Kerala “God’s Own Country” - beaches, backwaters, hills & sanctuaries

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Kerala - Quick Facts

Area: 38,863 sq. km.

Capital: Thiruvananthapuram

Population: 33,387,677

Annual Rainfall: 3,055mm

Average Temp: 290C

Language: Malayalam, English

Climate: Tropical

Religion: Christians, hindu, Muslim

Best Time To Visit: Sep-Mar

Kerala enjoys unique geographic features that have made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Asia. An equable climate. A long shoreline with serene beaches. Tranquil stretches of emerald backwaters. Lush hill stations and exotic wildlife. Waterfalls. Ayurvedic health holidays. Enchanting art forms. Magical festivals. Historic and cultural monuments. An exotic cuisine. All of which offer you a unique experience. And what's more, every one of these cherming destinations is only a two hour drive from the other. A singular advantage no other destination offers.

Kerala evokes rich images: the lush panorama of palm-fringed beaches, languid backwaters that seem caught in a permanent time warp, wooded hills and game sanctuaries that are home to all manner of animals. Kerala's busy capital city Thiruvananthapuram-which is acknowledged as the state's culture conservatory-is home to writers, film makers, painters and dancers. Kochi its romantic port city showcases old places and synagogues and along Alappuzha's waters snake boats vie with each other as they race across in joyous celebration during the festival of Onam.

The best way to see Kerala is by car. As you drive along you realise that the countryside seems to stretch on endlessly with its brilliant greens merging into one another. Rice fields spread out as far as the eye can see, tall palms sway in the breeze and languid waterways snake in and out of the vegetation.

Kerala is located on the southwestern tip of India with the Arabian Sea on the west and the Western Ghats towering 500-2700 m on the east. The State is divided into three regions-the coastal lowlands, the fertile midland and the highlands. The lowlands of Kerala are networked by endless backwaters and the deltas of forty-four rivers. The midlands are rich with cashew, coconut, arecanut, tapioca, baobab, rice ginger, pepper, and sugarcane and vegetable plantations. The forested highlands abound in tea, coffee, rubber and spice plantations and wildlife reserve.

By Air

There are three airports in Kerala, with flights to domestic and international destinations. The airports are at Kozhikode, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. The airports have several carriers operating international flights around the world.

By Rail
Indian Railways operates several trains to and from (and within) Kerala. Trains into Kerala start from all the neighbouring states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, etc.

By Road
Inter-state private and government buses operate between neighboring states.

Also known as the spice cost of India, Kerala is known for its aromatic spices such as cardamom, ginger, pepper, cinnamon, curry leaves, nut meg, tamarind, chillies and many more. It is the flavour that these spices lend, that makes the cuisine of Kerala, an epicurean delight.

The food of Kerala is not just famed for its taste but also for its nutritive value. For the health-conscious, there are several breakfast dishes such as idli, puttu, idiyappam, and paalappam which are completely oil free and steam-cooked. Baked tapioca with fish curry is also a favourite snack. There are also some steamed sweet dishes such as Kozhukatta and Ada which are made by steaming rice flour balls with a stuffing of grated coconut, and jaggery. The nadan (traditional) chicken curry and fish moli are also some famous dishes. Kerala is well known for its sea food specialities such as Karimeen Pollichathu, and Kallumekkaaya. However, it is the Naadan Sadya (Traditional Feast) which is the most popular. The main course is rice and there are several vegetable dishes complementing it. The Sadya served in plantain leaves is a sumptuous affair with dishes such as Sambar, Avial, Thoran, Pullissery, Puli Inji, Pachadi, Kaalan, Pappadam and several types of pickles.

The Performing Arts

Blessed as it is by nature and a vibrant people, Kerala also has rich repertoire of music, dance and arts. Most of these are unique to the land and reflect the love for of its people.

Classical Arts

The traditional of classical arts has exited in Kerala for more than a thousand years. Koodiyattam, a form of Sanskrit drama which is associated with temple rituals is perhaps the oldest form of classical arts in Kerala.

Kathakali is the traditional dance of Kerala and is one of the oldest forms of theatre in the world. It is a combination of dance and drama where the actors depict charachers from Indian mythology, mainly from the Tamayana and the Mahabharata. The ficial expressions and hand gestures are an important facet of this dance form, enhanced by the traditional make-up and costumes. The make-up is of five types: Pacha, Kathi, Thadi, Kari and Minukku. The bosy movements and footwork in this dance are very rigorous. The dance is performed to live music and tune of Chenda, a drum like instrument that produces thundering beats and the Maddala, an instrument which produces a softer and relaxed sound.

The dance of enchantress is a distnict type of dance form which has existed in Kerala for hundreds of years. Mohiniyattom performances depict love and devotion to God. The hero of most performances is Lord Vishnu or Lord Krishna. The vocal musicfor Mohiniyattom is classical Carnatic.

Thullal evolved as a part of social reformation. Social satire at its best is seen in the Thullal performances where a large dose of humour keeps the audience in a constant state of merriment.

Folk Arts

Kerala has a rich repertoire of folk performing arts, folk songs and folk drama where we observe man's overpowering rappot with nature and his constant desire ofr communication with the unknown. Theyyam, Thira, Mudiyettu, Kaduvakali, Velakali, Kakkarissinatakam, Chavittunatakam Margamkali, Kolkali, Parichamuttukali, Bhadrakalipattu, Pulluvanpattu, Thiruvathirakali and so on are a few of Kerala's art forms.

Martial Art
Kalaripayattu is the comprehensive system of the marital arts of Kerala regarded as one of the oldest and most scientific in the world. Even kung-fu is believed to have orginated from Kalaripayattu.

Kerala is famous for its Ayurveda centres that offer rejuvenating Ayurvedic treatments. Availing Ayurvedic treatments is in fact the main agenda of many tourists who come here. The various herbs used to concoct potions have high medicinal value.

Massages and other treatments that can cure skin, heart, digestive, neurological and several other disorders, are much sought after. Uzhichil, Pizchil, Nasyam and Dhaara are some of the popular treatments.

Meditation and Yoga are also an important part of Ayurveda. Since the science deals with one’s holistic wellness, it also gives due importance to a sound mind. Yoga and meditation helps in this regard. Your holiday in Kerala would be incomplete without trying out these relaxing therapies which will let you return to your homeland, absolutely rejuvenated.

Ambalappuzha Utsavam | Arattupuzha Pooram | Chambakkulam Boat Race | Thrissur Pooram | Vishu | Pulikkali | Nehru Boat Race | Onam.

The mall culture is fast taking over Kerala. No wonder Kerala is slowly turning into a shopper’s paradise. Apart from the glossy boutiques in the cities that sell the best in western and ethnic wear, there are numerous small scale industries that deal in handicrafts, pickles, tea, chocolates, honey, snacks, bamboo products and spices.

Kasargod, Kozhikode and Cochin are known as the main spice trading hubs since the ancient times. Balaramapuram in Thiruvananthapuram is famous for its handloom. Kasavukadas across the state sell beautifully embroidered Kerala Sarees and Mundus. While Kollam is well-known for its cashews, Kozhikode is famed for its snacks, Malabar Biriyani and chips.

The people of the hilly regions like Thekkady, Kattapana and Wayanad trade in bamboo products and tribal artifacts. The tea estates of Munnar are known world over. Here you can buy the finest tea made at the tea processing units. The cottage industries here produce delicious chocolates and natural honey.

Bell metal, brassware, and bronze are made at Alappuzha and Irinjalakkuda. The temple town of Guruvayoor is known for its sandalwood artefacts, mural arts and Ramachcham mattresses. And if you have a penchant for gold ornaments, you will find them in the various jewellery showrooms across Kerala. Happy Shopping!

Alappuzha | Cochin | Idduki | Kannur | Kasaragod | Kollam | Kovalam | Kozhikode | Kumarakom | Pallakad | Pathanamthitta | Thiruvananthapuram | Thrissur | Wayanad.

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