Kerala is a state located in southwestern India. The state was created in 1956 on a linguistic basis, bringing together those places where Malayalam formed the principal language. Kerala is famous for its sprawling backwaters and lush green vegetation. Kerala is generally referred to as a tropical paradise of waving palms and wide sandy beaches. Neighbouring states are Karnataka to the north and Tamil Nadu to the south and the east. The state is bordered by the Arabian sea towards the west. Thiruvananthapuram, located at the southern tip of the state forms the capital while Kochi, Kozhikode, Kollam, Thrissur, Kottayam, Kannur, Alapuzha, Manjeri and Palakkad form other major trading and activity centres.
Backwater in Kerala
The state has a 91 percent literacy rate ,the highest in India. A survey conducted in 2005 by Transparency International ranked Kerala as the least corrupt state in the country. Kerala has witnessed significant migration of its people, especially to the Persian Gulf countries, starting with the Kerala Gulf boom, and is uniquely dependent on remittances from its large Malayali expatriate community. Kerala has the lowest rate of population growth in India, with a fertility rate of 1.6 per woman and it boasts a higher Human Development Index than most other states in India. Kerala is also considered to be the global capital of Ayurveda.
Tourist Places to visit in Kerala
Alappuzha is a Land Mark between the broad Arabian sea and a net work of rivers flowing into it. In the early first decade of the 20th Century the then Viceroy of the Indian Empire, Lord Curzon made a visit in the State to Alleppey, now Alappuzha. Fascinated by the Scenic beauty of the place, in joy and amazement, he said, "Here nature has spent up on the land her richest bounties". In his exhilaration, it is said, he exclaimed, "Alleppey, the Venice of the East". Thus the sobriquet found its place in the world Tourism Map. The presence of a port and a pier, criss -cross roads and numerous bridges across them, a long and unbroken sea coast might have motivated him to make this comparison.
Alleppey has a wonderful past. Though the present town owes its existence to the sagacious Diwan Rajakesavadas in the second half of 18th century, district of Alappuzha figures in classified Literature. Kuttanad, the rice bowl of Kerala with the unending stretch of paddy fields, small streams and canals with lush green coconut palms , was well known even from the early periods of the Sangam age. History says Alappuzha had trade relations with ancient Greece and Rome in B.C and in the Middle Ages.
With the Arabian Sea on the west and a vast network of lakes, lagoons and fresh water rivers crisscrossing it, Alleppey 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 Alleppey has grown in importance as a backwater tourist center, attracting several thousands of foreign tourists each year. Alleppey is also famous for its boat races, houseboat holidays, beaches, marine products and coir industry. A singular characterstic of this land is the region called kuttanad. The land of lush paddy fields, Kuttanad is called the rice bowl of kerala and is one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea level.
Kerala is undoubtedly blessed with a unique feature called the backwaters. Backwaters are formed by the accumulation of sea water at the beach. As the waves moved to and fro, they made their way tearing the ground and forming backwaters. The backwaters are essentially inland lakes connected by a network of canals. The best way to enjoy the Kerala backwaters is to take a cruise on a Kettuvallam.
Located 16 km south of Kasaragod town, north Kerala, Bekal is known for the Bekal Fort which has a Giant key hole shaped fort, golden expanse of beautiful beach surrounding it, backwaters, hill destinations and water sport facilities nearby. Bekal Fort shaped like a giant keyhole, this magnificent historical fort offers a superb view of the Arabian sea from its tall observation towers, where a few centuries ago huge cannons were strategically placed. Nearby is an old mosque said to have been built by the valiant Tipu Sultan of Mysore.
Calicut is the town where the first European, Vasco-de-Gama, had landed at Kappad in 1498. Later the Dutch, the French and the British dominated the area. Today it is one of the important ports on the west coast of India and still maintains its commercial traditions.
There is not much known of the early history of Calicut except for some prehistoric rock-cut caves that have been found at many places of the district. During the Sangam age, the district was under the Chera administration until ad 1122. This was the time when this region was a major center of trade between Kerala and the outside world. The city of Calicut came into existence in the 13th century when Udaiyavar, the king of Ernad, conquered the area around Ponniankar and built a fort at a place called Velapuram, now known as Calicut. Interestingly, the name Calicut is derived from 'calico,' the fine variety of hand-woven cotton cloth said to have originated from this place.
Cochin has long been eulogized in tourist literature as the 'Queen of the Arabian Sea'. Its location between the blue waters of the Arabian Sea and Kerala's emerald backwaters, its rich medley of Indian and foreign architecture, it's truly unusual sights like the Chinese fishing nets and its quaint quiet localities like the Jewish Quarters demand the attention of all who travel to Kerala.
Set on a cluster of islands and a peninsula, Cochin (now, Kochi) is a blend of medieval Portugal, Holland and an English country village. Cochin remained incomplete in terms of success till the arrival of the Portuguese. It is believed that the Cochin district came into existence in the year 1102 AD after the break up of the Khulasekhara Empire.
Sprawling over an area of 5061 Sq. km, this district is marked by undulating hills and valleys. The name Idukki is derived from the name' Idukku ' meaning a narrow gorge. The high ranges vary in altitude from 2500 feet above sea level to more than 5000 feet. Idukki has at present about 1,500 Sq. km of reserved forest, which is rich in flora and fauna. The famous arch dam here is constructed across the Periyar River between two huge granite hills. Idukki with its many streams, wooded valleys and hills, is a beautiful place to visit any time of year. Frequent buses are available from Cochin, Thekkady and Thodupuzha.
Although metaphorically, Kottayam is the melting pot of varied cultural and religious influences, but practically, it is the collecting pot of latex, which later defines the ergonomics of ubiquitous rubber plantations. Grown in 109,582 hectares - the largest area under rubber cultivation in the State - Visit the vast jungles of 'Hevea brasiliensis' (latex of the plants from which commercial rubber is made) and you will know a great deal about this plant that is an indispensable part of our life. Touch natural robber. See how the incisions are made.
Situated 16 kms from the Capital of Kerala is a city with four sandy bays called Kovalam. The meaning of Kovalam is 'groove of coconut trees'. This spectacular beach resort in 1930's broke the shackles and emerged as the most magnificent tourist attraction in the south. In earlier days it was a virgin land with not a lot of tourists, but later with the influx of tourists looking for peace & tranquility coming here, there was no looking back. The four sandy beaches are a sight to behold; all the four bays are separated by rocks.
Located 71 km to the north of Thiruvanathapuram, Kollam is the center of the country's cashew trading and processing industry. One of the oldest pots on the Malabar coast, Kollam was once the port of international spice trade. 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 of the backwaters of Kerala. The district has some interesting historic remnants and a number of temples built in the traditional ornate architectural style.
This tiny village loaded with infinite natural pulchritude derives its name from two words 'Kumaran' and 'Akam'. Kumaran is the name of the deity worshipped here since ages and Akam means the domicile. Thus, Kumarakom is the resident of the Lord Kumaran. Kumarakom is established on the man made land that was reclaimed from the cosmic Vembanad Lake.
This exotic backwater hamlet endowed with thick lush greenery, verdant and spanking fresh shrubs and bushes, paddy fields, coconut groves and mangrove forests overwhelmingly covering every vacant inch of land and water lilies and algae embroidering the fringes offer a flabbergasting treat to the thirsty eyes. The morning dew and smoky mist that wraps the surface with ethereal veil adds more than a glint to the milieu.
136 km - Munnar is a beautiful station on the Western Ghats at about 1,600 meters above sea level. The town is situated at the confluence of the three mountain streams of Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. There are lakes, reservoirs, green forests and several tea estates. Anamudi, the highest peak in South India is nearby. There is a wildlife sanctuary in the Eravikulam-Rajamala area. Chinnar wildlife sanctuary is close to Eravikulam National Park
This is a protected area in Kerala with semi-arid and dry deciduous shrub forests the preferred habitat of the starred Tortoise. Munnar was the summer resort of the British government in the South. MATTUPETTY town, 13 km away has the Indo-Swiss dairy farm. About 100 varieties of high yielding cattle are reared here. A few yards away from the farms are the beautiful lake on dam, which is a beautiful picnic spot. The vast stretch of Kandala tea plantations offer a stunning view of Munar. MARAYOOR relics of the new Stone Age civilization have been unearthed 40 km away from Munar.
Set high in the ranges of the Western Ghats, in Kerala, is the Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve. The park has a picturesque lake at the heart of the sanctuary. Formed with the building of a dam in 1895, this reservoir meanders around the contours of the wooded hills, providing a perennial source of water for the local wildlife.
Herds of elephant and sambar, gaur and wild pigs wander down to the lake-side and can be observed from the launches that cruise the lake. In March and April, during the driest period here, the animals spend a lot of time near the lake and the elephants can be seen bathing and swimming in the reservoir. A glimpse may be had even of the tiger during this season, as it comes to the water.
Periyar also harbours the leopard, wild dog, barking deer and mouse deer. On the rocky outcrops along the lake, monitor lizards can be seen basking in the sun. Visitors who trek into the Park often see a python and sometimes even a king cobra.
Among the unusual species found at Periyar are the flying lizard and the flying snake. With wings of Nilgiritahr orange or yellow, the flying lizard is seen as it glides from one tree to the other. The flying snake is also brilliantly coloured in yellow and black with a pattern of red rosettes.
The lake attracts birds like the darter, cormorant, grey heron and ibis and they are seen perched on the snags of dead wood that dot the lake. The great Malabar hornbill and grey hornbill are often seen flapping their ponderous way between trees. There are kingfishers, ospreys and kites as well as orioles, hill mynas, racket tailed drongos, parakeets, including the unusual blue winged parakeet and fly catchers. The liquid notes of the Malabar whistling thrush and the loud call of the hornbills are distinctive amid the normal sounds of the jungle. Four species of primates are found at Periyar -the rare lion tailed macaque, the Nilgiri langur, common langur and bonnet macaque. Though this is also the habitat of the Nilgiri tahr, this elusive goat is rarely seen.
The animals are viewed from motor launches on the lake and from watch towers. A summer palace of the former Maharaja of Travancore, set along the lake, is a hotel and a fine place to stay.
Thiruvananthapurain is the gateway to one of the most beautiful State in India. City opens the gate to a world of beaches, mountains, backwaters, wildlife sanctuaries and islands. The city is named after the holy serpent; the thousand-headed Anantha built over seven hills. As early as 1000 BC this southern tip of India was in frequent trade contact with foreign civilizations, especially from the West Asian region. Cotton, fabrics, spices, ivory and hordes of other goods were exported from its ports. This contact has manifested in the co-existence of diverse religions and culture in the State.
The cultural capital of Kerala has played significant role since ancient times. It was a former capital of the Cochin State and was ruled by the Zamorin and later by Tipu Sultan in the second half of the 18th century. A cultural center, the Kerala kala Mandalam, the Kerala kala Mandalam, the Kerala Sahitya Academy and Kerala sangeetha Nataka Academy are located here.
Wayanad is a derivative of the term Vayal Nadu, where Vayal means Paddy fields and Nadu the land, comprising it to indicate a land of paddy fields. Wayanad is explicitly beautiful with mist clad mountains, intense forests and fertile green plantations. Snuggled amidst the Western Ghats Mountains, Wayanad is one of the exquisite hill stations of Kerala. Wayanad shelters endangered species as it has an amazing range of flora and fauna. It has an influential history too, numerous evidences depicting new Stone Age civilization is seen on the Wayanad hills. Relicts and edicts are found in this place emphasizing the prehistoric epoch.