With the Arabian Sea on the west and a vast network of lakes lagoons and fresh water rivers crisscrossing it, Alappuzha is a district of immense natural beauty. Referred to as the Venice of the East by travellers from across the world, this backwater country is also home to diverse animal and bird life. By virtue of its proximity to the sea, the town has always enjoyed a unique place in the maritime history of Kerala. Today Alappuzha has grown in importance as a backwater tourist centre, attracting several thousands of foreign tourists each year. Alappuzha is also famous for ties boat races, houseboat holidays, beaches, marine products and coir industry. A singular characterstic of this land is the region called Kuttanad. The land of lush paddy fields, Kuttanad is called the rice bowl of Kerala is one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea level.