Alleppey is one of the most important tourist centers in the state, with a large network of inland canals earning it the sobriquet "Venice of the east". These large network of canals provide Alleppey its lifeline. Alleppey was one of the busiest centers of trade in the past with one of the best known ports along the Malabar Coast. Even today it retains its charm as the centre for coir carpet industries and prawn farming. Alleppey the ideal headquarters for backwater tourism as well as for visits to the lovely church-filled town of Kottayam and the town of Aranmula, famous for its historic Aranmula Snake Boat Race which is an annual event. The boat cruise along the backwaters of Alleppey give one first hand experience of the life style - toddy tapping, fishing for small fry, Coir-making, prawn farming etc., which remains more or less unchanged over the years. This grand and exotic natural beauty of Kerala is situated just parallel to the Arabian Sea. The grand Kerala Backwaters are the series of various lakes and brackish lagoons. The famous backwaters is a grand network of five huge lakes which are linked by man-made as well as natural lakes and they are fed by more than 38 rivers.