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Backwaters in Alappuzha
|• District Collector||Suhas S|
|• Total||1,414 km2 (546 sq mi)|
|• Density||1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)|
|• Official||Malayalam, English|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
|ISO 3166 code||IN-KL|
Alappuzha (pronunciation (help·info)) is one of the 14 districts in the state of Kerala in India. It was formed as Alleppey District on August 17, 1957. The name of the district was officially changed to Alappuzha in 1990. Alleppey town was renamed Alappuzha in 2012, even though the anglicised name is still commonly used to describe the town as well as the district.
Alappuzha is well connected by waterways to various other parts of Kerala, including the famous tourist destination of Kumarakom; and the district is itself a well known tourist destination. The district is known for its Coir factories, as most of Kerala's coir industries are situated in and around Alappuzha.
The present town owes its existence to Raja Kesavadas in the second half of the 18th century but the district of Alappuzha figures in classical literature. Kuttanad, the rice bowl of Kerala, was well known from early in the Sangam period. History says Alappuzha had trade relations with ancient Greece and Rome in BC and in the Middle Ages.
Early members of the Chera dynasty had their home in Kuttanad and were called Kuttuvans. There is archaeological evidence of the early period of the district, such as stone inscriptions and monuments, in temples and caves, as well as in literary works such as Unnuneeli Sandesam. The famous literary work of this period was Ascharya Choodamani a Sanskrit drama written by Sakthibhadra who was a scholar of Chengannur grammar. The kingdom of Chempakasseri was at its zenith during the reign of Pooradam Thirunal Devanarayana, a great scholar and a poet who was the author of Vedantha Retnamala, a commentary on the first verse of Bhagavat Geetha. It is said that Sreekrishna Swami temple, at Ambalappuzha was constructed and the idol of Lord Krishna installed during that time. It is believed that Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri, Neelakanta Deekshithar, and Kumaran Namboothiri were eminent scholars who patronized his court.
In the 17th century the Portuguese power declined and the Dutch had a predominant position in the principalities of this district. The church located at Kokkamangalam or Kokkothamangalam was one of the seven churches founded by St. Thomas the Apostle, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ. 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.
It was at that time Maharaja Marthandavarma, the ‘Maker of modern Travancore’ interfered in the political affairs of those principalities. Marthandavarma Maharaja had a remarkable role in the internal progress of the district. The Krishnapuram Palace, which is now a protected monument of the State Archaeology Department, was constructed during that period. It was at that time that the great and talented poet Kunjan Nambiar was installed in the court. He was known as the ‘Maker of modern Alleppey’ and played a key role in making Alappuzha a premier port town of Travancore.
During the reign of Balaramavarma Maharaja, Velu Thampi Dalava took keen interest in the development of the town and port. He brought the whole area of the island Pathiramanal under coconut cultivation and large tracts under paddy cultivation. The role of Velu Thampi Dalava in the development of Alappuzha is worth mentioning. In the 19th century the district attained progress in all spheres.
The first modern factory for the manufacture of coir mats and mattings was also established in 1859 at Alappuzha. The town Improvement Committee was set up in 1894.
This district had a prominent role in the freedom struggle of the country. The campaign for the eradication of untouchability was organized much earlier in this district by T.K. Madhavan, a journalist and in 1925 the approach roads to the temples, especially in Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Swami temple were thrown open to the Hindus of all castes. The district also witnessed the ‘Nivarthana’ movement which was started as a protest against the constitutional repression in 1932. The first political strike in Kerala was held at Alappuzha in 1938.
The municipalities in the district are:
Taluks in Alappuzha municipality are:
Taluks in Chengannur municipality are:
According to the 2011 census, Alappuzha district has a population of 2,121,943, roughly equal to the nation of Namibia or the US state of New Mexico. This gives it a ranking of 216th in India (out of a total of 640). The district has a population density of 1,501 inhabitants per square kilometre (3,890/sq mi) . Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 0.61%. Alappuzha has a sex ratio of 1100 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 96.26%.
|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)|
|Sex ratio||1100 females/1000 males|
National Highway 66 (India) is one of the longest national highways in India. It connects Panvel to Kanyakumari passes through the city and allow to connect other major cities like Mumbai, Udupi, Mangalore, Kannur, Kozhikode, Ernakulam, Kollam, and Trivandrum. Alappuzha is also well connected by road. There is a plan to upgrade State Highway 11 (Kerala) to national highway status which helps to connect Alappuzha to Kodaikanal as part of promoting coastal-hill tourism project.
There are eight state highways in Alappuzha district and three of them originates from Alappuzha town. State Highway 11 (Kerala) is a state Highway that starts in Kalarcode, Alappuzha and ends in Perunna, Changanassery. The road is popularly known as AC road (Alappuzha Changanassery) road and it has 24.2 km length. It's an important busy road which connects Alappuzha city with Kottayam district. State Highway 40 (Kerala) is an interstate state highway in Alappuzha district which connects with Alappuzha town to Madurai, Tamil Nadu. It's the only interstate state highway in Alappuzha district. State Highway 66 (Kerala) is a state highway which originates from Alappuzha town and terminates at Thoppumpady, Ernakulam.
Main Central Road is the arterial State Highway in the Travancore region of Kerala state. It is designated as SH 1 by the Kerala Public Works Department. It passes through Chengannur town of Alappuzha district and helps it to connect with other parts of Kerala. State Highway 5 (Kerala) is another State Highway that starts in Kayamkulam and ends at Pulimukku junction. The highway is 42.5 km long. State Highway 6 (Kerala) starts in Kayamkulam and ends in Thiruvalla. This highway has 30.8 km length. State Highway 10 (Kerala) is a State Highway that starts in Mavelikkara and ends in Kozhencherry. The highway is 28.7 km long. State Highway 12 (Kerala) that starts in Ambalapuzha and ends in Thiruvalla and has 27.2 km length.
Following are the vehicle registrations in Alappuzha District:
Old structure:- Following are the old registration numbers in Alappuzha District:-
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 boat services to major towns like Kottayam, Kollam and Changanassery besides to other small towns and jetties. Taking an SWTD boat is a cheaper alternative to houseboats for enjoying the scenic beauty of Alappuzha.
Alappuzha district has two railway lines. Ernakulam–Kayamkulam coastal railway line primarily links with Alappuzha railway station, Cherthala railway station and Kayamkulam Junction railway station, Whereas Ernakulam-Kottayam-Kayamkulam line connects the eastern region of district and that is Chengannur railway station and Mavelikara railway station.
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 use this facility to reach Alappuzha. The other nearest airports are at Kozhikode (236 kilometres (147 mi)) and Coimbatore (254 kilometres (158 mi)). A helipad in the city is reserved for government uses.
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.
The name Alappuzha is derived from Aal (Sea)+ puzhai (River-mouth) ("The joining place of a river and the 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 networks of canals are Alleppey's lifeline. Alappuzha 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 center for the Coir carpet industry and prawn farming. Alappuzha, the ideal headquarters for backwater tourism, as well as for visits to the church-filled town of Kottayam and the town of Aranmula, which are famous for their historic annual Aranmula Snake Boat Race. Chengannur, in Alappuzha, is the nearest railway station to Sabarimala. The Krishnapuram Palace is in Kayamkulam. The Buddha idol and Saradha Mandiram are the main attractions of Mavelikkara. The Buddha statue is in a 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 to Buddha statues of the Gandhara and Mathura traditions. The head has markings resembling 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 sign specifying the age of the statue. Saradha Mandiram was the residence of Kerala Panini.
Alappuzha is also known for its 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, which was 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 gives one a first hand experience of the lifestyle; toddy tapping, fishing for small fry, Coir-making, prawn farming etc., which remains more or less unchanged over the years.
The Revi Karunakaran Memorial Museum features displays of art and artifacts. Revi Karunakaran was the architect of a modernized Coir industry that still employs more than 500,000 people in the state of Kerala. The objects displayed at the Museum were collected by his family over three generations and feature unique artistic pieces from all parts of the world.
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, labor 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 birthplace 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. A Chettikulagara Bhagavathi Temple, a temple dedicated to the Goddess Bhagavathi is about four kilometers from Mavelikkara. The festival 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.
'Chirappu Mahotsavam' is a big occasion at Mullackal Temple in December. Christmas comes in between the festival and Alappuzha town is a really happening place at the time. The streets are full of wandering markets and entertainment ventures like circuses and exhibitions. The streets are crowded throughout the month and there is a 'Shiveli' or the magnificent display of nine Tuskers accompanied by the 'Chenda' and the 'Panchavadyam' music.
Padanilam Sivarathri is another important religious event in Alappuzha district. This festival is held every year in the Padanilam Parabrahma Temple. The temple is situated in the small town of Padanilam. Padanilam is situated 'about 16 km from Mavelikkara town. This place can also be called the festival Village of Alappuzha because Padanilam witnesses a large number of festivals every year including vrischika mahotsavam and irupathiyetttamonam.
A grand annual festival is celebrated at the unique Nagaraja Temple in October/November. 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 has two festive seasons in February and March, because of the two deities with separate flag masts in the same compound wall.
The famous Kandamangalam Rajarajeshwari Temple is located in Kadakkarappally, Cherthala 1 km west of Thankey junction on NH 47. The annual festival comes in March–April. Chikkara, offering of children to the mother goddess during the festival, is the major attraction. The Chamanju Valathu of children starts on the 2nd day of the festival and lasts till the 8th day. Procession named Thalappoli start on the flag-hoisting day itself. The holy bath (Aarattu) of the goddess is held in a pool within the temple compound on the 10th day of festival. Elephant processions, fireworks, stage shows, etc. are major events that attract thousands of devotees and others.
The churches here celebrate grand annual feasts. The 'Arthunkal Perunnal' feast is celebrated at the Arthunkal Church. The famous regatta forms part of many festivals here in many places. The 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 running for the famous Prime Minister's trophy. Another important celebration in Alappuzha is the "Beach Festival", held from December 30 to January 2. The annual festival conducted in Champakulam "Valiya Palli" is another big festival.
Backwaters in Alappuzha.
Communist memorial column
Nooranad Padanilam Sivarathri.
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