Alappuzha also known as Alleppey, is a city in Alappuzha District of Kerala state of southern India.It is the administrative headquarters of Alappuzha District. This town is considered to be the oldest planned town in this region and the lighthouse built on the coast of the town is the first of its kind along the Arabian coast (reference encyclopaedia of Kerala in Malayalam language). As per 2001 census Alappuzha is the sixth largest city in Kerala with an urban population of 177,029. Alappuzha is situated 62 kilometres (39 mi) to the south of Kochi and 155 kilometres (96 mi) north of Trivandrum. 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 Lord Curzon. Malayalam is the most spoken language. Hindi, English and Tamil are also widely spoken in the town.
Alappuzha is an important tourist destination in India. The Backwaters of Alappuzha are the most popular tourist attraction in Kerala. A houseboat cruise in these backwaters is a delightful experience. 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. 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 Arabian Sea, Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple, Mannarasala Temple, Chettikulangara Devi Temple, Haripad Subrahmanya Swamy Temple, Mullakkal Temple, Edathua Church, and Champakulam Valia Palli. Krishnapuram Palace also attracts many tourists. The tasty ambalappuzha payasam is a popular dessert.
Coir is the most important commodity manufactured in Alappuzha. 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.
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.
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 Arabian Sea.
The present Alappuzha district comprises six taluks, namely Cherthala, Ambalappuzha, Kuttanad, Karthikappally, Chengannur and Mavelikkara. Total area of this district is 1414sq.km. The district headquarters is located at Alappuzha.