kerala

About Kerala

knowing kerala

Wedged between the Western Ghats on the East and the Arabian Sea on the West, the narrow strip of land known as Kerala is a destination of a lifetime.

The timeless beauty of the palm fringed beaches of Kovalam and Varkala, the majesty of the undulating hills of Munnar and Vagamon, the serenity of the pristine backwaters of Kumarakom & Kuttanad and the enchanting woods and forests of Thekkady and Silent Valley will have you bowled over.

That such a small terrain can hold diverse geographical features and cultures is a wonder in itself.

Any mention about Kerala, conjures in one's mind, an image of pristine backwaters, palm fringed beaches, tranquil villages and greenery in profusion. God has generously bestowed this land with the bounties of nature and so it only seems natural when Kerala is referred to, as God's own country.

A much sought-after destination for tourists in India and abroad, Kerala is named as one of the 'Ten Paradises of the World' and 'Fifty Places of a Lifetime' by the National Geographic Traveler Magazine. The alluring serenity of this place leaves every tourist spell bound, making them come back year after year. Be it the sun-kissed beaches or the misty hill stations; the rhythmic backwaters or the forestlands rich with all varieties of flora and fauna; pilgrim centres or historic monuments; Kerala has everything you might travel far and wide to see. Just one visit and you will know why Kerala has the lovely epithets attached to it.

So come over to this land that holds promises of leaving you mesmerized and gifting you one of the best holidays you have ever had.

Destinations in Kerala.

Kerala was celebrated as a 'Paradise Found' - one of the ten in the world, A perfect description for a land renowned as "God's Own Country".

Kerala is the most glorious State in South India; with many palm fringed beaches, the high mountains of the Western Ghats with tea and spice estates, 11 wildlife sanctuaries, virgin rainforests, hundreds of miles of navigable backwaters, and a cultural heritage stretching back thousands of years. It is one of the most bio diverse places in the World, with tigers, elephants, varieties of butterflies, birds, and other species. The wonderful climate in the jungles, rainforests, and backwaters results in lush vegetation, with an explosion of exotic flowers and fruits. The food of South India is World-famous, combining fresh spices and coconut to make memorable vegetarian, fish, and meat dishes. It is ideal for honeymoon tours, wildlife retreat, bird watching, wedding excursions, adventure activities, painting, shooting holidays, nature trekking, backwater holidays, or simply relaxing on the beaches or house boats.

What adds to the charm of its backwaters, beaches, Ayurveda health holidays, hill stations, wildlife, festivals, monuments and vibrant art forms, is its amazing social development indices that are on par with the developed world.

The Important tourist spots in Kerala is given below :

Kannur

Kannur, also known as Cannanore, is a city and a municipality in Kannur district in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the administrative headquarters of the district of Kannur. It is known as Land of Looms and Lores. During British rule in India, Kannur was known by its Portuguese name of Cannanore which is still fairly in common usage.This is the largest city of North Malabar. Kannur Municipality was established in 1867 and is one of the oldest municipalities in Kerala.

According to the data compiled by Indicus Analytics, a research firm, Kannur is one of the ten best cities in India to live. The parameters set by this firm for preparing the data are in the field of health, education, environment, safety, public facilities and entertainment.

Kannur is the fourth largest urban agglomeration in Kerala after Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, and has a population of 4, 98,207. Kannur is known as the land of looms and lores, because of the loom industries functioning in the district and the splendid festivals held in the temples. Kannur is famous for its pristine beaches; Theyyam, its native performing art; and its handloom industry.

Calicut

Kozhikode, also known as Calicut, is a city in the southern Indian state of Kerala. It is the third largest city in Kerala and the headquarters of Kozhikode district. During the classical and middle ages, Calicut was dubbed the "City of Spices" for its role as the major trading point of eastern spices. Kozhikode was once the capital of an independent kingdom of the same name and later on, the erstwhile Malabar District.

Kozhikode has a population of 436,556 as per 2001 census, with an extended metropolitan population of about 0.9 million, making it the third largest urban agglomeration and the third largest city in Kerala. According to data compiled by economics research firm Indicus Analytics on residences, earnings and investments, Kozhikode ranked as the second best city in India to reside in. Indicus considered six parameters - health, education, environment, safety, public facilities and entertainment. Kozhikode was ranked eleventh among Tier-II Indian cities in job creation by a study conducted by ASSOCHAM in 2007. Kozhikode was declared the first litter- free city in India in 2004 A 'Hunger-Free Kozhikode' project was initiated in January 2009 following which Kozhikode was declared the country's first hunger-free city. Kozhikode is expected to come under the radar of the IT industry with the development of Cyberpark by the Kerala government. This will be the third IT 'Hub' in the state developed on the lines of Thiruvananthapuram Technopark and Kochi InfoPark, and is expected to take off by mid 2011.

Wayanad

Wayanad's unique geographical features lend a peculiar charm and a delightful challenge to trekkers and nature freaks. It's fascinating scenery and wonderful climate creates an unforgettable experience. Apart from the breathtaking scenery, its long history offers visitors the opportunity to explore a range of interesting spots such as the Pookot Lake, a natural fresh water lake surrounded by evergreen forest and rolling hills; Kuruvadweep, a 950 acre, uninhabited island on the eastward bound Kabani River which is an ideal picnic spot. This wooded stretch of land is home to rare species of birds, orchids and herbs; Chembra Peak, At 2100m above mean sea level, Chembra is the highest peak in Wayanad and is an ideal area for trekking; Edakkal Caves and the Lakkidi, the gateway to Wayanad, is situated 700 m above mean sea level, at the crest of the Thamarasseri Ghat pass. Lofty peaks, gurgling streams and luxuriant forests add magic to the journey up the winding roads to this hill station.

Thrissur

Thrissur, previously spelt as Trichur, is a city in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the headquarters of the Thrissur District. It is known as the 'Cultural Capital of Kerala'. Thrissur city is built around a 65-acre hillock called the Thekkinkadu Maidan which seats the Vadakkumnathan temple. This area is the city's cultural and spiritual centre, offering --- in addition to religious experiences --- an array of festivals and historical and natural sights. Thrissur is the 5th largest city in Kerala, after Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode and Kollam to population. The nearest international airport is Cochin International Airport, Nedumbassery.

According to data compiled by economics research firm Indicus Analytics on residences, earnings and investments, Thrissur ranked as the seventh best city in India to reside in. Indicus considered six parameters - health, education, environment, safety, public facilities and entertainment - for preparing their 'reside-in' index of liveability. Thrissur is the place from where Christianity and Islam entered India, when Apostle St. Thomas set foot 2,000 years ago and the country's first mosque opened in the 7th Century.

Cochin

A cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas, Cochin or Kochi is perhaps the second best poet on the Western Ghats. Known as 'Queen of the Arabian Sea', it reflects the best of all that Kerala has to offer. A rich past and a vibrant present, Kochi gained the status of the business hub of the region long back. Comprising of the mainland of Ernakulam, the islands of Willington, Bolgatty and Gundu in the harbor, Fort Cochin and Mattancherry on the southern peninsula, and Vypeen Island north of Fort Cochin, all the parts of Kochi are well-linked by ferries. Being a seaport, many foreigners came to the place and one can clearly see the influence of Chinese, Jews, Arabs and Europeans in the culture and lifestyle of the natives. It boasts of the oldest church in India, the famous ancient Chinese fishing nets, 500-year-old Portuguese houses, old tiled houses built in the Chinese pagoda style, synagogues, a Jewish community whose roots go back to the Diaspora and mosques.

Munnar

One of the most popular hill stations in India is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. Located at 1600 m above sea level, this was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture book towns, winding lanes, trekking and holiday facilities make Munnar a unique experience. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India - Anamudi, which towers over 2695 m. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking.

During British rule, Munnar was developed as major tea plantation. At that time people around Munnar were labourers in these plantations. A few bungalows used by British Managers are still in use here. The high ranges of Munnar were earlier known as Kannan Devan Hills, named after a certain Kannan Devan, who had been land lord in the Anchanad Valley on the eastern side of the district. The main cultivation crops in Munnar are Tea and Coffee. The entire area is also known as "high range" and rarely Kannan Devan Hills, from which the famous brand of the Tatas gets its name.

Thekkady

Situated in Kerala, close to the Kerala - Tamil Nadu border town - Kumily, Thekkady is located about 257 km (160 miles) from Trivandrum, 114 km from Madurai Airport, 185 km from Cochin International Airport and 114 km from Kottayam Railway Station. The sanctuary is famous for its dense evergreen, semi-evergreen, moist deciduous forests and savanna grass lands. It is home to herds of elephants, sambars, tigers, gaurs, lion-tailed Macaques and Nilgiri Langurs.

The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across 777 km² (300 sq. miles), of which 360 km² (139 sq. miles) is thick evergreen forest. The Wild Life Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaiperiyar Dam across the Periyar River adds to the charm of the park. The greatest attraction of Periyar is the herd of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake.

Kumarakom

Kumarakom is a tourist village in Kottayam district, Kerala, India. It is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake in Kerala.Kumarakom is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a noted bird sanctuary where many species of migratory birds visit. The Vembanad Lake, the largest backwater in Kerala, is habitat for many marine and freshwater fish species and it teems with Karimeen (Pearl spot), shrimp (chemmeen in the local language) and prawns.

Kumarakom has a wide variety of houseboats. They are used only for tourists these days. A separate boat known as Kettuvallam is used by the people to go fishing or to transport goods. Apart from these, there are elegant special boats like Kochu-odi Vallam, Odi-Vallam, Iruttukutthi Vallam, Churulan Vallam and Chundan Vallam(Snake Boat), which take part in the boat races around Onam time. The Kumarakom boat-race is conducted in the big canal in the centre near the market. There is a private sailing club in Kumarakom, located on the shore of the Vembanad lake.Kumarakom is one of the most beautiful villages in the world. Foreign visitors used to think that it is like a paradise.

Alleppey

Alleppey Backwaters
With the Arabian Sea on the west and a vast network of lakes, lagoons and fresh water rivers crisscrossing it, allappuzha is a district of immense natural beauty.

Referred to as the Venice of the East by travelers from across the world, this backwater country is also home to diverse animal and bird life. By virtue of its proximity to the sea, the town has always enjoyed a unique place in the maritime history of Kerala. Today, allappuzha has grown in importance as a backwater tourist centre, attracting several thousands of foreign tourists each year. allappuzha is also famous for its boat races, houseboat holidays, beaches, marine products and coir industry. A singular characteristic of this land is the region called Kuttanad.

Kovalam

Kovalam, one of the internationally well known beach town located on the coast of Arabian Sea, is a favourite hub for domestic as well as foreign tourists. Popularly known as 'Paradise of the South', it has crescent shaped beach with three parts which beckons people from all over the world. The southernmost beaches are most popular and are also known as light house beach, which offers an amazing view of the Vizhinjam mosque. The beach stretched across with azure blue waters and sumptuous spread of endless coconut trees, makes it a natural tourist destination. The hospitality industry around Kovalam beach provides various leisure options such as sunbathing, swimming, Ayurvedic Rejuvenation, Yoga and meditation, Herbal body toning massages, cultural programs and visit to local pilgrim places.

Trivandrum

Thiruvananthapuram also known as Trivandrum (Anglicised name), is the capital of the Indian state of Kerala and the headquarters of the Thiruvananthapuram District. It is located on the west coast of India near the extreme south of the mainland. Referred to by Mahatma Gandhi as the "Evergreen city of India", the city is characterized by its undulating terrain of low coastal hills and busy commercial alleys. With almost 745,000 inhabitants per the 2001 census, it is the largest and most populous city in Kerala. With an extended metropolitan population of about 1 million, it is the second largest urban agglomeration in the state after the commercial capital Kochi. Apart from being the IT hub of the state with over 80% of the state's software exports, Thiruvananthapuram ranks first in the number of international tourists in Kerala also.

The city is the state capital and houses many central and state government offices, organizations and companies. Apart from being the political nerve centre of Kerala, it is also a major academic hub and is home to several educational institutions including the University of Kerala, and to many science and technology institutions, the most prominent being the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Technopark, the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) and the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER). It is also considered as one of the cleanest cities in India.


Art & Culture

Kerala culture _ "Gods own Country" has a unique culture and art. It has developed through the centuries its own typical art forms, particularly folk dances. It is rich in its tradition and culture. Even to this day, Kerala preserves its culture and art.

For the lover of dance, drama and music, Kerala is heaven. You have scores of art forms, which are quite unique in nature to Kerala, Watch them and experience an endless and varied emotions to win your passion, love, kindness, compassion, mirth, joy, sorrow, grief, anger, wonder, horror, fear, valour, courage and so on. And then relax with the thought, all the world is a stage.

A majority of the people of Kerala are Dravidians, who also inhibit most of the southern part of India. Hinduism is the main religion with significant percentages of Muslims and Christians. Kerala is also known for Kathakali - a 300-year-old dance form developed exclusively in the state combining the performing art forms of opera, ballet, masque, and pantomime. The dance is a beautiful blend of color, dance, music, drama, and expressions. Other dance forms of Kerala are Krishnanattom, Mohiniyattom, Thullal, Koodiyattom, Kolkkali, Thiruvathirakali, Kakkarishi Natakom, Oppanna, and Chavittunatakom. Panchavadyam, Nadanpattu, Pulluvanpattu and many more music forms have evolved over the centuries in Kerala.

Onam is a time for sports and festivities and in Kerala-where one third of the area is low lying, covered with canals, lakes, and backwaters-the people take to their boats and country crafts to celebrate. Christmas is another festival that is celebrated with much vigor and enthusiasm in the state.

Kerala is known for its variety of pancakes and steamed rice cakes made from pounded rice. In seafood, mussels are a favourite. For the Christians, who can be seen in large concentration in areas like Kottayam and Pala, stew with appam is a must for every marriage reception. Kerala also has its own fermented beverages -the famous kallu (toddy) and patta charayam (arrack). Arrack is extremely intoxicating and is usually consumed with spicy pickles and boiled eggs (patta and mutta).

Cuisine of Kerala

he cuisine of Kerala is linked in all its richness to the history, geography, demography and culture of the land. Since many of Kerala's Hindus are vegetarian by religion, and because Kerala has large minorities of Muslims and Christians that are predominantly non-vegetarians, Kerala cuisine has a multitude of vegetarian and dishes prepared using fish, poultry and meat.

For over 2000 years, Kerala has been visited by ocean-goers, including traders from Greece, Rome, the eastern Mediterranean, Arab countries, and Europe (see History of Kerala). Thus, Kerala cuisine is a blend of indigenous dishes and foreign dishes adapted to Kerala tastes. Coconuts grow in abundance in Kerala, and consequently, grated coconut and coconut milk are widely used in dishes and curries as a thickener and flavouring ingredient. Kerala's long coastline, numerous rivers, backwater networks and strong fishing industry have contributed many sea- and river-food based dishes. Rice is grown in abundance, and could be called, along with tapioca (manioc/cassava), to be the main starch ingredient used in Kerala food. Having been a major production area of spices for thousands of years, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon play a large part in its food.

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