This coir-manufacturing city was once known as the Venice of India, though most residents have abandoned their canoes for cars. Alleppey (Alappuzha) is an important gateway to the backwaters—tour operators abound, and several resorts here offer a good alternative to the pricier properties in Kumarakom.
On the second Saturday in August throngs of supporters line the shore to watch the annual Nehru Cup Snake Boat Race, which starts with a water procession and concludes dramatically as the boats (propelled by as many as 100 rowers) vie for the trophy. Several snake-boat races take place in the area from mid-July to mid-September. Check with the Alleppey Tourism Development Cooperative (ATDC) for exact times and locations.