Kerala is truly the undiscovered India. It is God's own country and an
enchantingly beautiful, emerald-green sliver of land. It is a tropical
paradise far from the tourist trial at the southwestern peninsular tip,
sandwiched between the tall mountains and the deep sea. Kerala is a long
stretch of enchanting greenery. The tall exotic coconut palm dominates
There is a persistent legend which says that Parasuram, the 6th
incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the Hindu Trinity, stood on
a high place in the mountains, threw an axe far in to the sea, and
commanded the sea to retreat. And the land that emerged all from the
waters became Kerala, the land of plenty and prosperity.
Kerala is a 560-km long narrow stretch of land. At the widest, Kerala is
a mere 120-km from the sea to the mountains. Gracing one side of Kerala,
are the lofty mountains ranging high to kiss the sky. And on the other
side the land is washed by the blue Arabian Sea waters. The land is
covered with dense tropical forest, fertile plains, beautiful beaches,
cliffs, rocky coasts, an intricate maze of backwaters, still bays and an
astounding 44 glimmering rivers. Kerala's exotic spices have lured
foreigners to her coast from time immemorial.
Earlier, Kerala was made up of three distinct areas. Malabar as far up
the coast as Tellicherry, Cannanore and Kasargode with the tiny
pocket-handkerchief French possession of Mahe nearby (it was returned to
India in the early 1950 's and is now administratively part of
Pondicherry). This area belonged to what was once called the Madras
Presidency under the British. The middle section is formed by the
princely State of Cochin; the third comprises Travancore, another
Early inhabitants of Kerala
Archaeologists believe that the first citizens of Kerala were the
hunter-gatherers, the ting Negrito people. These people still inhabit
the mountains of southern India today, consequently, they had a good
knowledge of herbal medicine and were skilled in interpreting natural
phenomena. The next race of people in Kerala were believed to be the
Austriches. The Austric people of Kerala are of the same stock as the
present-day Australian Aborigines. They were the people who laid the
foundation of Indian civilizations and introduced the cultivation of
rice and vegetables, which are still part of Kerala scene. They also
introduced snake-worship in Kerala. Traces of such worship and ancient
rites have been found among the Aboriginal tribes of Australia. Austric
features can still be seen fairly and clearly among the people of Kerala
today. Then came the Dravidians (The Mediterranean people). Dravidian
absorbed many of the beliefs of the Negrito and Austric people, but they
were strongly inclined to the worship of the Mother Goddess in all her
myriad forms: Protector, Avenger, Bestower of wealth, wisdom and arts.
The Dravidians migrated to the southwards, carrying their civilization
with them, though leaving their considerable cultural input on their
successors, the Aryans (indo - Iranians). But Kerala is still strongly
influenced by the Dravidian culture: urbane, cash-crop and trade
oriented, and with strong maternalistic biases. The Aryans have made a
deep impression on Kerala in late proto-historic times.
Jewish and Arabs trade's were the first to come to Kerala sailing in the
ships to set up trading stations. The Apostle of Christ, St. Thomas is
believed to have come to Muziris in AD 52 and established the first
church in Kerala .
Portuguese discovered the sea route to India from Europe when Vasco da
gama landed with his ship near Kappad in Calicut in AD 1498. Slowly the
Kerala society became a mix of people belonging to various sects of
Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. The arrival of Portuguese was followed
by the Dutch, the French and finally the British.The State of Kerala was
created on the 1st of November 1956. The Keralites celebrate this day as
'Kerala piravi' meaning the 'Birth of Kerala'.
It has an area of 15,005 sq. miles. [38,863 sq. km. ] about one
percent of the total land area of India.
The state stretches for about 360 miles along the Malabar coast on the
western side of the Indian peninsula; its width varies from 20 to 75
miles. It is bordered by the states of karnataka on the north, Tamil
Nadu to the east and the arabian sea to the west (map).
Kerala is situated at the Southwest tip of India main land on the
Kerala is bound by Arabian Sea on the west, Karnataka on the north and
northeast, and Tamil Nadu on the east.
The state can be divided into hills and valleys, midland plains and
The hills of Kerala dot the Western Ghat from Ponmudi in the south to
Munnar in the centre and Sultan's Bathery in the north.
In the coastal belts of this state are situated world famous
backwaters that are more or less main attraction of Kerala.
Climate of the Kerala is tropical
Climate Climate: Equable Climate that varies from Season to Season
Major Factors affecting the Climate: The Arabian Sea and the Western
Best time round the year: September to February
Kerala, the land surrounded by the pristine waters of the Arabian Sea,
has an equable climate that varies from season to season.
The presence of the Western Ghats on the eastern side of the state and
across the path of the southwest monsoon creates an important climatic
zone with copious rainfall on the windward side and a dry belt on the
lee side in the east.
The Climate of Kerala can be clasified roughly into three categories.
The summer in Kerala lasts from March to May and is followed by the
southwest monsoon spell lasting until the middle of October. The
northeast monsoons take over the relay around this time and linger on
till the month of February.
Even at the height of the monsoons, the temperature rarely dips below a
pleasant 18 degrees c. It has a warm and pleasant tropical monsoon
climate with seasonally excessive rainfall.
The climate is pleasant from September to February, which is also the
peak tourist season. The summer months are warm and humid with a mean
max temperature of about 33 degree c. Temperature
Winter Max: 21°C ; Min: 18°C
Summer Max: 33°C ; Min: 27°C
Kerala is blessed with plentiful rain, 54% to 85% of which is
contributed by the monsoons. Monsoons bring to Kerala two rainy
seasons-the southwest monsoon or the Edavappathi, bringing rains during
June-September, and the north east monsoon or the Thulavarsham during
October to December.
Kerala is directly exposed to the southwest monsoon but also receives
rain from the reverse (northeast) monsoon. Rainfall averages about 118
inches (3,000 millimetres) annually statewide, with some slopes
receiving more than 200 inches.
The north east monsoon season begins from the middle of October and
lasts upto the end of February, though the rain associated with it
ceases by December. The total annual rainfall in the state varies from
380 cms over the extreme northern parts to about 180 cms to the south.
The amount of rainfall decreases towards the south almost in proportion
with the decrease in altitude of the Western Ghats. July receives the
maximum rainfall with all meterological centres recording about 25 rainy
days. Neriyamangalam in Ernakulam district records the highest amount of
rainfall 104 cms.
Main Language : Malayalam
Malayalam is the official language of Kerala. It belongs to the
Dravidian languages category. The language is rich in literature as many
literary. The language has close resemblance to Tamil, another language
of Dravidian origin. Tamil greatly influenced the early development of
Malayalam. English stands only second to Sanskrit in its influence in
Malayalam. Hundreds of individual lexical items and may idiomatic
expressions in modern Malayalam are of English origin.
The Changing Trends of Malayalam
Malayalam literature takes a lazy and winding route till the end of the
18th century, after which the modern period begins. The Ramacharitam
(1300AD) is the oldest Malayalam text. Writings of the first few
centuries were in Mani-pravalam or the ‘high style’.
This went on until Cherusseri Namboodiri turned his attention to pure
Malayalam and wrote Krishna Gatha in early 15th century. This was again
followed by a generation of campu compositions, a mixture of prose and
verse with a liberal sprinkling of Sanskrit words. The themes were from
the great Sanskrit epics and Puranas. As late as the 17th century, the
first big Malayali poet, Tunchattu Ramanuja Ezhuttachchan adopted the
Sanskrit alphabet in place of Malayalam’s incomplete one. A new literary
type arose in the 18th century, the Tullal or dance drama, which again
dipped into the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas for themes.
Kotungallur and Trivandrum -- The Major Centers of Literary Activities
Kotungallur (in North Kerala) and Trivandrum (in South Kerala) became
the two hectic centers of literary activity in the second half of the
19th century. Volumes of translations were being written – Valiya Koyil
Tampuran’s Shakuntala (1881), Kunnikkuttan Tampuran’s Hamlet and
Mahabharata, Vallattol Narayana Menon’s Ramayana (1878) and others.
The Famous Writers
It was a period of original works too, with a flood of essays on
historical and literary topics, dramas, novels and poems, and literary
journals. The first and original novel in Malayalam was T. M. Appu
Netunnati’s Kundalata (1887), but more popular was Chantu Menon’s
Some of the later novelists were Vennayil Kunniraman Nayanar, Appan
Tampuran, V. K. Kunnan Menon, Ambati Narayana Potuval and C. P. Achyuta
Menon who grounded the present day Malayalam prose style. Vaikkom
Mohammad Bashir is one of the most loved literary figures of Kerala.
Some poets of the modern school are Kumaran Ashan, G. Sankara Kurup, K.
K. Raja, Channampuzha Krishna Pilla and N. Balamaniyamma.
As the state with the highest literacy rate, Kerala is one of the
intellectual centers of the country. It is just the place for literature
and litterateurs today.
HOW TO REACH
Geographical Kerala is located in the southwestern tip of the Indian
peninsula and extends between the latitude 10°00 North and longitude
76°25 East. Kerala is bound by the Arabian Sea on the west, Karnataka on
the North and Northeast, and Tamil Nadu on the east.
The Malabar Coast of India is the site of Kerala location. Geographical
Kerala is a part of the coastal belt with the hill ranges known as the
Western Ghats running along the length of Kerala. Rain bearing clouds of
the South west monsoon bring heavy rainfall to geographical Kerala
during the months May to September. Tropical rainfall occurs often
during the year. Geographical Kerala is a tropical region, with weather
being pleasant for most of the year. Humidity increases during the
monsoon season. Kerala location gives it its unique climatic and
Kerala has a coastal belt with sandy beaches and palm lined shores. The
seaside Kerala location, makes it a pleasant holiday destination, with
sunny beaches and serene backwaters. The hill ranges of Kerala have hill
stations, wildlife sanctuaries, tea estates and spice plantations.
Geographical Kerala exhibits diversity in climate within the compact
Kerala location on the Malabar Coast of India.
The state of Kerala is a narrow strip located along Arabian Sea in the
southernmost tip of Indian Peninsula. The state has been crisscrossed by
a number of water bodies (popularly known as backwaters). This has given
birth to internal water navigation systems, which also work as the major
trade ways in the state. These backwaters of late have become the major
tourist attractions of Kerala and people have started offering luxurious
houseboat accommodations to the visitors.
Reaching to Kerala is not a difficult thing. Thiruvananthapuram, the
state capital, is connected to most of the major airports in India,
including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Bangalore. As the
Thiruvananthapuram is an international airport, there are considerable
connections to gulf countries also from this airport. Kochi and Calicut
are other two airports connected from air to other cities in India.
Rails are another good way of moving inside and from the outside Kerala.
There are around 200 railway stations in Kerala connecting most of the
places in the state to places in the other parts of the country and
inside the state. Long-distance express trains connect important places
in Kerala to places outside the state like Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai,
Roads in Kerala are in much better shape than other states in India.
Major modes of road transport are buses, tourist taxis, cars, and local
taxis and autos. State is connected with other parts of South India by a
number of National Highways. Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh
are some of the neighboring states that are easily connected to Kerala
From Cochin (Kochi), there are regular ships venturing towards the
Lakshadweep Islands. Inside, backwaters of Kerala act not only as a
popular transportation medium but are tourist attractions in themselves.
These internal water navigation systems are today the single most
popular travel product of Kerala.