Kerala's the land of green magic is a narrow, fertile strip on the south-west coast of India. The state is sandwiched between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats and has golden, tranquil beaches, beautiful creeks, waterfalls, jungles, mountains and rich flora and fauna packed into it.
Kerala, the land of Kathakali, Kalaripayattu (martial art) and where the elephants stroll lazily in the hills of Munnar, is aptly described as God's Own Country.
Legend has it that Kerala was formed when the Hindu God Parasurama (the sixth avatar or incaranation of Lord Vishnu) threw a battle axe across the sea: the water receded from it fell.
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Myths not withstanding, Kerala in reality is an exhilarating land of colourful festivals, sprawling rice fields, mango, cashewnut trees and coconut palms.
People from far-off lands have been coming to Kerala since ancient times. They came in search of spices, sandalwood and ivory. Long before Vasco da Gama led the Portugese to India, the coast had been known to the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Arabs and the Chinese. Long contact with people from overseas has resulted in the blending of various cultures which gives Kerala a cosmopolitan outlook.
The present-day state of Kerala was created in 1956 from Travancore, Kochi (Cochin) and Malabar. Malabar was formerly a part of Madras State, while both Travancore and Cochin were princely states ruled by Maharajas. An early concern for public welfare gave Kerala a head start and resulted in the state being one of the most progressive, literate and highly educated of all states in India.
Although, Kerala occupies 38,664 sq km or just one per cent of total area in India, it supports almost four percent of the countries population with a density of nearly 700 persons per sq km, the highest for any state. Moreover a sizeable proportion of Keralites live abroad giving the state an international flavour.
For the visitor, Kerala offers an intriguing blend of cultures and some unusual ways of travelling around. Perhaps more than anywhere else in India, getting around can be a lot of fun, particularly on backwater trips along the coastal lagoons. It also offers some of the best and most picturesque beaches in India, the one at Kovalam, south of Thiruvananthapuram, being the most popular.
Kerala has an amenable, relaxed atmosphere making it a pleasant tourist destination.
For the tourist on the lookout for action and adventure the Kerala Tourism offers an exclusive tour package which gets you face to face with a hundred and one tuskers. The Great Elephant March - A four day safari through Kerala, that takes place every January from the 9th to th 12th. Day 1 - Trichur Jan 9 Day 2 - Cochin Jan 10 Day 3 - Alleppey Jan 11 Day 4 - Kovalam Jan 12
Information: Courtesy Government of India
Editor: Romola Butalia   (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.