Kerala - Gods Own Country

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Kerala is one of the smallest states in the Indian union. Its area 38.855 square kilometers is just 1.3 percent of the total area of India. The land of India comprises the narrow coastal strip bounded by the Western Ghats n the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. In the words of Sreedhara Menon “Its unique geographical position and peculiar physical features have invested Kerala with a distinct individuality.” Hence it has played a vital role in the commercial and cultural history of India. Kerala has been describes “as the favorite child of nature.” Like Kashmir in the north, Kerala in the south is famous for its breath-taking natural beauty. 

With its evergreen mountains, dense forests stately palms, swift flowing rivers, extensive backwaters and blue lagoons, it looks like a fairyland. This atmosphere of beauty and peace has nurtured religion and art in Kerala and enabled her to become a precious gem in the necklace of Indian culture. Indian poets of eminence have showered their praises for the abundance of its peppers, the fragrance of its sandal and the wealth of its coconuts. No part of India is so widely known or has played so important a part in world history as Kerala.


The commercial capital of Kerala and the most cosmopolitan of its cities, Cochin has long been eulogised as the 'Queen of the Arabian Sea'. This simple term does not do full justice to the city's many charms which go beyond its stunning natural beauty and long maritime history.Centuries ago, seafarers and merchants from around the world called at Cochin to trade in spices, seafood, rubber and coir. Much of their cultural influences have rubbed off on the Cochin dtyscape. The unmistakable imprints of-lhese influences are seen in many landmarks. 

The ubiquitous Chinese fishing nets dotting the shoreline and backwaters.The elegant Jewish synagogue at Mattancherry, built in 1568 by the prosperous Jewish commuinity of the time. The St. Francis Church, constructed by the Portuguese in 1503. The Santa Cruz Basilica, originally built by the Portuguese, near the church. The Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese and gifted to the Raja of Cochin in 1557, and later modified by the Dutch. The Bolgatty Palace, built in 1 744, by the Dutch and now converted into a heritage hotel. Willingdon Island, created by Sir Robert Bristow out of the material dredged for building the modern Cochin Port. The Hill Palace Museum, once the traditional seat of the Cochin Rajas, now converted into a museum complex.


The sweeping network of canals honeycombing Afappuzha has earned for it the sobriquet, 'Venice of the East'. Small, low-slung country boats are the taxis of this region.
Nowhere else in the world will you find such a fascinating network of canals and lagoons criss-crossing the centre of town, on which thatch-covered country boats punt along .at leisure. The proximity of lakes adds to the Venetian ambience.
Alappuzha is well-known for its boat races, houseboat holidays, and beaches. 

The nimble-fingered coir workers provide an interesting sidelight: soaking coconut fibre in pools of water, beating them with wooden mallets and spinning them into yarns and ropes.Close to Alappuzha is Kuttanad - the 'Rice Bowl of Kerala'. Probably the only place in the world where farming is practised two metres below sea level.The 18th century Krishnapuram Palace (47 km) with the largest mural in Kerala; the Krishna Temple at Ambalappuzha (14 km) and the Sri Nagaraja Temple at Mannarsala (32 km) are other places of interest.


12 km away from Kottayam town, Kumarakom is the most important backwater destination of Kerala, set on the banks of the Vembanad Lake. Kumarakom offers you an exciting world of water-sport experiences like windsailing and waterskating. You can even take a canoe into the lagoons and enjoy a spell of angling. A. leisurely houseboat cruise is the best way to enjoy the traditional Kerala village life. A short cruise takes you to Alumkadavu which has a long tradition of building Kerala-style houseboats (kettuvalloms).

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary:-
The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, set on 14 acres of wooded land, is a bird-watcher's paradise. The sanctuary is a favourite haunt of thousands of migratory birds from across the world, including Siberian storks, egrets, darters, golden-backed woodpeckers, night herons, kingfishers and teals. The native birds include swater fowls, cockoos, owls and water ducks.


Wooded hills and rolling plantations of tea and cardamom welcome you to Thekkady, internationally known for its geomorphology and pristine beauty. One of the world's most celebrated natural wildlife sanctuaries, this sprawling region is also known for its large tiger reserve.
The sanctuary is centred around a 24.-sq km artificial lake formed by a dam across the Periyar river.A boat ride across the lake offers the best way to view wild animals in their natural environment. 

In fact, Thekkady is the only place in India where you can watch and photograph animals at close quarters from the safety of a boat. These nomadic tribes of wildlife include elephant, the great Indian tiger, sambar, bison, spotted deer, leopard, Malabar flying squirrel, stripe-necked mongoose, bear, and wild boar. Birds like the Malabar grey hombill, grey jungle fowl and jungle myna are also found here frequently.


Perched 1600 km above sea level, Munnar was once a hostile, animal-infested forest terrain. Opened up and developed by British pioneer planters, Munnar has emerged as one of the finest hill stations in India. It was once the South Indian summer resort of the British Government.Munnar is located at the confluence of three mountain streams - Chitrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kandala. Top Station (32 km) is the highest point in the Munnar town. Mattupetty (13 km) is famous for its Indo-Swiss Lifestock Project with more than 100 varieties of high-yielding cattle.

The velvet-soft grasslands and medows at Devikulam (7 km) serve as idyllic picnic spots.The Eravikulam National Park (15 km) is in Devikulam taluk. In the southern side of the park is Anamudi. Towering 2695 metres above sea level, it is the highest peak in South India. Rajamalai (15 km) is the natural habitat of Nilgiri tahr (ibex), an endangered species of mountain goat.Marayur (40'km) is the only region in Kerala with naturally growing sandalwood forests. Marayur also has several underground caves (Muni/eras) with murals and relics from the Stone Age. The Chinnar wildlife sanctuary (60 km), spread over an area of 90 km is located on the Tamilnadu border. Most of the South Indian animals and birdlife are found here.The Kundale tea plantation, surrounding a small lake, offers stunning views. The High Range Club, charmingly colonial in style, is the haunt of the local planting community


A 1000-year old city of legends and royalty, Trivandrum is the capital of Kerala. A long shoreline with world-class beaches, a profusion of architectural landmarks, vast expanses of blue-green backwaters and a rich cultural heritage make it one of the most favoured tourist destinations. The Padmanabha Swamy temple with its graceful fusion of Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture, the Kuthiramalika (Puthenmalika) Palace Museum, Napier Museum, Sree Chithra Art Gallery and the Kanakakunnu Palace are priceless treasure-houses of period furniture, art collections and paintings.

The Zoological Park, one of the best laid out zoos in India, is set amidst gorgeous gardens, lawns and islets. The animal life here includes a large collection of reptiles. The Shanghumukham Beach and o the Veli and Akulam Tourist Villages are Kerala at its natural best. The Science and Technology Museum, Priyadarshini Planetarium, Biotechnology Museum and the Observatory are where pure tradition turns futuristic.
Kovalam: 16 km to the south of Trivandrum, Kovalam is one of the most beautiful beach resorts in the world. The three crescent-shaped coves are ideal for sunbathing, surfing, snorkelling, swimming and canoeing.
Vizhinjam: 1 7 km from Kovalam is Vizhinjam with its well-known 8th century rock-cut cave and an aquarium with the rarest species of marine life.
Thiruvallam: Thiruvallam is noted for its backwater rides and the 2000-year-old Parasurama temple.
Poovar: 18 km south of Kovalam, Poovar is located at the Neyyar estuary. It is a typical Kerala virgin countryside with a lovely beach nudging the palm-fringed Poovar river.


Guruvayoor is internationally known for its fabled Sree Krishna Temple, the fourth largest Hindu pilgrim centre in the country.Legend has it that when Lord Krishna left this world, his kingdom - Dwaraka was submerged in the ocean. Guru, Preceptor of the Gods, and Vayu, Lord of the Winds, came upon an icon of Krishna floating in the water. They saved it, brought it to Kerala, and installed it at the place where the temple now stands today. The deity is, therefore, locally known as Guruvayoorappan.

The temple has an outer enclosure (Chutfamba/amj in which is a Dhwajasthambam, a 35.5 meter high gold-"plated flag-post. There is also a 7-metre high Deepa-sfhambam (pillar of lamps) with 13 circular receptacles. When the lamps are lit, the sight turns truly spectacular.The square-shaped Srikoil houses the main deity. Within the temple premises are images of Lord Ayyappa, Ganapathy and Edathedathu Kavil Bhagavathy. At Punnathur Kotta, 4 km from the temple, the Guruvayoor Devaswom maintains nearly 50 elephants which are employed for service at the shrine.