Kerala

The God's Own Country

AREA : 38,863 SQ KM
POPULATION : 31,841,374
CAPITAL: THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
PRINCIPAL LANGUAGES: MALAYALAM

HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY


Kerala is in the extreme south-west of the Indian subcontinent. When the independent India amalgamated small states together Travancore and Cochin states were integrated to form Travancore-Cochin state on 1 July, 1949. However, Malabar remained under the Madras province. Under the State’s reorganization Act-1956, Travancore-Cochin state and Malabar were united to form Kerala State on 1 November, 1956.

 

Kerala’s culture has been an integral part of the mainstream of Indian culture. In between the high Western Ghats on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west, the width of the state varies from 35 km to 120 km. According to the geographical features, the State can be divided into hills, valleys, midland plains and costal belt. Kerala is rich in rivers and backwaters. 44 rivers (41 west flowing and 3 east flowing) cut across Kerala with their innumerable tributaries and benches. The backwaters form an attractive and economically valuable feature of Kerala.

PLACES TO SEE


ALAPPUZHA: Referred to as the ‘Venice of the East’ by travelers from across the world, Alappuzha is a district of immense natural beauty. Caressed by the Arabian Sea in the west and a vast network of lakes, lagoons and freshwater rivers criss-crossing it, this backwater country shelters some unique animal and bird life. By virtue of its proximity to the sea, the town has always enjoyed an exclusive place in the maritime history of Kerala. It is famous for Houseboats and boat races.

ERNAKULAM: Located on the coast of the Arabian Sea with Kottayam and Alappuzha districts in the south, Idukki in the east and Thrissur in the north, Ernakulam is a booming business metropolis. A fascinating mixture of the old and the new, the district comprises many interesting cities including Kochi (Cochin), the commercial capital of Kerala. Famous for Jewish Synagogue, Chinese fishing nets, Dutch Palace and St.Francis Church.

IDUKKI : Kerala’s largest district, Idukki is one of the most nature-rich areas of the State. Predominantly populated by tribes, an astonishing 50 percent of its total area is covered by forests. As a tourist destination, the place offers diverse attractions like wildlife sanctuaries, hill stations, spice plantation tours, mountain treks, elephant rides etc. Idukki’s numerous trekking trails and spectacular landscape dotted with rich flora and fauna make it a dream destination for nature enthusiasts. Famous for Munnar and Thekkady.

KANNUR : The cradle of many a colourful folk art form like Theyyam, Kannur is said to be the ancient port of Naura, from whose shores King Solomon’s ships collected timber to build the great temple of Jerusalem. Known even to the Greeks, Romans and the Arabs, Kannur’s trade links goes back a long way. Acclaimed by celebrated traveler Marco Polo as the great emporium of the spice trade, this nature-rich land has been a key contributor to the cultural, religious, political and industrial heritage of the State.

KASARGOD: World renowned for their coir and handloom industry, Kasaragod, the northernmost district of Kerala has a 293 kilometer long coastline. This tranquil place is famous as the land of gods, sea-kissed forts, majestic hills, rivers and delightful beaches. Rich in history, Kasaragod is home to the largest and best preserved fort in the State – Bekal.

KOLLAM: One of the leading trade capitals of the Old World, Kollam is the centre of the country’s cashew trading and processing industry. Thirty percent of this historic town is covered by the renowned Ashtamudi Lake, making it the gateway to the magnificent backwaters of Kerala. The eight-hour boat trip between Kollam and Alappuzha is the longest and most enchanting experience on the backwaters of Kerala.


KOTTAYAM: Acclaimed as the land of letters, latex and lakes, Kottayam has the distinction of being the first-ever fully literate municipal town in India. This land also boasts of the first English educational centre in South India as well as the first Malayalam printing press which was established by Benjamin Bailey, a Christian missionary, in 1820 AD. Today, it is the forerunner in publishing with about 80 per cent of the books published in the State coming from the district. Panoramic backwater stretches, lush paddy fields, highlands and extensive rubber plantations characterize this picturesque land which attracts hordes of tourists. Famous for Kumarakom, the backwater haven, luxury resorts.

KOZHIKODE: A mighty seaport where Arab, Chinese and East African traders once converged, Kozhikode was previously the most important region of the Malabar Coast. Vasco da Gama landed on its shores in 1498, catapulting the region to global fame. Once the capital of the powerful Zamorins and a prominent trade and commerce centre, the winds of change have swept over this charming coastal land from time to time. The whiff of history continues to permeate the lanes, bazaars and business hubs of this great port of yesteryears. Lush green countryside, serene beaches, historic sites, wildlife sanctuaries, rivers and hills make Kozhikode a popular destination.

MALAPPURAM: Enriched by three great rivers flowing through it – the Chaliyar, Kadalundi and the Bharathapuzha, Malappuram has a rich and eventful history. The military headquarters of the Zamorins of Kozhikode since ancient times, this district was the venue for many of the Mappila revolts (uprising against the British East India Company in Kerala) between 1792 and 1921. Malappuram, literally a land atop hills, has contributed much to the cultural heritage of Kerala. A famous centre for Hindu-Vedic learning and Islamic philosophy, the temples and mosques of this region are well known for their spectacular festivals. Along with historic monuments and diverse natural attractions, a range of cultural and ritual art forms add to its value as a destination. An upcoming tourist destination.

PALAKKAD: Celebrated as the granary of Kerala, Palakkad is a vast expanse of verdant plains interspersed with hills, rivers, mountain streams and forests. The gateway to Kerala from the north, a 40 kilometer break in the mountains known as the Palakkad Gap gives access to this land situated at the foot of the Western Ghats. The pass acts as a corridor between Kerala and neighboring Tamil Nadu and played a major role in the trade contacts between east and west coasts of peninsular India. Deriving its name from the Malayalam words Pala (Alsteria scholaris) and Kadu (forest), this place was once a beautiful stretch of forest covered with the sweet-scented flowers of the Pala tree. A potpourri of Tamil and Kerala culture, some of the finest Carnatic musicians hail from this region which continues to be a largely agrarian society. Also famous for Silent Valley, Parambikulam.

PATHANAMTHITTA:A hilly territory of pristine beauty, Pathanamthitta is popular as the headquarters of pilgrim worship in Kerala. Three rivers course through its rich terrains comprising natural divisions of the lowlands, the midlands and the highlands. Dotted with temples, rivers, mountain ranges and coconut groves, more than fifty percent of the total area of this region is covered by forests. Hailed as a heritage village, it attracts visitors from India and abroad for its spectacular water fiestas, religious shrines and cultural training centres. Pathanamthitta is also home to the unique Aranmula Kannadi – metal mirrors that are painstakingly handcrafted and the Vaasthu Vidya Gurukulam, a heritage village which practices the ancient Indian school of architecture, vaasthu vidya, in its purest form.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM :Thiruvananthapuram is capital of Kerala and bound by the Arabian Sea in the west and Tamil Nadu in the east. Named after Anantha Padmanabha or Lord Vishnu, the city is home to many ancient temples. But the landmark is the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple around which the city has been built on seven low hills. A long shoreline with internationally renowned beaches, historic monuments, backwater stretches and a rich cultural heritage make this district a much sought-after tourist destination. Clean and green, Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala is one of the most beautiful cities in the country. The famous Kovalam beach is located just 21 kms away.

THRISSUR :The cultural capital of Kerala, Thrissur is synonymous with the world famous and spectacular Pooram Festival. The abode of several prominent culture centres including the Kerala Kalamandalam, Sahitya Academy and Sangeetha Nataka Academy, Thrissur has an extraordinarily rich past as well as a vibrant present. From ancient times, this district with its cultural heritage and archaeological wealth has played a significant role in the political history of South India. Raja Rama Varma popularly known as Sakthan Thampuran is the architect of the present Thrissur town. Also famous for the famous Guruvayoor Temple.

WAYANAD :Wayanad is one of the districts in Kerala that has been able to retain its pristine nature. Hidden away in the hills of this land are some of the oldest tribes, as yet untouched by civilization. Wayanad is known for its picturesque mist clad hill stations, sprawling spice plantations, luxuriant forests and rich cultural traditions.

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Kerala, 682024

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