Alappuzha's Heritage Project Will Showcase Towns Maritime Legacy

Indian Navys attack craft will be part of Alappuzhas heritage project and museum being built to showcase the regions maritime history
Houseboats lined up in Kumarakom, Alappuzha
Houseboats lined up in Kumarakom, Alappuzha

Alappuzha (formerly Alleppey), in Kerala, is a popular tourist destination, often called the Venice of the East. And now the town will be the final home to the resurrected Fast Attack Craft (INFAC) T-81, belonging to the Indian Navy, as part of the Alappuzha Heritage Project. The craft, which was decommissioned in January this year, will be displayed in the Port Museum.

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Although Alappuzha, one of the major gateways from where travellers take boat rides, including luxury houseboat cruises, to enjoy the sights and sounds of the backwaters of Kerala, not many are aware of the maritime history of the town.  It is said that Raja Kesavadas who lived in the 18th&nbspcentury, and was the Dewan of Travancore, was instrumental in developing the town of Alappuzha and its port. Goods used to be brought from the hinterland via the Vembanad Lake and then transported to the port for loading into ships sailing for foreign shores. In the 19th&nbspcentury, Alappuzha was an important centre for coir manufacturing and shipping. It even had a sea bridge for loading and unloading of cargo from ships. It was the golden period of the town and saw much development. It was in the 20th&nbspcentury, after the port in Kochi began to flourish that Alappuzha lost its maritime importance.

The Port Museum, along with the Alappuzha Heritage Project, is expected to highlight the lost glory. The double-storied museum, to be set up with clearance from the Coastal Zone Management Authority, will display the newly acquired attack craft. According to media reports, the ship will be fixed to the ground using dry docking techniques.

To recall, INFAC T-81, second of the fast attack craft belonging to the Indian Navy, was commissioned in June 1999. The 25 meter long vessel, with 60 tonnes of displacement, was meant for shallow waters and was built at the Goa Shipyard Limited in collaboration with Ramta of Israel.

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Although the unveiling of the craft as a museum is yet to be announced, visitors may catch a glimpse of it perched on a platform in the museum area. 

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