Kerala

It is a purified world in Kerala, the land of trees. A big, spreading tree purifies as much air as a room air-conditioner. And the former is never switched off. The prolific, bustling, vegetation acts like a massive, biological, air-filtration plant working round the clock, round the year. Hence spending days in Kerala countryside is as if spending in an air- purified environs; some times better than it. So is the rejuvenating effect of the lush greenery of the state. Kerala is a land of rivers and backwaters. Forty-four rivers (41 west-flowing and 3 east-flowing} crisscross the state physique along with countless runlets. During summer, these monsoon-fed rivers will turn into rivulets especially in the upper parts of Kerala. Kerala is a green strip of land, in the South West corner of Indian peninsula. It has only 1.1 8 per cent of the total area of the country but houses 3.43% of the the country's population. In 1956, when the states were reorganized, Kerala was formed after tying the princely states of Travancore and Cochin with Malabar, a province under Madras state. Kerala may be divided into three geographical regions: (1) High lands, (2) Midlands and (3) Lowlands. The Highlands slope down from the Western Ghats which rise to an average height of 900 m, with a number of peaks well over 1,800 m in height. This is the area of major plantations like tea, coffee, rubber, cardamom and other spices. The Midlands, lying between the mountains and the lowlands, is made up of undulating hills andvalleys. This is an area of intensive cultivation. Cashew, coconut, areca nut, cassava (tapioca), banana, rice, ginger, pepper, sugarcane and vegetables of myriad varieties are grown in this area. It is a purified world in Kerala, the land of trees. A big, spreading tree purifies as much air as a room air-conditioner. And the former is never switched off. The prolific, bustling, vegetation acts like a massive, biological, air-filtration plant working round the clock, round the year. Hence spending days in Kerala countryside is as if spending in an air- purified environs; some times better than it. So is the rejuvenating effect of the lush greenery of the state. The wanton growth of trees makes Kerala a herbarium. The four month-long, copious monsoon and recurrent flurry make this land a perfect nursery for all living beings. Loitering under the canopy of the foliage, you will feel blossoming the dreams. Thus, on a sojourn in Kerala, away from the rough and tumble of cities, you're breathing freshly purified air all the time. Flora: Kerala has over 25% of India's 15,000 plant species. Among them include endangered and rare species, flowering plants, fungies, lichens and mosses. The state's forest wealth include tropical wet evergreen, semi-green and tropical most deciduous. Teak, Mahogany, Rosewood and Sandalwood are common, the forests abound with orchids, anthirium, balsam, and medicinal plants. banyan figs, bamboo as well as 40,000 years old grasslands. Mangroves are seen in coastal areas and low, morass lands. So fertile is the state, thanks to rivers and dams that are replenished by copious rain in Western Ghats.

  Historical Kerala

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 the landscape.

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.

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 .

The Modern State of Kerala

The modern State of Kerala was created in 1956, when all the States in the country were reorganized on a linguistic basis. Malayalam (a palindrome) is the official language. Kerala is the smallest of the four southern States, but with the highest density in population.

Keralites are proud to tell you that it has the highest literacy rate in the country (100 percent), the lowest rate of infant mortality and the leading female-to-male ratio (1,032 females to every 1,000 males), significant in a country where the gender bias is marked. Kerala also made history, when in 1957 it became the first State in the world to democratically elect a Marxist Government. Since then it has been ruled by various political parties from time to time and today politics continues to dominate conversation.