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.
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 and valleys. 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 environ;
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.
Another piece de resistance
of Kerala is the meandering rivers which criss-cross the state physique like blood veins. Besides, water bodies tucked away
in thick forests also enhance the amazing beauty of the state. They fertilize the' land, turn waste into the wealth of the
rich, black, alluvial soil on which the agrarian state thrive.
The Lowlands or the coastal area, made up of river deltas,
backwaters and the Arabian coast, is essentially a land of coconuts and rice. Fisheries and coif industry constitute the major
industries of this area.
Kerala is a land of rivers and backwaters. Forty-four rivers (41 west-flowing and 3 east-flowing}
criss-cross the state physique along with countless runlets. During summer, these monsoon-fed rivers will turn into rivulets
especially in the upper parts of Kerala.
Backwaters are an attractive, economically valuable feature of Kerala. These
include lakes and ocean in lets which stretch irregularly along the Kerala coast. The biggest among these backwaters is the
Vembanad lake, with an area of 200 sq km, which opens out into the Arabian Sea at Cochin port.
The Periyar, Pamba,
Manimala, Achenkovil, Meenachil and Moovattupuzha rivers drain into this lake.The other important backwaters are Veli, Kadhinam
kulam, Anjengo (Anju Thengu),Edava, Nadayara, Paravoor. Ashtamudi (Quilon)
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, Mahagoney, 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.
Kerala, India's most advanced society : A hundred
percent literate people. World-class health care systems. India's lowest infant mortality and highest life expectancy rates.
The highest physical quality of life in India. Peaceful and pristine, Kerala is also India's cleanest State.
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
Earlier, Kerala was made up of three distinct areas. Malabar as far up the coast as Tellicherry,
Cannanore and Kasargode with the tiny pocket-handkerchief French possession of Mahe nearby (it was returned to India in the
early 1950 's and is now administratively part of Pondicherry). This area belonged to what was once called the Madras Presidency
under the British. The middle section is formed by the princely State of Cochin; the third comprises Travancore, another princely
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 .
discovered the sea route to India from Europe when Vasco da gama landed with his ship near Kappad in Calicut in AD 1498. Slowly
the Kerala society became a mix of people belonging to various sects of Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. The arrival of Portuguese
was followed by the Dutch, the French and finally the British.The State of Kerala was created on the 1st of November 1956.
The Keralites celebrate this day as 'Kerala piravi' meaning the 'Birth of Kerala'.