Kerala – Gods Own Country
Sandwiched between the Lakshwadeep Sea and the Western Ghats, Kerala 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.
Built on seven hills, Thiruvananthapuram- Capital of Kerala, is known for it’s beach- Kovalam, the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple and various museums and palaces, Alappuzha for it’s backwaters, Thrissur, the cultural capital, Kottayam for it’s ancient churches, Kozhikode for its old world charm and the entrancing Ponmudi or Golden valley. Kerala tour offers this and much more.
Kerala also has considerable ethnic diversity. The Malayali majority belong to the Dravidian group (local race) of early Indian people. There is a small population of descendants of Indo-European migrants from the north. Certain hill tribes exhibit affinities with the Negrito peoples of Southeast Asia. Most Keralites are Hindus, but there are also large Christian and Islamic, and lesser Jain and Jewish, minorities. The official language is Malayalam. A long contact with the outside world has led to an intriguing blend of cultures and given Keralites a cosmopolitan outlook.
- Area : 38,863 sq. km.
- Capital : Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum).
- Language : Malayalam. English is widely spoken.
- Religion : Hinduism, Christianity, Islam
- Time : GMT + 5:30.
- Currency : Indian Rupees.
- Climate : Tropical.
- Summer : Feb – May (24 – 33ï¿½C).
- Monsoon : Jun – Sep (22 – 28ï¿½C).
- Winter : Oct-Jan (22-32ï¿½C).
Much of Kerala’s exotic appeal is centred in the highland area of the Western Ghats. Not to speak of expansive, loamy plantations of tea, coffee, rubber and fragrant cardamom.
1600m above sea level, Munnar is a nature lover’s paradise and was the summer resort of the British Government in the South India. Sprawling tea plantation, picture-book towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities make this a popular hill station.
Situated 915 m above sea level, Peermade is on the way to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Here you will find sprawling tea, coffee, cardamom, rubber and eucalyptus plantations side by side with natural grasslands and pine forests.
Tucked away at the north eastern tip of Kerala, this quaint little hill station about 1300m above sea level is renowned for its coffee, tea, cardamom, pepper and rubber plantations.
An idyllic hill resort with narrow, winding pathways and cool, green, wooden environs, Ponmudi is located 915 metres above sea level. Well known for its beautiful mountain flowers, exotic butterflies, small rivulets and springs, this hill station also has excellent trekking trails.
One aspect of the state’s rich cultural heritage is manifest in its varieties of religious architecture like ancient Hindu temples with copper-clad roofs, later Islamic mosques with “Malabar gables,” and colonial Portuguese Baroque churches.
The land is a flourishing center of the Kathakali dance form. The state has also a rich theatre tradition: the only surviving Sanskrit drama, Koottiyattam, is still performed by the Chakkiars of Kerala. Some principles of the Natya-Shastra are evident in their presentations.
10-days annual festival in January at Sreekandeswaram Temple, Thiruvananthapuram. In February, is the week-long Nishagandhi dance festival; Pooram festival in Thrissur around April-May, flavored food festival, at the Kanakakunnu Palace grounds, Thiruvananthapuram in May.
Onam Week celebrations, the annual harvest festival of Kerala begins in August and lasts for 10 days. Another important festival is the annual Pongala Utsavam, to which only women are allowed at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram. Therayattam festival is held to propitiate the gods and demons recognized by the pantheon of the Malayalis.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Thekkady: Rolling hills, tea and cardamom plantations welcome you to Thekkady. One of the largest wildlife reserves in India, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is more popluar as a tiger reserve. A boat ride on the splendid Periyar lake is the best way to experience the sanctuary. The greatest attraction here is the herds of wild elephants that come down to the lake to frolic in the waters. Tiger, Sambhar, Bison, Spotted Deer, Leopard, Malabar Flying Squirrel, Stripe-necked Mangoose and so on can also be spotted inthe forest. Kumily, an important spice trade center, lies in the peiphery of the sanctuary.
The Eravikulam National Park, Munnar: 17kms. from Munnar, this is home to an assortment of wildlife such as the Nilgiri Tahr, Nilgiri Langur, Sambhar, Gaur and the Lion-tailed Macaque.
- Athirapally: At the entrance to the Sholayar ranges, this 80 foot waterfall is a popular picnic spot.
- Vazhachal: Just a short drive from Athirapally, this picturesque spot is adjacent to dense green forest land, and is a part of the Chalakudy river.
Most of India’s finest beaches are in Kerala. For virtually its entire 900km in length, the Kerala coast is lined with sandy beaches, rocky promontories and coconut palms. Each year greater numbers of visitors arrive here in search of the tranquil, palm fringed beaches. Kovalam Varkala Kappad and Bekal are some of the most popular beaches of Kerala.