View with stone bridge, Alleppey
Photographer: D'Cruz, Zachariah
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph taken about 1900 by the Government photographer, Zacharias D'Cruz of the stone bridge in the town of Alleppey, in the erstwhile Travancore. It is one of 76 prints in an album entitled 'Album of South Indian Views' from the Curzon Collection. George Nathaniel Curzon was Under Secretary of State at the Foreign Office between 1895-98 and Viceroy of India between 1898-1905. The town owes its origin to Raja Kesava Das, the illustrious Dewan in the latter part of the 18th century. 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 century, 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.