Monday, May 13, 2013

Kerala At A Glance


Think of Kerala and the first thing that comes to mind is a serene picture of waving palms and never ending row of beaches. A tropical paradise, Kerala is a narrow strip of coastal territory that slants down the Western Ghats descending over lush green vegetation, and meeting the Arabian Sea. Located on the Southwestern tip of India, Kerala is a land of unique geographical features that make it one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the Asian sub-continent. Adoringly referred to as ‘God’s Own Country’, Kerala was selected as one of the thirteen paradises on the earth and as one of the fifty destinations of a lifetime by the National Geographic Traveler Magazine.

Kerala is world renowned for its backwaters, spices, mountains, lush green vegetation and art forms such as Kathakali and Mohini Attam. A successful socialist state, Kerala's most admirable aspect is its outstanding liberal hospitality. Kerala offers world class tourist sporting options, eco-tourism initiatives, ayurvedic spas and treatments, a melange of tourist destinations ranging from beautiful high altitude blue mountains to immaculate rain forests to sun-kissed beaches.

History of Kerala

Kerala has always been an alluring destination for traders, who get fascinated by the whiff of its aromatic spices and impeccable shine of its ivory. The coast was a transit point for spices from Moluccas, a place in eastern Indonesia. Known to the Romans, the Phoenicians, the Arabs and the Chinese, the region was a very popular and busy port. Probably it was through Kerala that Chinese products found their way to the Western countries.

The empire of Cheras, established by the Dravidian tribe Villavar, ruled Kerala until the early middle ages, clashing with other kingdoms and feudal lords for trade and territory. With the arrival of Vasco da Gama's in the year 1498, the chains of colonialism started snarling at the region. Dutch, English and Portuguese interests fought Arab traders, and then amongst themselves to have an upper hand at the lucrative spice trade.

Today's Kerala was formed in 1956 from the former regions of Cochin, Travancore and Malabar. Age old traditions, value for arts and education resulted in a liberal state that is one of the most advanced in the country.


Geography & Climate

Kerala is flanked by the great Arabian Sea on the west, bordered by the state of Tamil Nadu on the east and Karnataka on the north. Being very close to the equator, Kerala enjoys a tropical climate. Heavy downpour is a prominent aspect of Kerala's climate, which makes it one of the wettest regions in the world. Kerala has three different seasons-summer, the monsoon period and winter. Summer reigns from mid-February to mid-May and the weather is really hot with temperature soaring upto 35°C during the noon. The monsoon arrives by mid-May and lasts upto early September. Winter in Kerala is mild, marked by the retreating south-east monsoon.


A population of 31.8 millions lives in Kerala, predominantly of Malayali ethnicity. The rest comprises Arab and Jewish elements in both ancestry and culture. About 1.10% of Kerala's population is composed of its 321,000 indigenous tribal Adivasis, who are primarily concentrated in the east.

Kerala's official language is Malayalam. Tamil, Kannada, Tulu and various tribal languages are also spoken by ethnic minorities specifically in the south-western region. Kerala has the highest literacy rate in the country, and is a land of great religious diversity, where you will find temples, churches, mosques and even synagogues.


Heritage & Culture of Kerala

Kerala's rich culture finds its roots in Tamil-heritage region called as Tamilakam and southern coastal Karnataka. The native performing art "Koodiyattom" that is a 2000 years old Sanskrit theatre tradition, has been officially approved by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The very famous dance form-Kathakali is a highly stylized classical Indian dance-drama, which belongs to Kerala. Kathakali has many offshoots namely Kerala Natanam, Mohiniaattam, Kaliyattam, Koothu, Theyyam, Thullal NS Padayani. Kerala's music too has ancient roots and Carnatic music overrides Keralite traditional music.

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  • This comment has been removed by the author.
    Hai Baji says:
    May 13, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

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