Kerala at a glance
Kerala, a small beautiful state situated in the southwest corner of India is one of the most popular tourist destination in the country. Kerala has 14 districts with Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) as the capital city which is situated in the southwestern coast of Kerala.
The Port city Kochi and Kozhikode are the two major cities in Kerala. Kerala has three airports which provide international as well as domestic connections. The area of the state is 38,863 square kilometer with a population of 31.8 million.
Languages spoken are Malayalam, Hindi and English. Kerala with a literacy rate of 91.5% stands first among the Indian states.
Religion in Kerala is a mixture of different faiths; Hinduism, Islam and Christianity being the most significant among them.
Rice and Tapioca are the important food crops in Kerala. Kerala is a major producer of coconut, rubber, pepper, cardamom, cashew, coffee, tea, ginger and cocoa. Tree spices like cinnamon and cloves are also cultivated here.
Tourism in Kerala is a fast growing industry which provides job opportunities for so many local people. Every year thousand of tourists are coming to see the serene beauty of this small peaceful land.
Kerala has unique and wonderful art forms, culture and festivals. Kathakali, a classical dance form of Kerala attracts so many tourists. Kalaripayattu the martial art form of Kerala is also well known.
Kerala has lots of renowned festivals. Be it the state festival Onam or the temple festival Pooram the people in God’s own country celebrates all the festivals with great passion and spirit.
Kerala is the land of Ayurveda which is a unique and indispensable branch of medicine. Ayurveda not only refreshes your body but also refreshes your soul. For getting Ayurvedic treatment the period between April to August is considered as the best time.
Kerala- A Complete Touring Experience
The nature is at its best in Kerala with beaches covered with palm trees presenting a breathtaking setting all together. Beaches at Kovalam and Varkala are sure to tempt you to take a dip in the cool and fresh water of the sea.
The tranquility of backwater of Kumarakom and Kuttanad and thick lush forests of Thekkady and Silent Valley also offer a respite from the daily hustle bustle. The calmness of the hills of Munnar and Vagamon is sure to awaken the soul inside you.
The state is nothing less than a paradise for nature lovers. However, at the same time, it gives a treat to that spiritual self of yours.
The Sabarimala Temple in Pathanamthitta district is a temple not unknown to any religious being. You also have Guruvayoor Sree Krishna Temple, Thrissur; Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple, Cochin; Sree Padmanabha Temple, Trivandrum and Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple, Thrissur.
The Mary’s Forane Church, St Francis Church and Malayattoor Church are also worth visiting. Apart from these, few of the mosques in the state also draw your attention.
For those of you who are interested in historical buildings, Kerala has something to offer you too. There are many forts, palaces, cemeteries and citadels, narrating history of the state.
Cuisine is a delight in Kerala, especially for non-vegetarians. From Avial to Appam and mutton stew to vegetable Manga Mappas, Kerala cuisine will treat your plate in the best way possible.
Though you can visit the state at any time of the year and enjoy the calmness and serenity it has to offer you, it is always a good idea to visit during some festivals as you can explore the rich culture and tradition from a closer perspective.
Onam, Vishu, Pulikali and Thrissur Pooram are few of the festivals during which you can an enhanced Kerala Experience.
History of Kerala
Kerala the beautiful green land took birth on 1 November 1956. According to Hindu mythology Parasurama the sixth incarnation of Mahavishnu created Kerala.
Initially Kerala was made up of three distinct areas Malabar, Cochin and Travancore. Archaeologists believe that the first citizens of Kerala were the Negrito people, the hunters.
The next race in Kerala was believed to be the Austriches, who are same as the present day Australian Aborigines. They introduced cultivation of rice and vegetables which are still a main part of kerala culture. Then comes the Dravidians and Aryans who influenced the Kerala culture.
Kerala has a unique position in the commercial field. Kerala was an important destination of travellers and traders because of its spices. Jewish and Arabs were the first to come here for trading.
Then traders from almost all part of the world including Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese, Greek, Romans, French and British had came here leaving their marks in various fields of Kerala’s culture. Kerala society become a mix of people from various sections of Christianity, Hindu and Muslim.
In the history of Kerala there was the domination of feudalism, cast and warfare. Namboothiris were the landlords of most of the lands in Kerala who lived luxuriously. The lands being leased to the next higher castes for cropping.
The lowest castes were only the labourers and their life was pathetic. There was untouchability also. All these were abolished and the colonial rule was stopped later. Now Kerala is one of the most peaceful place for living.
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Village Life Experience in Kerala
The soul of Kerala is in its fabulous villages. The breathtaking beauty and peaceful ambiance of Kerala villages is a refreshing experience. Villages dotted with rivers, tall coconut trees, green paddy fields and the wonderful traditional homes take you to another world.
Laid back life of this villages will be a break from the hustle bustle of city life. The simple life of the villagers give a different experience for everyone. The villagers in Kerala follows the traditional values and are happy and contented with their simple life.
Living in these charming villages among the innocent villagers will definitely be the most memorable times of your life. Spending time in the lap of nature in the greenery of villages will give you the pleasure of perfect holidays. The pure, serene and lively atmosphere of villages offers a heavenly experience.
There are wonderful tourist villages in Kerala. Aranmula, Kumarakom, Kovalam, Punnathoor Kotta are some of the popular tourist villages in Kerala. These villages gives knowledge about the culture and tradition of the land.
The sleepy Kerala villages offers you the sight of rich and diverse vegetation, beautiful temples, rivers many exotic birds etc. You will be mesmerised by the beauty of this villages. Once you visit the villages you can never forget this experience.
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Seasons & Best time to visit Kerala
Kerala is a tropical land with pleasant climate. The three major seasons in Kerala are Summer (February - May), Monsoon (June - August and October - November) and Winter (December - January) with an interval of mild weather between August and October.
There is no significant falling, but towards the height of summer there is a partial falling of leaves. During the period February to May it gets increasingly hot, temperature reach upto 35 degree centigrade.
Summer in Kerala:
Summers in Kerala are moderate when compared to other states in India. The Western ghats prevents the entry of the dry northern winds and the cool breeze from the Arabian sea blowing towards this small green land made the summer pleasant. Sudden downpours and thunderstorms are noticeable in Summer.
By the end of May or June beginning the scenario changes completely with the starting of dramatic monsoon. Winds from Southwest begins to flow from the oceans, the clouds cover the sun and the rain begins to pour. The climate then is dark and cold.
The southwest monsoon lasts till August and there is a pleasant interval of two months before north-east monsoon. The weather at this time is nice and is the harvesting time in Kerala. The north east monsoon is different with thunder and lightning.
The winter in Kerala is cool with a temperature fall upto 25 degree centigrade. Mornings there will be fog covering trees and buildings. This pleasant winter is the time for major pilgrimages and festivals in Kerala.
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People of Kerala
People in Kerala are simple, highly cultured and traditional. Kerala people also known as Malayalees (People speaking Malayalam) are polygenic and belong to different ethnic groups and religions. Kerala is the first state in India to have achieved the highest literacy level. This fact reflects in the progressive thinking of people of Kerala and in the male female ratio also.
Unlike other states in India, the people of Kerala are not into female infanticide and sex selective abortions. The people in Kerala are very social and have a great love for art and festivals. Another feature of Kerala is the communal harmony. Even though cast system is present, communal violence is not heard in Kerala like some other states. The people in Kerala are peace loving and have a great tolerance.
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Quality of Life
The quality of life in Kerala is greater than any other state in India and is in fact closer to the West. By retaining the traditional values Kerala has adapted easily to the modern life. Kerala is one of the most progressive state in India with its high quality life and social welfare. the people in Kerala enjoy a unique cosmopolitan outlook.
The progressive thinking of people in Kerala made it a better place to live. The people in here are not not moved by the evils such as female child homicide, sex selective abortions etc. Women in here enjoy many rights unlike other states in India. Over 90 % of people in Kerala own land where their home stands.
Kerala society is highly flexible to changes and can accept new traditions and cultures without any hesitation. the law and order in Kerala is the best in the country. The great urbanization rate is seen in Kerala.
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Performing Arts in Kerala
The rich and vibrant culture of Kerala has attracted people for ages. The real beauty of Kerala lays in the culture of this small heavenly land. The treasures of Kerala are its unique art forms which reflects the life and traditions of the people.
From the renowned Kathakali to the folk dances every art form in Kerala reflects the rhythmic impulse and rituals of the intellect sensitive people in here. Religious and social history contributes to the origin of this performing arts thus making it an essential part of religious festivals and social events.
Recently UNESCO has declared Koodiyattam, an art form of Kerala as one among the masterpieces of oral and intangible heritage of humanity. Its for the first time in the history of UNESCO selecting an art form across the world and giving it recognition.
The main themes of these performing art forms are religious. Traditionally these art forms are performed during festivals and in social gatherings and temples. Some of this art forms are night long events. These art forms helps in maintaining social interaction and bonding between people from different backgrounds.
There are classical art forms and folk art forms. Important classical art forms of Kerala include Kathakali and Chakyar Koothu. Kathakali is the spectacular art form of Kerala based on drama, music and dance. Chakyar Koothu also called as Koothu is one of the oldest theatre art form. Apart from these many wonderful folk art forms are also an unavoidable part of Kerala tradition and culture.
Main folk art forms of Kerala are Krishnanattam, Mohiniyattam,Thullal, Pathakam, Theyyam, Kalampattu, Kavadiyattam, Sarpa pattu, Thidambu nritham, Padayani, Chavittunadakam, Pulikali, Thiruvathirakali, Margamkali, Kolkali, Duff Muttu, Oppana etc.
Margamkali is an art form famous among Syrian christians of Kerala. Oppana, the wonderful art form is a Muslim bridal group dance, where the bride sits in the centre and others move around her singing and clapping their hands in a rhythmic way.
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With an area of 38,863 square kilometre Kerala’s coast runs 580 km in length and 35 -120 kilometre in width. A network of forty four rivers are seen in Kerala. Kerala is the one place with many diverse geographical features.
Eastern Kerala has lands bordered by western ghats and which include high mountains, beautiful valleys etc. Here the lands are covered either with dense forests or tea and coffee plantations. Forty one of Kerala’s forty four rivers originate in the eastern region.
West side of the mountain lies the midland plains with an area of land running along central Kerala. The lowest regions of midland plains host paddy fields and the elevated land slopes has rubber and fruit trees along with black pepper, tapioca and other crops.
The western ghat rises on an average elevation of 1500 meters above sea level and in certain areas the elevation is above 2500 meters. Kerala’s coastal belt is relatively flat with green paddy fields, coconut trees, a fine network of interconnected canals and rivers.
Kuttanad, the rice bowl of Kerala in Alleppey district comprises more than 20% of the India’s waterways by length. The backwaters, canals and rivers in Kuttanad made the coastal belt of Kerala rich with water.
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Kerala cuisine is connected directly to its history, geography and culture of the land. The historical diversity and cultural influences largely contributed the unique style and dishes to Kerala cuisine. Before independence Kerala was split into three regions Malabar (North Malabar and Malabar), Cochin and Travancore.
The style of preparation and the names of dishes vary in these regions. Kerala cuisine has a multitude of vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes. The large number of Christian and Muslim population in Kerala has contributed various styles of non vegetarian dishes.
European influence is reflected in numerous bakeries and in Anglo-Indian cuisine. Spices play an important role in Kerala cuisine. Most of the non vegetarian dishes are very spicy while vegetarian dishes are mildly spiced.
Kerala offers many nutritious and delicious vegetarian dishes which are not made anywhere else. These include Puttu, Idiyappam, Palappam etc. Like many other South Indian states rice is the basic food in Kerala. Most of the people in Kerala prefer boiled rice.
Kerala is known for its Sadhya. A vegetarian meal served with so many side dishes during special occasions and festivals. Followed by Sadhya Payasam, a sweet dessert will be served.
The use of sweets is not as widespread in Kerala as in other Indian states. Cold desserts are not that popular in Kerala. A wide variety of side dishes like pickles, chutneys, pappadams, banana chips etc. are also popular among Keralites. Due to a large number of coconut in Kerala, coconut oil is used for cooking.
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Travel Tips & Quick Facts
Kerala with its breathtaking beauty and serenity offers you an unforgettable experience of your life. Still there are some travel tips that you have to keep in mind while you are in Kerala.
Although Kerala has a pleasant weather throughout the year the best time to visit Kerala is September - March. Monsoon is also an ideal time to go for warm massages.Communication :
Kerala may look untouched by time, but all modes of communication are available here.Currency :
Currency in Kerala is Indian Rupee. Foreigners can bring unlimited foreign currency, money exchange in Kerala is not a big problem as there are so many exchange centres, but it will take some time.Credit Cards :
Credit cards are accepted in main hotels, restaurants and shopping centres.What to Eat :
Various types of foods are available in Kerala. All standard restaurants in Kerala offers Mughlai, Chinese,Continental, Indian, Fast Food and traditional Kerala foods.What to Wear :
There is no strict restriction or rules for clothes to wear in Kerala, but nudity is not allowed in any part of Kerala. Cottons are an ideal option. Sunglasses, sunscreen lotion and hats will be handy while travelling.Languages :
The official language of Kerala is Malayalam. But almost everyone in Kerala can converse in English.Health and Safety :
Keep your medical certificates and medicines with you. Avoid purchasing any illegal stuff. Heavy penalty with imprisonment is there for possession of narcotic drugs. Avoid eating cut fruits and raw salads, and avoid drinking road side water.Emergency Numbers :
- Police Control Room - 100
- Fire Station - 101
- Ambulance - 101
- While traveling on Highways: 9846 100 100
- While traveling in Trains: 9846 200 100
Though the people in Kerala are genuinely simple, polite and helpful there are some anti social elements like everywhere. So its better to take some precautions while travelling. Do not wear revealing clothes and keep your valuables safe. Its better to avoid public display of affection like hugging and kissing as it is not accepted in Kerala society.
A souvenir is an object a person acquires for the memories the owner can relate to it. Souvenirs has real significance in tourism industry. Tourism industry designates tourism souvenirs as memory connected to a particular location.
Everything about Kerala is unique and after completion of your journey you will get confused on selecting a souvenirs from a huge collection . There are so many things which reflects the culture, history, art and socio-religious aspects of this God’s Own Country.
Kerala offers wide variety of attractive souvenirs including some of the most beautiful hand made items, paintings etc. Handmade products are made from coconut shells, wood, clay and cane.
Some of the typical souvenir items in Kerala are Aranmula Kannadi - a metal mirror unique to Kerala, Kasavu Sari which is a traditional wear of Kerala women, Nettipattam - caparison for elephants, Nettoor Petti - traditional jewellery box, Nilavilakku - a brass lamp, Ramacham Vishari which is a handmade fan, Mural paintings, Ravi varma paintings, Kathakali showpiece, Chundan Vallam showpiece, Coir products and Spices.
These souvenirs are available in Culture Shoppe, an official agency of Kerala Govt Tourism, as well as other shops in Kerala.
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Kerala, the green beautiful land has always been a great visual experience for the viewers. The breathtaking beauty and serenity of Kerala made it the most popular tourist destination.
Think of houseboats or tree house or calm beaches or hill stations, Kerala is first place to pop up in your mind. Isn’t it? So why wait any longer? Check our all-inclusive Kerala tour packages for a memorable time.