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Popular Tourist Destinations in Kerala

Kerala

Kerala is a land of surf, spice and magic and an ancient crossroads of cultures... Chinese fishing nets drawn up on the golden sand, Jewish synagogues, Portuguese forts, Dutch and Syrian churches, and of course beautiful Indian temples and palaces... backed by mountains, fringed with surf, beautiful beaches, alluring backwaters, paddy fields, spice plantations and swaying palms trees.

Geographically, Kerala is a narrow fertile strip on the southwest coast of India, sandwiched between the Lakshadweep Sea and the Western Ghats. The Western Ghats with their dense forests and extensive ridges have sheltered Kerala from many mainland invaders and the long coastline has encouraged maritime contact with the outside world - a contact that has resulted in an interesting blend of cultures. The State's heart is composed of intensely green paddy fields and a unique network of rivers and lagoons. Upland Kerala, relatively little visited, is composed of hills thickly wooded with teak and rubber. It is here that Kerala's most precious spices, cardamom, pepper and nutmeg, are grown in carefully nurtured plantations.

Historically speaking, the coast has been known to the Phoenicians, then the Romans and later the Arabs and Chinese. People have been sailing to Kerala in search of spices, sandalwood and ivory for at least 2000 years and it is through Kerala that Chinese products and ideas found their way to the west. The kingdom of the Cheras ruled much of present day Kerala until the early Middle Ages. Vasco da Gama's arrival in 1498 heralded an era of European contact as Portuguese, Dutch and English fought the Arab traders and then with each other for the control of the spice trade. The present day Kerala was created in 1956 from the former states of Travancore, Cochin and Malabar.

Kerala's multitude of faiths - Islam, Judaism, and a host of sects of Christianity and Hinduism, all coexist harmoniously in a state that is known for its Marxist inclinations! Kerala's traditions of dance forms, which originated from temple worship, can be witnessed at regularly held performances. Lecture-demonstrations of the most spectacular of these - Kathakali - are held daily at many centres in Cochin.

This is one of India's most progressive regions and yet it has all the aspects of a tropical paradise, complete with palm trees waving over sandy beaches lining the blue seas of lush travelogues. It offers beautiful beaches; backwater trips along peaceful lagoons and canals, hill stations, wildlife sanctuaries and complex cultural customs. In this entrancing state, there is much to explore and enjoy - splendid festivals with intriguing rituals; herds of elephants leading giant processions; exotic handicrafts and seafood preparations; cosmopolitan cities where the past is always within reach and small towns where time has stood still. All this and more, makes Kerala the ideal holiday destination, far removed from the cares of everyday world.

Fact File

CapitalThiruvananthapuram
ZoneSouth India
Area38,863 Sq. Km.
LanguageMalayalam, Tamil, Konkani
Population31,841,374 (As Of 1991)
Literacy90.92%