Kerala is sandwiched between the Lakshwadeep Sea and the Western Ghats. It is a bustling little green-and-silver, coconuts-and-water state on the west coast of India. It is bounded by Karnataka to the north, Tamil Nadu to the east, and the Arabian Sea to the west. Thiruvananthapuram is its capital.
Every district in Kerala has it's own unique culture and characteristics. Thiruvananthapuram is known for it's beach- Kovalam, the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple and various museums and palaces; Alapuzha for it's backwaters, Trichur, the cultural capital, Kottayam for it's ancient churches, Kozhikode for it's old world charm and the entrancing Ponmudy or Golden valley.
The highland district of Kerala with its mountains, valleys, dams, forests, wildlife, orchids, streams, scenic points, trekking trails, sanctuaries, hill stations and lakes, you could call Idukki - God's Own Hideaway.
A tropical paradise of undulating palms and warm sandy beaches, Kerala is a narrow strip of coastal territory sloping down from the Western Ghats in a riot of green, luxuriant vegetation. Said to have been carved out by axe-wielding Parasurama, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, it is still a land of ancient charm and mystery.
Kerala is also one of the richest states in India with forests and plantations of rubber, cashew, and coconuts everywhere. The meeting place of many cultures, Hindu and Muslim, Christian and Jewish, Kerala has a particularly rich heritage of dance and drama (Kathalkali, Koothu, Mohiniattam and other temple arts originated here) and her people are among the most industrious and well-educated (100% literacy late) in the country.
The climate is equable and varies little from season to season. The temperature normally ranges between 27º and 32º C in the plains but drops to about 21º C in the highlands. Winter - 32 to 20 º C. Kerala is strongly buffeted by both the southwest and northeast monsoons. Rainfall in many parts of the state exceeds 118 inches. The best season to visit Kerala is between October to March.
Kerala has several interesting interesting historical spots and adventure sport centres, besides picturesque spots almost everywhere along the long coast and the inland hills. It is no wonder then, with its abundance of offerings for the discering tourist, that Kerala has emerged as one of the leading Indian destinations of late. The region is also very rich in terms of culture: two of the country's most important dance forms: Kathakali and Mohiniattam have their roots in Kerala.
The people here are of the Dravidian racial stock, almost equally divided between Hindus, Muslims and Christians. North Kerala is predominantly Muslim, whereas Cochin and parts of South Kerala have sizable Christian populations. The language and culture is fairly universal.
Kerala is a land of great natural beauty. From the majestic heights of the Western Ghats the country undulates westward presenting a vista of silent valleys clothed in the richest green. Among the many rivers that glide across the plains to merge their waters with the Arabian sea, the more important are the Periyar, the Pamba and the Bharatha puzha. The elegant waterfalls at Athirampally near Trichur is a popular tourist spot.
Along the coast, sand dunes shelter a linked chain of lagoons and backwaters the still waters of which are studded with sea-gulls and country canoes plying at a snails pace. The silence of the clear skies is broken only by the coos of koels, a type of cuckoo, and the frequent flutter of cranes perched on the embankments.
The highest peak of peninsular India Annai Mudi is located in this state. The scenic Thekkady Wild Life Sanctuary is a popular vacation destination for nature lovers. The climate is equable and varies little from season to season. The temperature normally ranges from 80 to 90 F in the plains but drops to about 70 F in the highlands. The state gets its due share of both the southwest as well as the northeast monsoons, and the rainfall is heavy, averaging around 118 inches annually.
Kerala, a kaleidoscope of mesmeric charms enthralls a traveler with some of the most romantic natural resources in the world - sun. filtered glades of palm trees, shimmering beaches, dense tropical forests, rocky coasts, still bays, astounding rivers and an intricate maze of back waters.
Kerala is believed to have been created when Parshuram, a rishi after killing 21 evil kshatriyas, prayed to God to give him a secluded place to perform his penance. The Gods decided to give him the land he chose. So Parshuram threw his axe into the sea in a wide arc and commanded the water to recede. The land that rose dripping from the sea became Kerala, the verdant strip of land bounded by the hills of the Western Ghats on its eastern edge and by the Arabian sea on the western edge.
Enclosed within is a land, criss crossed with the mossed back waters, interspersed with rice fields, rich in wildlife, and bursting with cashew, coconut, coffee and rubber plantations and a medley of spices like cardamom, pepper, turmeric, and ginger.
Land of Contrast cut of the rest of the country by the Sahyadri mountain ranges, Kerala is replete with legends which reveal a rich culture which is extremely well depicted in its distinctive forms of dance, drama and temple arts. Kerala has a very cosmopolitan history graced by visitors like St. Thomas, the Apostle who established the earliest Christian Colony in Kerala in 52 A.D. He was followed by Syrian Christian settlers from Alexandria whose cathedrals and churches still attract large congregations and for which the state is called the Vatican of the East.
Vasco da Gama landed near Calicut in 1498. Christians, Muslims and Jews all found a welcome in Kerala, as did the early Phoenician, Greek and Roman Traders. Standing mute witness to the multi-layered international history are the ancient Hindu Temples standing serenely side by side the gaily painted colonial style churches and splendid mosques. There is also a synagogue built in 1568 in Cochin, reflecting a small but significant Jewish presence. Palaces of Maharajas, converted into hotels and museums, soften the harsh memories left behind by the colonizers.