Snuggled in the heart of Kerala's backwaters, Alappuzha is criss-crossed by palm-fringed waterways and dotted with over a thousand houseboats. Known for its glorious beaches, calm backwaters, enthusiastic boat races and sumptuous sea food, this green and graceful pocket-sized tropical paradise is a popular tourist destination. Adding to its charm are the Ayurvedic spas and wellness centres strewn across the city, attracting those looking to ease their tired bodies and minds.

Former viceroy of British India, Lord Curzon, was so enraptured by the beauty of Alleppey, as Alappuzha was then known, that he said, "Here, nature has spent upon the land of her richest bounties. Alleppey, the Venice of the East.” And that is how this city earned its title, referring to its vast networks of waterways. Cruising through the backwaters in simple canoes or the more ostentatious houseboats is Alappuzha's most prominent attraction. Flanked by emerald green paddy fields, punted canoes and quaint villages, these cruises are a must-try.