Photographer: D'Cruz, Zachariah
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph taken about 1900 by the Government photographer, Zacharias D'Cruz of a canal scene in the town of Alleppey, in the erstwhile Travancore State. It is one of 76 prints in an album entitled 'Album of South Indian Views' of the Curzon Collection. The town owes its origin to Raja Kesava Das, the illustrious Dewan in the latter part of the 18th c. Often called the 'Venice of Travancore' , it is almost surrounded by sea and backwaters and the many canals that intersect the town, carrying 'vallams' or country-craft laden with merchandise. The port was opened in 1762, when Kesava Das built three ships for trade with Calcutta and Bombay and was chosen because the oily-muddy bank sustains itself even in the height of monsoon. Alleppey afforded a convenient depot for the storage and disposal of hill produce. In the early part of the 20th c., large scale coir-matting and coconut mills worked by steam became well-established here, making it the world's leading supplier of coir-matting and coir-yarn.