Alappuzha

Alappuzha (or Alleppey) is a city on the Laccadive Sea in the southern Indian state of Kerala. It's best known for houseboat cruises along the rustic Kerala backwaters, a network of tranquil canals and lagoons. Alappuzha Beach is the site of the 19th-century Alappuzha Lighthouse. The city's Mullakkal Temple features a traditional design. Punnamada Lake's snake boat races are a well-known annual event. The major occupation in Alappuzha is farming. The Rice Bowl of Kerala, Kuttanadu is located in Alappuzha. Large farming areas near Vembanad Lake were reclaimed from the lake. In earlier times, the reclamation was done mainly from the shallow part of the Vembanad Lake or from the periphery of river Pamba. These reclamations constituted small areas of paddy fields called Padsekharam. The bailing out of water from those fields were done manually using water wheels (Chakram). Gradually the manual method used for bailing out of water gave way to steam engines. Three stages can be identified in the reclamation of lands from the Vembanad Lake. In the first stage it was carried out by private entrepreneurs without any financial support from the part of the government. The Pattom Proclamation, made by the Travancore Kingdom in the year 1865, gave a great boost to the reclamation activities between 1865 and 1890. During this period de-watering of the polders were done manually, using waterwheels, restricting large-scale reclamations. Only about 250 hectares of land were reclaimed during this period. Venadu Lake and Madathil Lake that were reclaimed during this period are considered as the first Kayal Nilam (lake-reclaimed land) which were reclaimed from Vembanad Lake.[42] The pioneering reclamation activity of lake-reclamation and cultivation was made by two brothers Mathai Luka Pallithanam and Ouseph Luka Pallithanam belonging to Kainady village in Kuttanadu.[43] The period between 1865 and 1890 is usually considered as the first phase of lake-cultivation. The introduction of kerosene engines for dewatering resulted in the reclamation of wider areas of the lake for cultivation. It made the farmers consider venturing into the deeper parts of the lake. During the period between 1898 and 1903, reclamation activity was led by Pallithanam Luka Mathai (alias Pallithanathu Mathaichen) who reclaimed the Cherukara Kayal and Pallithanam Moovayiram Kayal. Houseboat is one among the main attraction of Alappuzha.[44] The second phase (1890 to 1903) of reclamation activities came to a halt because of the ban on lake reclamation imposed by the Madras Government in 1903. Cherukali Kayal, Rama Rajapuram Kayal, Aarupanku Kayal, Pantharndu Panku kayal and Mathi Kayal were the other major reclamations during this period. In 1912, the Madras Government approved a proposal from the Travencore Government for further reclamations in three stages. Under this reclamation scheme areas were notified for reclamation in blocks each named by an alphabet letter. Out of the total area of 19,500 acres of reclaimed land 12,000 acres were reclaimed between 1913 and 1920. The reclamations between 1914 and 1920 are known as new reclamations, which were carried out in three periods. In the first period Blocks A to G measuring an 6300 Acres were reclaimed. C Block, D Block (Attumukham Aarayiram (Attumuttu Kayal), Thekke Aarayiram and Vadakke Aarayiram) and E Block (Erupathinalayiram Kayal) F Block (Judge's Aarayiram Kayal) and G Block (Kochu Kayal) are the major reclamations during this period. During the second period of new reclamation, blocks H to N measuring 3600 acres were reclaimed. During the third period of new reclamation, R Block measuring 1,400 acres were reclaimed. Due to the steep decline in the price of rice during 1920 to 1940, the reclamation activities became sluggish, but they gained momentum again in the early 1940s. During this period, in order to increase the agricultural output, government initiated a Grow More Food campaign and provided incentives to encourage new reclamations. The advent of electric motors made the reclamation easier, cheaper and less risky as compared to the earlier periods. The last tract of the reclamations namely Q, S and T block were made during this period.

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