Kerala, the spice garden of India is one of the smallest states. It is a coastal strip, 582km long but hardly 120km in width. It is like a sickle as the moon is on the eleventh day of the lunar fort night. It is a fertile land, full of palm covered beaches and high mountains. Anamudi is one of its highest peak in the south. Hills, mountains, forests, canals, sea beaches, Periyar wild life sanctuary and back water formed by the sea water enchant tourists. There are 40 rivers flowing through Kerala. The state’s mountain side produces rubber, coffee, tea, cocoa, pepper and cardamom and the plains are rich in coconut, palms and grey farm houses. More than 4000m coconuts are produced annually. Its forests cover almost one forth of the land provide timber. The sea offers more than 4 lakh tons of fish annually. India’s total catch is making more than 35 percent, Shrimps and frog legs are exported to the US, Europe and Japan. The state is rich in fauna also. Then we can find elephants, leopards, bears, gaurs, sambars and the Nilgiri ibex.
The old history of Kerala is full of legends and myths. One of the legends is that Kerala was raised from the depth of the ocean. One of the avatars of Viahnu, Parasurama had once waged a revengeful war against Kshatriyas and annihilated them totally. Later he was repentant for the sinful killing he had carried out. He went to the top of a mountain and started penance. He threw his mighty axe into the distant ocean in a mood of propitiation. Waves were raised and a crescent shaped stretch of land from the sea.
Another legend is that Kerala was being ruled once by Mahabali, a king of demons. Once, Lord Vishnu appeared in the guise of a dwarf before him. He asked for land measuring three steps. The lord measured the whole land and the sky with his two steps and asked for more space. Mahabali, in his bewilderment, offered his head. The lord put his step over his head and pushed him down to the hell. But Mahabali was given the concession by the lord to return the land for 4 days every year. The return of Mahabali is an occasion of a festival in the state. It is called as Onam which is celebrated with a great pomp.
The history of the state dates back to the 3rd century BC on Ashoka’s rock edits. After that Kerala broke up into many small kingdoms on account of constant wars between various kingdoms.
Kerala is a God’s own country. It was never isolated despite its location in the Deep South. The Malabar Coast was open to the old world through the sea. That is why it has a cosmopolitan outlook and is open to the religious and cultural influence Vascodagama landed in 1498, the Phoenicians had arrived here to trade in spices and ivory king Solomon’s ship visited Ophix in 1000BC. Romans came here in 30AD to purchase spices. The Greeks followed them. Traders from China, Malaya, the Philippines, Jawa and Sumatra also visited parts in Kerala. Gold was exchanged for species, ivory and sandalwood. Kerala species were world famous.
The traders were given facilities and permitted to settle down in the Kerala soil. The Portuguese and the Dutch were given trading rights, but the both were ousted by the British traders.
The earliest immigrants were Jews when Nebuchadnezzar occupied Jerusalem in 587 BC. St. Thomas landed near Craganore and started converting people to Christianity in 50 AD. About 25% of today’s Christian population is converting from Hinduism. Islam also came to Kerala through Arab traders many of which settled here. Today Hindus, Christians, Jews and Muslims form part of the population of the state. Men mostly wear whites and carry black umbrellas to ward off the tropical sun. Womenfolk are in colorful sarees and decorate their hair with flowers. They are religious, god fearing advanced n public health and public education. There is not much of industrialization but the state does not lag behind in agriculture. The present Kerala state is formed in 1956 consists of the former state of Travancore- Cochin with the exclusion of four taluks of Travancore district and a part of the Shencottah taluk of Quilon district. But it includes the Malabar district and the Kasaraged taluk of South Kanara from Madras state.
Half of the population of the state is dependent on farming. The main cash crops are cashew nuts, arecanut, coconut, cotton, pepper, oilseeds, sugarcane, coffee, rubber, ginger and cardamom. Rice is an important food crop. The state is rich in minerals. Zircon, sillamanite, clay, quartz, sand and lime are some of the important minerals.
Coir, cashew, rubber, tea, ceramics, electricals, electronic appliancies, telephone cables, transformers, bricks and tiles, drugs and chemicals, engineering, plywood, beedi, cigar, oils, soaps and fertilizers are the main industries in the state. Panniyar, Sholayor, sabarigiri, Peringalkuth, Idukki, Edamalayar and Kuttadi are some power projects.
Shiva Linga is on the sand back.
Sri Krishna temple with the image of divine origin is here.
It is a Parthasarathi temple. Snake boat race is held here.
This is St. Andrews French Church.
This is a tomb of BeemaBeevi and son Chandrakudam. A Muslim festival is held here.
Goddess Bhagavathi Amman Temple is here.
This is also a Goddess temple.
It is a pilgrim centre for Hindus, Muslims and Christians.
This is a Lord Shiva temple. It is famous for a holy lamp, Valiavilakku.
Ancient Sri Krishna temple is here.
This is the only temple of Bharat, who was the brother of Rama.
This place is famous for being the birth place of Adi Shankaracharya.
Swayambu Shivalinga is at Mahadeva Temple.
This is known for Nercha Muslim festival.
It is St. Thomas Church. Annual festival is held here.
Manjanikkara Church is here.
Lord Ayyappa Temple is here. It can be reached from Pampa on foot.
Lord Shiva Temple is here. Pooram festival is held here every year.
It has a Rama temple.
Lord Vishnu temple is here.
This is a place for Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
This is a Christian centre; Kurisumala Ashram.
Lord Shiva’s idol changes color thrice in a day.
Janardanaswamy temple is here. It also has a Samadhi of Sri Narayana Guru.
The area of this temple is about 38863 Sq.km.
The density of this land is 819 per sq.km.
More than 90% of the people are literate.
The capital of this state is Thiruvananthapuram.
The language spoken by the people are Malayalam.
Kerala lies in the north of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu is to the East, Indian ocean in the southeast and Arabian sea to the west.
Airports are present in Cochin, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram.
Hill palace, Thirupunithura, Parisath, Thamburan, Archaeological, Napier and Sri Chaitra Art Gallery are some of the museums.
An ancient heritage to built heaven on earth, Parasuram who was the incarnation of Vishnu, threw his sword into Arabian Sea and Kerala emerged out of the sea.
St. Thomas, Jesus disciple came to India in 52 AD and erected first Church in India.
Malik Ibon Dinar, Prophet Mohammed erected the first mosque of Asia in Kerala in 643 AD.
King Solomon built a temple in his own country with timber from Kerala.
To save her son from Caesar, Cleopatra decided to send his son to Kerala.
Madhya Pradesh Festivals
Tourists from all over the world gather in Thrissur for the colorful 101elephant procession in January from 9-12. Elephants carry huge umbrella on their backs. Tourists may ride on them. The elephant march in the capital is very popular.
This is the national festival of the state. During the festival, tourism week is also observed. Boat racing in back waters is also popular.
This is held in Thrissur in April-May for 4 days. Sixty elephants in two rows take part in it. On the back of each elephant there are three priests holding colorful umbrellas. Dance, music and fireworks are parts of the festival.
On the second Saturday of August every year more than 100 boats with as many boars take part in competition in the river Pampa at Alapuja. The boats taking live snakes on the hood compete to win the Nehru trophy. J.L.Nehru introduced this race.
It is celebrated in Kochi to welcome New Year from December 25 to 31 each year.
This festival is held from April 5 to 11 in the capital. It is for those who like different foods. Keralite and other Indian dishes are served.
Nisha Gandhi Dance Festival
This festival is celebrated in February from 21-27 every year. Classical dances are arranged at the open theatre every year.
Keralites’ religious fervor finds expression in the dance drama of Kathakali a classical dance which started from there itself and now has gone the world over. Classical dance which started from there itself and now has gone the world over. Similarly, festivals are also a way to get relaxation. They get every now and then.
Thiruvananthapuram’s earlier name was Trivandrum. It got its name after the holy serpent, the thousand headed Anantha, on which Lord Vishnu reclines. The city is built over seven hills of Sahayadri Mountain. In the narrow lanes, Pagoda type houses with red tiles on roof gardens with flowers add beauty to the city. Thiruvananthapuram opens the gate to the beaches, mountains, backwaters, wildlife sanctuiaries and islands of this beautiful state. The city was a trade centre and in contact with foreigners, especially with west Asia. Its ports were used to export cotton, spices, ivory, fabrics, etc.
How to reach
Thiruvananthapuram is connected by air with Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai. The city is also linked with Colombo, Maldive islands, west Asia and Europe.
The city is linked with all major cities of India.
It is connected by roads with all parts of South India.
Important Places to Visit
Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Aruvikkara, Kuthiramalika Museum, Sree Chithira Art Gallery, Napier Museum and Zoo.