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Destination Kerala

General Information
Area 38,863 sq km
Population 32 million
Capital Trivandrum
Language Malayalam, English
Literacy rate 100% (approximate)
Season October - March

Kerala is a narrow, fertile strip of land on the south-west coast of India. Protected by natural barriers in the east, it has evolved largely unaffected by the strife wrought by countless foreign incursions in the rest of India. Kerala is immensely blessed by nature with beautiful beaches, rivers, hills, wildlife sanctuaries; forts and palaces; monuments and memorials, shrines and festivals; and a fascinating heritage of art and culture.

According to legend, the land was a gift of Parasurama, one of the ten Avatars (incarnations) of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that Parasurama threw his battle-axe into the sea, reclaiming the landmass, Kerala.

The long stretch of its coast-line of about 575 kms with its string of many ports, has played a decisive role in shaping the history of Kerala. As far back as the 3rd century BC, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Chinese and Babylonians had trade relations with Kerala. In the early 17th century, the Dutch, the French and the English too were lured by her wealth of ivory, teak and spices like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and pepper.

Christianity, Judaism and Islam; all found their way into Kerala. In AD 52, St. Thomas the Apostle is believed to have landed here to spread the gospel of Christ. The followers of St. Thomas adhered to Syrian liturgy. But with the arrival of the Portuguese, Latin liturgy was also introduced in the churches. Protestantism was brought into Kerala by the Dutch and the British.

The state of Kerala was formed in 1956 by merging the princely states of Travancore, Cochin and Malabar (formerly part of Madras state). In 1957, Kerala became the first democratic state in the world to elect a Communist government.Now, the state has a population of 30 million - making it one of the most densely populated states in India sharing with roughly 60% Hindus, 20% Muslims and 20% Christians. It is also the most advanced state in India with the the highest literacy rate and the lowest birth rate of 24.3%.

Almost a quarter of the land area is covered by forest, with over 600 plant species. Paddy fields and coconut palms cover the plains, while up in the hills, there are plantations of arecanut, cardamom, rubber, pepper, tea and coffee.


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