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Alappuzha (Alleppey)

Alappuzha – most still call it Alleppey – is the hub of Kerala's backwaters, home to a vast network of waterways, over a thousand houseboats and an important coir industry. Wandering around the small but chaotic city centre, with its modest grid of canals, you'd be hard-pressed to agree with the 'Venice of the East' tag, and, sadly, at research time a hulking new highway flyover was marring the beauty of Alleppey's popular beach. But head out towards the backwaters and Alleppey becomes graceful and greenery-fringed, disappearing into a watery world of villages, punted canoes, toddy shops and, of course, houseboats. Floating along and gazing over paddy fields of succulent green, curvaceous rice barges and village life along the banks is one of Kerala’s most mesmerisingly beautiful and relaxing experiences.

Kerala's main backwaters stretch north, east and south of Alleppey, while Vembanad Lake, Kerala's largest, reaches all the way north to Kochi.

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