Alappuzha

Alappuzha 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. The district is a widely known tourist destination and is well known for its Coir factories. Most of Kerala’s coir industries are situated in and around Alappuzha.

The district is also known for its communist traditions. It is home to the Punnapra-Vayalar uprising against the British and also the revolt against the Feudal raj. Alappuzha is strongly connected by waterways to various other parts of Kerala, including the famous tourist destination, Kumarakom.

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.”History”. Kuttanad, the rice bowl of Kerala, was well-known from the early periods of the Sangam age. History says Alappuzha had trade relations with ancient Greece and Rome in B.C 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, 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 fearless 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.

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%.In the 2001 Indian Census, the Hindu population is 69.08%, Christian 20.94, and Muslim 9.86.