Alappuzha is the centre of Kerala's world-famous coir industry. In fact, the town was built as a trading centre in 1762 by Raja Kesvadasa, the Diwan of Travancore. The many canals crisscrossing the town was built to facilitate the transport of goods, which prompted Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, to dub Alappuzha as 'The Venice of the East.' Here, coconut husk is being beaten into fibre to make beautiful mats and other coir products that are eco-friendly.
The neat and clean Alappuzha beach is one of the most popular tourist spots in Kerala to picnic with family. The pier, which extends to the sea, is around 140 years old. Entertainment facilities at the Vijaya Park add to the attraction. The old lighthouse attracts a lot of visitors.
The popular Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held on the second saturday of August at Punnamada kayal (Vembanadu lake) adjacent to Alapuzha town. Highlight of the event is the long snake boats. On this day, the tranquil lake front becomes sea of people including foreign tourists.