Kerala
Kerala

Kerala, historically known as Keralam, is a state in South India on the Malabar coast. It was formed on 1 November 1956 following the States Reorganisation Act by combining Malayalam-speaking regions. Spread over 38,863 km2 (15,005 sq mi), it is bordered by Karnataka to the north and northeast, Tamil Nadu to the east and south, and the Lakshadweep Sea to the west. With 33,387,677 inhabitants as per the 2011 Census, Kerala is the thirteenth largest state by population and is divided into 14 districts with the capital being Thiruvananthapuram. Malayalam is the most widely spoken and the official language of the state.

Kerala

The history of Keralam, India, dates back many millennia. Stone age carvings in the Edakkal Caves feature pictorial writings believed to date to at least the Neolithic era around 5,000 BC, indicating the presence of a prehistoric civilisation or settlement in this region.From as early as 3000 BC, Kerala had established itself as a major spice trade centre. Keralam had direct contact across the Arabian Sea with all the major Mediterranean and Red Sea ports as well those of the Far East. The spice trade between Keralam and much of the world was one of the main drivers of the world economy. For much of history, ports in Keralam were the busiest (Muziris) among all trade and travel routes in the history of the world.The word Keralam is first recorded (as Keralaputra) in a 3rd-century BC rock inscription (Rock Edict 2) left by the Maurya emperor Ashoka (274–237 BC).The Land of Keralaputra was one of the five independent kingdoms in southern India during Ashoka’s time, the others being Chola, Pandya, Tamiraparani and Satiyaputra.The Cheras collapsed after repeated attacks from the neighboring Chola Empire and Rashtrakuta Empire. In the 8th century, Adi Shankara(Brahmin) was born in central Kerala. He travelled extensively across the Indian subcontinent establishing institutions of Advaita Vedanta philosophy. Today’s Tamil Nadu and Kerala formed the core of Thamizhagam and shared the common language Tamil until 14th century. However the Western ghats which runs between present day Tamil Nadu and Kerala separated the peoples contact greatly and also the invasions from Northern India played a catalyst role in the formation of Malayalam language that is spoken widely in the current day Kerala.Contact with Europeans after the arrival of Vasco Da Gama in 1498 gave rise to struggles between colonial and native interests. By 1795, the area was under British dominion. After independence, the state of Keralam was created in 1956 from the former state of Travancore-Cochin, the Malabar district of Madras State, and the Kasaragod taluk of Dakshina Kannada.

Jharkhand

Elephant

Elephants are large mammals of the family Elephantidae and the order Proboscidea. Two species are traditionally recognised, the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), although some evidence suggests that African bush elephants and African forest elephants are separate species (L. africana and L. cyclotis respectively). Elephants are scattered throughout sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Elephantidae is the only surviving family of the order Proboscidea; other, now extinct, members of the order include deinotheres, gomphotheres, mammoths, and mastodons. Male African elephants are the largest extant terrestrial animals and can reach a height of 4 m (13 ft) and weigh 7,000 kg (15,000 lb). All elephants have several distinctive features, the most notable of which is a long trunk or proboscis, used for many purposes, particularly breathing, lifting water and grasping objects.

Great hornbill

The great hornbill (Buceros bicornis) also known as the great Indian hornbill or great pied hornbill, is one of the larger members of the hornbill family. It is found in South and Southeast Asia. Its impressive size and colour have made it important in many tribal cultures and rituals. The great hornbill is long-lived, living for nearly 50 years in captivity. It is predominantly frugivorous, but is an opportunist and will prey on small mammals, reptiles and birds.

Kerala
Kerala

Coconut

The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family).It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos.The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which, botanically, is a drupe, not a nut. The spelling cocoanut is an archaic form of the word.The term is derived from the 16th-century Portuguese and Spanish word coco meaning “head” or “skull”, from the three indentations on the coconut shell that resemble facial features.

Golden shower tree

Cassia fistula, known as the golden shower tree and by other names, is a flowering plant in the family Fabaceae. The species is native to the Indian subcontinent and adjacent regions of Southeast Asia. It ranges from southern Pakistan eastward throughout India to Myanmar and Thailand and south to Sri Lanka. In ancient Tamil literature, it is called கொன்றை (kondrai) and is closely associated with the Mullai (forest) region of Sangam landscape. It is the national tree of Thailand, and its flower is Thailand’s national flower. It is also the state flower of Kerala in India and of immense importance amongst the Malayali population. It is a popular ornamental plant and is also used in herbal medicine.

Kerala

Kerala is the only state in India that have two Indian Electronic Tourist Visa ETV (formely known as Visa on Arrival) entry ports for tourists at Kochi & Thiruvananthapuram. The two airports have special desks for ETV passengers which can provide support to nationalities of Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Island,Chile, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Myanmar, Nauru, New Zealand,Nicaragua, Niue Island, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Republic of Macedonia, Russia, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, USA, Vanuatu, Vatican City-Holy See, Vietnam For visa extensions FFRO (Foreigners Registration Regional Office) in Kochi, Trivandrum and Kozhikode as well as District Superintendent of Police are also empowered to do any changes related to visa area. Tourist Police stations do have help desks and support facilities for foreigners who want any visa change or visa extensions.There are three airports in Kerala, with flights to domestic and international destinations: Kochi(Cochin), Kozhikode, and Thiruvananthapuram(Trivandrum). The airports have several carriers operating international flights around the world.In addition Mangalore Airport (IATA: IXE) and Coimbatore Airport (IATA: CJB) in neighboring states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu respectively offers limited connectivity to Northern and Eastern districts of Kerala respectively.There are 20 to 25 international carriers offering flights to Kerala. Apart from international carriers, Air India, Air India Express, Jet Airways and Indigo offers international connections from the 3 airports. Domestic destinations accessible by direct flights from these airports include Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Agatti, Hyderabad, Mangalore, Pune, Goa and Delhi. There are daily, and some bi-daily flights, to most Indian cities from airports in Kochi and Trivandrum by all the Indian carriers. Kochi has Air-Cruise turnaround program with chartered services.Shuttles operated by KSRTC are available from airport to its respective city core and nearby towns. Taxis are the most popular for Airport-City connection.

Indian Railways operates several trains to and from Kerala. More than 300 plus trains connect Kerala to all parts of India, including long-haul direct train services to cities like Delhi and Mumbai. Trivandrum Rajadhani, Ernakulam Durnoto, Kerala Express and Netravati Express are some of the most popular trains connect key cities across India.Log on to the Indian Railways booking site to book tickets online or you can walk up to any railway station to book tickets between any two destinations in India. Smart Phone/Tablets can view details via any apps Be aware that trains are the most popular method of transport and almost all trains in Kerala originate or terminate in Thiruvananthapuram or Kochi, and are usually heavily booked. Buy your tickets as early as possible. Another option is using Tatkal. You pay almost double, but have a chance of getting a seat. Tatkal is an emergency service, hence its booking is open just 24 hours before departure. Some travel agents have authorized booking quotas for certain trains.Recently, the luxury tourist train The Golden Chariot has introduced a South Indian Rail Tour, which includes many parts of Kerala. This is a good option for those who want to visit the South Indian states on as tight schedule. The train starts from Bangalore and covers Chennai, Pondicherry, Trichy, Madurai, Trivandrum, Alapuzha, Kochi and back to Bangalore. The 7 night/8 day package tour, costs US$3,000-7,000 depending upon the class taken.Most of the NH roads are two lane carriageways. Only NH 544 is currently 4 lane carriage with dedicated service roads. However its tolled highway. As vehicle density is very high in Kerala, accidents are common. You must be extra cautious while driving here.Kochi is a major cruise port and currently the most busiest cruise port in India. The port has International Cruise Facilitation Center and almost all major cruises that have global voyages have Kochi as port of call. All Lakshadweep bound cruises originate in Kochi and make return trips. There are also occasional tourist oriented cruises from Mumbai and Goa to Kochi
Also private yachts and other sea going boats regularly call at Kochi Marina. A few cruises call at Trivandrum.

Kerala

Cuisine

The cuisine of Kerala, a state in the south west of India, is linked to its history, geography, demography and culture. Kerala cuisine offers a multitude of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes prepared using fish, poultry and red meat with rice a typical accompaniment. Chillies, curry leaves, mustard seeds, tamarind and asafoetida are all frequently used.Kerala is known as the “Land of Spices” because it traded spices with Europe as well as with many ancient civilizations with the oldest historical records of the Sumerians from 3000 BCE.Food is traditionally served on a banana leaf and almost every dish has coconut and spices added for flavour, giving its cuisine a sharp pungency that is heightened with the use of tamarind. Seafood is the main diet in coastal Kerala, whereas vegetables are the main diet on the plains. Meat is served as the main course in tribal and northern Kerala. Dishes range from simple ‘kanji’ (rice gruel) to extravagant feasts or ‘sadyas’

Arts and Crafts

Kerala is a land of artistic people. It is almost like the natives of Kerala have art in their blood. The variety of arts and crafts in Kerala is very lively and emphasize a lot on the use of colors. You will find intricate designs and vibrant details on Kerala art and craft. In fact, handicrafts in Kerala are pretty much popular and there is a whole festival dedicated just to handicrafts.Kerala is renowned for its carvings in metal and wood like rosewood and sandalwood, metal jewellery, granite statues, coconut shell and coir products, snake boat model and other collectibles. A very famous product of handicraft is the wooden face of a Kathakali dancer that is available easily on any roadside shop. It comes in a variety of colors, sizes and shapes. Another famous and popular item for an art collector is figures and paintings of elephants.

Kerala
Kerala

Music

The ragas and talas of lyrical and devotional carnatic music — another native product of South India — dominates Keralite classical musical genres. Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma, a 19th-century king of Travancore and patron and composer of music, was instrumental in popularising carnatic music in early Kerala.Additionally, Kerala has its own native music system, sopanam, which is a lugubrious and step-by-step rendition of raga-based songs. It is Sopanam, for example, that provides the background music used in Kathakali. The wider traditional music of Kerala also includes melam (including the paandi and panchari variants), as style of percussive music performed at temple-centered festivals using an instrument known as the chenda. Up to 150 musicians may comprise the ensembles staging a given performance; each performance, in turn, may last up to four hours. Panchavadyam is a differing type of percussion ensemble consisting of five types of percussion instruments; these can be utilised by up to one hundred artists in certain major festivals.

Martial Arts and Sports

Kerala also has its own indigenous form of martial art — Kalarippayattu, derived from the words kalari (“place”, “threshing floor”, or “battlefield”) and payattu (“exercise” or “practice”). Influenced by both Kerala’s Brahminical past and Ayurvedic medicine, kalaripayattu is attributed by oral tradition to Parasurama. After some two centuries of suppression by British colonial authorities, it is now experiencing strong comeback among Keralites while also steadily gaining worldwide attention. Other popular ritual arts include theyyam and poorakkali — these originate from northern Malabar, which is the northernmost part of Kerala. Nevertheless, these have in modern times been largely supplanted by more popular sports such as cricket, kabaddi, soccer, badminton, and others. ‘Kochi Tuskers Kerala’ playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) is from Kerala. Kerala is home of the football clubs Kerala Blasters, Viva Kerala and FC Kochin.

Kerala
Kerala

Literature

Malayalam literature is ancient in origin, and includes such figures as the 14th century Niranam poets (Madhava Panikkar, Sankara Panikkar and Rama Panikkar), whose works mark the dawn of both modern Malayalam language and indigenous Keralite poetry. The Triumvirate of poets (Kavithrayam: Kumaran Asan, Vallathol Narayana Menon and Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer) are recognized for moving Keralite poetry away from archaic sophistry and metaphysics and towards a more lyrical mode. Poets like Changampuzha, Cherusseri and Edappally Raghavan Pillai also contributed to bring Malayalam poetry to the common man. Later, such contemporary writers as Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy (whose 1996 semi-autobiographical bestseller The God of Small Things is set in the Kottayam town of Ayemenem) have garnered international recognition.

Folklore

The folklore of Kerala includes elements from the traditional lifestyle of the people of Kerala. The traditional beliefs, customs,rituals etc. are reflected in the folkart and songs of Kerala. Kerala has a rich tradition of Folklore.Folklore in this region is a spontaneous expression of human behavior and thoughts. Generally speaking, Folklore could be defined as the lore of the common people who had been marginalized during the reign of feudal Kings. The Keralites have their culture and lore which were mostly part of agricultural. Sowing, planting of nharu (seedling), clearing out the weeds, harvests etc. are the different stages of agriculture which have their typical rituals. Numerous songs and performing arts are accompanied with them. Kanyar Kali, Padayani, Mudiyettu, Thirayattam, Malavayiyattam, Theyyam, Kothamooriyattam, Nira, Puthari, etc. are some of the ritual folklore of Kerala.

Kerala
Kerala

Elephants in Kerala culture

The elephants are an integral part of the culture and daily life in Kerala. These Indian elephants are given a prestigious place in the state’s culture. They are often christened names by which they’re known across the entire state. Elephants in Kerala are often referred to as the ‘sons of the sahya’ and are indispensable for temple festivals. The elephant is the state animal of Kerala and is featured on the emblem of the Government of Kerala.Sarpa Kavu (meaning Sacred Grove of the Serpent) is a typically small traditional grove of trees seen in the Kerala state of South India. These pristine groves usually have representations of several Naga Devatas (serpent gods), which were worshipped by the joint families or taravads. This was part of Nagaradhana (snake worship) which was prevalent among Keralites during past centuries. It had been practised by Ezhavas, Perumannans, Nairs, Arayas and many other tribal, non-tribal and costal communities all over the Malabar Coast in South India. snake was considered as god and the people worshipped on them for getting blessings