Alappuzha / Alleppey
Known as the Venice of the East due to the canals that connect it to Kerala's famous snaking backwaters, Alappuzha is a picturesque town and the administrative headquarters in the Alappuzha district, the smallest district of Kerala state. Though the present town owes its existence to the sagacious Diwan Raja Kesavadas in the second half of 18th century, district of Alappuzha figures in classical Literature. 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.
History says Alappuzha had trade relations with ancient Greece and Rome in Antiquity and in the Middle Ages, as well as with other parts of India. From the 1st century A.D. Christianity had a strong hold on the area. The church located at Kokkomangalam in Cherthala is one of the seven churches founded by St. Thomas. During 9th to 12th century A.D, the district flourished in the field of religion and culture under the second Chera Empire. During the 16th century small principalities such as Kayamkulam, Purakkad, and Karappuram emerged into power; the Portuguese came into prominence in the political scene of this district and they built several churches of which churches located at Purakkad and Arthungal are well known. In the 17th century the Dutch built factories and warehouses in various places of the district.
The city of Alappuzha started as a trading center by the 19th century. In 1859 the first organized coir factory was started here and began producing matting from coir yarn on a loom developed by an English Sea Captain. Many British owned weaving establishments were formed and in 1816 the Church Missionary Society set up its local Headquarters in Alappuzha and three years later the first Anglican Church was built. In 1851 Jalap had the honor of housing the first post office in the erstwhile Travancore State.