bounties. In his exhilaration, he exclaimed, Alleppey, the Venice of the East[12]

Kuttanad, the rice bowl of Kerala with the unending stretch of paddy fields, small streams and canals with lush green coconut palms, was well known even from the early periods of the Sangam age.[13] History says Alappuzha had trade relations with ancient Greece and Rome in the Middle Ages. The early Cheras, who had their home in Kuttanad were called `Kuttuvans` named after this place. Pliny and Ptolemy of the 1st and 2nd centuries had mentioned places like Purakkad or Barace in their classical works. The literary works like "Unnuneeli Sandesam" give some insight into the ancient period of this district, and some archaeological antiques like stone inscriptions, historical monuments found in the temples, churches, rock-cut caves also emphasise its historic value. Christianity had a strong foothold in this district even from the 1st century AD. The church located at Kokkamangalam was one of the seven churches founded by St. Thomas who was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ. It is generally believed that he landed at Maliankara in Muziris Port, presently known as Cranganore or Kodungallur in 52 AD and preached Christianity in South India. The district flourished in the field of religion and culture under the second Chera Empire during 9th to 12th centuries AD. The famous literary work, `Ascharya Choodamani`, a Sanskrit drama written by Sakthibhadran who was a scholar of Chengannur enables us to know many pertinent facts. Further, it is worthy to mention here about the temple on Lord Ayyappa in Mukkal vattam near Muhamma in Alappuzha District. It is called Cheerappanchira from where Lord Ayyappan learnt Kalari fight. Recently an album on Lord Ayyappa titled 'SABARIMALAI VA CHARANAM SOLLI VA' by P. Unni Krishnan has songs illustrating the history of this temple and the Lord Ayyappa's stay here before he took to conquer Mahishi Demon.[14]

Since landing in Calicut in 1498, the Portuguese started playing an influential role in Alappuzha. They started by spreading Catholicism and converting already existing Syrian Christians into Catholics. The famous St. Andrew's Basilica was built by them during this period.[15] In the 17th century the Portuguese power declined and the Dutch had a predominant position in the principalities of this district. They built many factories and warehouses for storing pepper, ginger relying on several treaties signed between the Dutch and the Rajas of Purakkad, Kayamkulam and Karappuram. In course of time they also delved into the political and cultural affairs of the district. At that time Maharaja Marthanda Varma, who was the 'Maker of modern Travancore' intervened in the political affairs of those princedoms.

In the 19th century the district saw progress in many spheres. One of the five subordinate courts opened in the state in connection with the reorganisation of the judicial system by Colonel George Monro was located at Mavelikkara. The first post office and first telegraph office in the former Travancore state were established in this district. The first manufacturing factory for the coir mats was also established here in 1859. In 1894 the town Improvement Committee was set up.

The history of Alappuzha District also murmurs the facts of the prominent role that the district played in the freedom struggle of the country. The historic struggles of Punnapra and Vayalar in 1946 constrained the attitude of the people against Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer, who was Dewan of Travancore. And this ultimately led to his exit from the political scene of Travancore. A popular Ministry was formed in Travancore on 24 March 1948 after India`s independence, and on 1 July 1949 Travancore and Cochin states were integrated. The position continued until the formation of Kerala State on 1 November 1956, under the States Reorganization Act 1956. The district came into existence as a separate administrative unit on 1 August 1957.

Geography and Climate

Alappuzha is located at 9°32′N 76°24′E / 9.54°N 76.40°E / 9.54; 76.40.[16] The average elevation is 1 metre (3.3 ft)[17] Alappuzha covers an area of 1,414 square kilometres (546 sq mi) and is flanked by 2,195 square kilometres (847 sq mi) of Vembanad Lake, where one can witness the magnificent union of six major rivers which spread out extensively before joining the 80 km coast line of the district. The town of Alappuzha is crisscrossed by a system of canals, which is a part of the National Waterway 3 (India).[18]

The district is a sandy strip of land intercepted by lagoons, rivers and canals. There are no mountains or hills in the district except some scattered hillocks lying between Bharanikkavu and Chengannur blocks in the eastern portion of the district. There are no forest area in this district.

Alappuzha is gifted with immense natural beauty with the Laccadive Sea on its west. The city has a vast network of lakes, lagoons and fresh water rivers. Due to their closeness to the sea it has developed an unparalleled destination in the maritime map of India.The richness of the coastal Alappuzha waters is expressed annually in the blooming and consequent deposit of a huge quantity of fishes and prawns on the Alappuzha coast called ‘Chakara’. This annual shifting of sandbank appears during the post-monsoon period and contributes to the local economy and is a festive season for the people of Kerala. The annual floods rejuvenate and cleanse the soil and water due to which there is abundance of marine life like prawns, lobsters, fishes, turtles,and other flora in the sea. The backwaters and wetlands host thousands of migrant common teal, ducks and cormorants every year who reach here from long distances. One of the major feature of this land is the region called Kuttanad, the 'granary of Kerala'. Kuttanad is also known as the rice bowl of Kerala and is one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea level. The paddy fields lie about 0.6 to 2 m below mean sea level.[19]

Owing to its proximity to the sea, the climate of Alappuzha is humid and hot during the summer. Although the place remains fairly cool and pleasant during the months of October and November.The average monthly temperature is 27C. The district also gets the benefit of two outstanding monsoons as in the case of other parts of the state. Alappuzha city experiences a long monsoon season with heavy showers as both the Southwest monsoon and Northeast monsoon influences the weather of Alappuzha. The South-west monsoon affects the climate in between the months from June to September. On the other hand the North-east monsoon brings rain from October to November. The average rainfall received by the region is 2763 mm.[20]

Climate data for Alappuzha
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 32
Average low °C (°F) 23
Precipitation mm (inches) 28
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 1 2 3 7 11 22 21 18 13 13 8 3 122
Source: Weather2Travel


According to 2011 census, Alappuzha district has a population of 21,21,943 with 10,10,252 men and 11,11,691 women[21] with a population density of 1492 persons per km2.[22] There are 1,86,022 persons under six years of age in Alappuzha district. The literacy rate of Alappuzha stands at 96.26% out of which 8,95,476 are males and 9,68,082 are females. Alappuzha has a decadal population growth of 0.61%. Alappuzha has a sex ratio of 1100[23] and the urban agglomeration had a population of 282,675 in 2001.[24]

The population is predominantly Hindu and Christian, and there are sizeable numbers of Muslims, too. The most widely spoken language is Malayalam, although there are many people speaking Tamil, and Konkani.

The standard dialect of Malayalam spoken is Central Travancore dialect.[25] Konkani is a language that is spoken in the Konkan region. During the Portuguese and Dutch invasions of the 16th and 18th centuries, many konkanis migrated southwards to Thuravoor, Cherthala and Alappuzha in the state of Travancore as well as other places in Kerala like Cochin, Kodungalloor, Kollam etc. A majority of these people settled in Alappuzha.[26][27][28]


The economy of the district is predominantly based on agriculture and marine products. The agricultural activities predominantly revolve around Kuttanad region, the rice bowl of Kerala. Though the district is industrially backward, some traditional industries based on coir and coir products, marine products, handlooms, different types of handicrafts, toddy tapping, have been active from the very early times. The district is known as the traditional home of coir industry in Kerala.[29]

The availability of plenty of raw materials and the existence of backwaters and canals suitable for the getting of green husk and accessibility of transportation are the main factors of the development of this industry. Arabs had carried on trade in coir products from very ancient period. The manufacture of mats and mattings was first introduced in 1859 by Mr. James Durragh.[30]

The Coir Board was established by the Central Government under the provisions of the Coir Industry Act, 1955.[31] There is a Coir Research Institute functioning at Kalavoor.[32] The National Coir Training and Designing Centre was also established at Alappuzha in 1965.[33]

Coir is the most important commodity manufactured in Alappuzha, Kayamkulam, Kokkothamangalam, Komalapuram, Mannancherry, Muhamma and Vayalar,[34] Coir products in Cherthala and Mannancherry, Lime shell in Arookutty and Kodamthuruth, Plywood in Chengannur, Keltron controls in Aroor,[35] Potassium Chloride in Mavelikkara and coconut in Thanneermukkom. The other important commodities manufactured in these towns are copra, coconut oil, glass, mats and matches.[36]

In recent times, tourism has become a major source of revenue. This is mainly due to the presence of houseboats that provide the tourists a view of the scenic backwaters of the city. Another reason is the proximity to other popular tourist spots like Munnar and Varkala.


Pallathuruthy bridge

The city is accessible by air, rail, road and water. Cochin International Airport, which is 78 kilometres (48 mi) to the North, is the closest airport. Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, 159 kilometres (99 mi) to the South, is the other airport that links the district with other countries. International tourists utilise this facility to reach Alappuzha. The other nearest airports are at Kozhikode (236 kilometres (147 mi)) and Coimbatore (254 kilometres (158 mi)). There is also a helipad in the city which however is reserved for government uses.

One major rail line passes through Alappuzha. The railway station is about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) away from the center of the town. Alappuzha Railway Station is linked by rail to cities like Trivandrum, Cochin, Coimbatore, Chennai, Bokaro and Mumbai.[37] A total of four trains originate from Alappuzha to cities like Kannur, Chennai, Dhanbad, and Tatanagar. Since Alappuzha is a prime destination, many trains from important cities, like Banglore, Manglore, Kozhikode, and Amritsar, pass through this station.[38]

Alappuzha is also well connected by road. The town service is served by white and brown coloured private buses with routes starting from Erattakulanagra Temple at Ambalappuzha till Kalavoor. These buses connect the city with the surrounding suburbs. National Highway NH 47 passes through the city connecting the city to other major cities like Coimbatore, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Kollam, and Trivandrum.[39] The state run KSRTC runs buses connecting Alappuzha to these cities.

The presence of a lot of backwaters and canals makes water transport a popular means of transport. National Waterway-3 passes through Alappuzha. There is an SWTD boat jetty in the city that lies opposite to the KSRTC bus stand. It is served by regular boat services to major towns like Kottayam and Kollam besides to other small towns and jetties. Taking an SWTD boat is a cheaper alternative to houseboats for enjoying the scenic beauty of Alappuzha.

Administration and Politics

Alappuzha Town officials
Municipal chairman Smt.Mercy Diana Mazido (Mercy Teacher)[40]
Superintendent of Police Mr.E.Divakaran[41]

The two administrative systems prevailing in the district are revenue and local self-government. Under the revenue system, the district is divided into two revenue divisions, 6 taluks and 91 villages. The two revenue divisions are Alappuzha division comprising Cherthala, Ambalapuzha and Kuttanad taluks consisting of 47 villages and Chengannur division comprising Karthikapally, Chengannur and Mavelikkara taluks consisting of 44 villages. For census purposes, Aroor, Arookutty, Kodamthuruth, Thanneermukkom Vadakku, Thaneermukkam Thekku, Vayalar East and Kokkothamangalam village, except the portions included in Cherthala municipality are treated in the 1981 census as census towns based on the threefold criteria adopted for treating a place as census town. Under the local self-government system, the district is divided into 5 statutory towns and development blocks consisting of 71 panchayats. It may be noted that the jurisdiction of a Development Block includes the areas falling in census towns also.[42]

There were 9 legislative assembly segments in Alappuzha district for the 2011 Assembly elections. They are Aroor, Cherthala, Alappuzha, Kuttanad, Haripad, Kayamkulam, Mavelikkara and Chengannur.[43]

Alappuzha assembly constituency is part of Alappuzha (Lok Sabha constituency). The other Lok Sabha constituency of the district is Mavelikkara[44]


Education in Alappuzha got a boost with the development of many schools, computer institutes and colleges all over the district. Alappuzha holds a distinct position in Kerala in terms of literacy rate. Presently, this district has 9 training schools, 405 lower primary schools, 105 high schools and 87 higher secondary schools.[45]

The first school in Alappuzha, the CMS (Church Missionary Society) School, was established in 1816. The school was established by Rev. Thomas Norton, the first CMS missionary to India. The first Higher secondary school in Alappuzha was Leo XIIIth Higher Secondary School opened on 1889 June 1, by Portuguese Bishop John Gomes Pereira of Cochin.[46]

Colleges in Alappuzha offer both graduate and post graduate courses for their students.[47] Some of the colleges in Alappuzha are College of Engineering, Cherthala – IHRD,[48] CUCEK[Cochin University College of Engineering Kuttanad],SD College, SN College, N.S.S. College,[49] College of Engineering and Management(Punnapra),College of Engineering-IHRD(Chengannur),[50] College of Applied Science(IHRD, Mavelikkara), TD Medical College,[51] St. Joseph's College for Women,[52] St. Michael's college,[53] T.K Madhava Memorial college,[54] and St. Aloysius college.[55]

See also

  • List of people from Alappuzha
  • Travancore Labour Association
  • Technical Higher Secondary School, Cherthala, Pallippuram


External links

  • Kerala State Water Transport Department official website
  • Official website of Alappuzha District
  • Alappuzha Tourism
  • Events and Festivals list Alappuzha District
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