With the Arabian Sea in the west, the Western Ghats towering 500-2700 ms in the east and networked by 44 rivers, Kerala enjoys unique geographical features that have made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Asia. An equable climate. A long shoreline with serene beaches. Tranquil stretches of emerald backwaters. Lush hill stations and exotic wildlife. Waterfalls. Sprawling plantations and paddy fields. Ayurvedic health holidays. Enchanting art forms. Magical festivals. Historic and cultural monuments. An exotic cuisine… All of which offer you a unique experience. And what’s more, each of these charming destinations is only a two hour drive from the other. A singular advantage no other destination offers.
Kerala, India’s most advanced society: With hundred percent literacy. World-class health care systems. India’s lowest infant mortality and highest life expectancy rates. The highest physical quality of life in India. Peaceful and pristine, Kerala is also India’s cleanest state.
Kerala is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the world. The main tourist attractions of Kerala include the hill station of Munnar, backwaters of Kumarakom along with its house boat cruises, beaches of Kovalam, wildlife sanctuaries etc… The Kerala Tourism Map given here is a guide to tourist places in Kerala. Know the location of various tourist destinations of Kerala using this Tourism Map of Kerala.
Kerala, a state situated on the tropical Malabar Coast of southwestern India, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Named as one of the ten paradises of the world by the National Geographic Traveler, Kerala is famous especially for its ecotourism initiatives. Its unique culture and traditions, coupled with its varied demography, has made Kerala one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Growing at a rate of 13.31%, the tourism industry is a major contributor to the state’s economy.
Until the early 1980s, Kerala was a relatively unknown destination, with most tourism circuits concentrated around the north of the country. Aggressive marketing campaigns launched by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation—the government agency that oversees tourism prospects of the state—laid the foundation for the growth of the tourism industry. In the decades that followed, Kerala Tourism was able to transform itself into one of the niche holiday destinations in India. The tag line Kerala- God’s Own Country was adopted in its tourism promotions and became a global superbrand. Kerala is regarded as one of the destinations with the highest brand recall. In 2010, Kerala attracted 0.66 million foreign tourist arrivals.
Kerala is an established tourist destination for both Indians and non-Indians alike. Kerala is popular for her beaches, backwaters, mountain ranges and wildlife sanctuaries. The city of Kochi ranks first in the total number of international and domestic tourists in Kerala. Other popular attractions in the state include the beaches at Kovalam, Cherai and Varkala; backwater tourism and lake resorts around Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom and Alapuzha; hill stations and resorts at Munnar, Wayanad, Nelliampathi, Vagamon and Ponmudi; and national parks and wildlife sanctuaries at Periyar and Eravikulam National Park. The “backwaters” region—an extensive network of interlocking rivers, lakes, and canals that centre on Alleppey, Kumarakom, and Punnamada—also see heavy tourist traffic. Heritage sites, such as the Padmanabhapuram Palace, Hill Palace, Mattancherry Palace are also visited. To further promote tourism in Kerala Grand Kerala Shopping Festival was started by the Government of Kerala in 2007. Since then it has been held every year during the December-January period. The city of Kochi ranks first in the total number of international and domestic tourist arrivals in Kerala.
The state’s tourism agenda promotes ecologically sustained tourism, which focuses on the local culture, wilderness adventures, volunteering and personal growth of the local population. Efforts are taken to minimise the adverse effects of traditional tourism on the natural environment, and enhance the cultural integrity of local people.
The state experiences a moderate tropical climate that varies little throughout the year. The maximum temperature usually varies between 27°C to 35°C in the plains and comes down to 20° C in the high-ranges. The state experiences summer season during the months of March to May, with the maximum temperature hovering around the range of 35°C. This season is also characterized by erratic ‘mango showers' accompanied with lightening and thunder. The winter season starts from the month of November and extends till February. The temperatures vary between 30°C and 22°C during this period. The High-Ranges experience a cold climate with temperatures falling below 10°C during winter. Kerala experiences both South-West monsoon and North-East Monsoon. The South-West monsoon in India starts in June with the monsoon clouds hitting the coastal areas of Kerala. The state receives the highest amount of rainfall during this period which extends till the end of September. North-East monsoon, characterized by heavy evening showers accompanied with thunder and lightening, prevails between the months of October to November,
Ayurveda – harmony of body, mind and soul
Sprouted in the pristine land of India some 5000 years ago, Ayurveda, the science of life and longevity, is the oldest healthcare system in the world and it combines the profound thoughts of medicine and philosophy. Since then Ayurveda has stood for the wholesome physical, mental and spiritual growth of humanity around the world. Today, it’s a unique, indispensable branch of medicine, a complete naturalistic system that depends on the diagnosis of your body’s humours – vata, pitta and kapha – to achieve the right balance.
Kerala, the Land of Ayurveda
Kerala possesses an unbroken tradition of Ayurveda that has surpassed the many invasions and intrusions both foreign and native. For hundreds of years the Ayurveda Vaidyas (practitioners of Ayurveda) were almost the only access for people seeking healing from every kind of disease in Kerala. The legendary eight families of Vaidyas (Ashta vaidyas) and their successors treated the entire state for centuries. Unlike the other Indian states the status of Ayurveda in Kerala is not alternative but mainstream. In fact, today, Kerala is the only State in India which practices this system of medicine with absolute dedication.
Being the only resort of treatment for the people, the Vaidyars of Kerala were challenged to interpret the theories of Ayurveda and adapt them actively into effective healing systems in everyday life. Thus almost all the contemporary procedures and protocols of Ayurveda have evolved in and around Kerala.
The Boons of Nature
Its equable climate, natural abundance of forests and the cool monsoon season are best suited for Ayurveda’s curative and restorative packages. Kerala is perhaps one of the few places on earth where a temperature of 24-28 degrees is maintained during a period of continuous rain. This prevalence of moisture in the air and on the surface of the skin makes it the ideal place for natural medicines to work at their highest levels of potency. The land is also blessed with innumerous medicinal plants and provides the continuity and consistency of Ayurveda medicines needed for effective treatment procedures. The same herbs with the same potency are available year after year across every season. The rich alkaloid content of the soil enhances the intensity and potency of many Ayurvedic medicines when compared to places with different soil constitution.
The Advantages of Ayurveda in Kerala
Ashtangahridayam, the practical, user friendly interpretation of Ayurveda, compiled by the great Vagbata is seldom used anywhere in the world as it is extensively done in Kerala. The Vaidyars of Kerala are proficient in this most contemporary treatise of Ayurveda which many scholars consider an advancement over the earlier samhitas of Charaka and Sushruta, the pioneers of Ayurveda. It is in Kerala that Kashaya Chikitsa (treatment with concoction) has become a standardised protocol involving hundreds of Kashayams that were scientifically classified and organised according to various treatment needs. Keralite Vaidyars where the first to focus on the anti oxidant properties of Abayangam leading to the profusion of kizhis. The largest number of Ayurveda colleges and the largest number of practitioners in comparison to any place in the world has led to a tradition of Ayurveda research in a scientific manner in Kerala.
Ayurveda as a lifestyle
In Kerala Ayurveda is not just a healthcare system but it is a part and parcel of every aspect of life, in fact it is a lifestyle in Kerala so to speak. The miracles like paralysed people walk, incurable diseases cured etc. that happen even today inspires respect and awe for the vaidyars of Kerala.
A typical Kerala feast, referred to as sadya, is spread out temptingly on a clean green banana leaf. And the food is to be eaten with the fingers. Even the dessert, payasam, that tastes like rice pudding, is served on the leafy plate.
The culinary efforts of the different communities of Kerala come out in distinctly different dishes of great variety. While Hindus specialise in delicious vegetarian food such as sambar, rasam, olan, kaalan, pachadi, kichadi, aviyal, thoran and so on.
The Muslims and Christians excel in non vegetarian cuisine. The pathiri, a sort of pancake made of rice flour, and biriyani which is a mouthwatering dish of rice cooked along with meat, onions, chillies and other spices are Muslim culinary delights. Christians have interesting recipes to make an array of fish dishes such as meen pollichathu, fish molee and so on. Christian cookery specially caters to people with a sweet tooth – crunchy kozhalappam, achappam, cheeda, churuttu etc.
A typical Kerala breakfast may be puttu, which is rice powder and grated coconut steam cooked together, idli and sambar, dosai and chutney, idiappam (string hoppers), or the most delicious of them all, the appam. Appam is a kind of pan cake made of rice flour fermented with a small amount of toddy (fermented sap of the coconut palm) which is circular in shape, rather like a flying saucer, edged with a crisp lacy frill. It is eaten with chicken or vegetable stew. Kanji (rice gruel) and payaru (green gram), kappa (casava) and fish curry are traditional favourites of Keralites.
Almost every dish prepared in Kerala has coconut and spices added to it – spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric etc. Spices are used in Kerala to tone up the system the way wines aid the digestion of western cuisine. The juice of tender coconut – ‘world's safest natural soft drink' – is a refreshing nutritious thirst quencher. The staple food of the masses is rice. Kerala cuisine also has a medley of pickles and chutneys. And the crunchy papadams, banana chips and jack chips can give french fries a run for their money any day.
[wptab name=’Culture and Festivals’]
To the South West extreme of India, lies a land, rich in every aspect imaginable; lush green, fertile land crisscrossed by seething rivers; beaches- stunningly beautiful where the waves seem to well up and kiss the golden sands; backwaters and marshlands where the flora seems to have tamed the Ocean itself; and above all a race of people, who seem to have mastered the essence of civilization. Rich in culture, cuisine and, capabilities, excelling in education, sports and unique martial arts, yes, this is the blessed land of Kerala indeed. Maps of India brings you complete information on the people, culture and Festival of Kerala-
People of Kerala: An amazing race of people, following a unique lifestyle-the perfect blend of traditional, time-honored practices and progressive, innovative trends.
Kerala Food: A delectable cuisine, unique to the region which involves the locally available ingredients such as coconuts, seafood, rice etc.
Performing Arts: An interesting combination of dance, music, theater and mythology. Apart from the famous folk dances viz. Kathakali, Koothu and Mohiniyattom, a tradition of ritual arts are such as Theyyam, Kummattikkali and Mudiyettu has also been kept alive
Kerala Music: Like the rest of South India, Kerala’s classical music is essentially Carnatic, raag – taal based music. It is also famed for Sopanam. Music is an integral part of the every day life. There are the traditional folk songs for occasions such as marriages and childbirth and also the devotional songs such as Ayyappanpattu and Maripattu. A number of musical instruments including wind and string instruments, percussions are played and practiced in Kerala.
Kerala Painting: Other than the unique art of body painting for specific dance forms such as Kathakali, Kerala has a rich style of oil paintings. While the state identifies with the rest of India in its use of henna to paint parts of the body such as hands and feet, Kerala has also its singular art forms of floor drawings and paintings (Kalamezhuthu).
Kerala Handicrafts: Among the variety of handicrafts produced in Kerala, the more renowned are sandalwood items, woodcraft, handlooms and metal work (especially brass and copper).
Kerala Martial Arts and Sports: Sports and Martial Arts take prime importance in the life of a Malayali. Not only are sport competitions (such as rowing competitions) part of the Festival customs, there is, in Kerala, a tradition of martial arts training. Many of these are holistic physical development systems and are tauht in combination with ayurveda, accupressure, herbalism etc.
Malayalam Literature: Though the origins of are generally traced to Tamil, due to its affinity to the classical language, Malayalam has evolved and is a vast ocean as it stands today. The prose, poetry and plays are appreciated by critics worldwide.
Malayalam Calendar (Kollavarsham): The Malayalis use a calendar called the Kollavarsham in which the year starts from Onam in mid September.
Festivals of Kerala: Kerala is the land of high festivities and cheer. A number of Festival like Onam, Vishu and Thiruvathirai are celebrated. They are usually marked by family get together, cheer and festivity.
Kerala Matrimony: Marriage in Kerala is usually arranged by one’s family. Inter caste marriage is the common practice with marriage rituals specific to each community.
Kerala Movies: Malayalam movies started in 1928, when the 1st silent movie was released in Kerala. Since then Malayalam movies have come a long way and the cinema industry is now a flourishing business with Malayali movies competing on an international level.
Kerala News: In keeping with the rest of the world, Kerala has a number of newspapers in both Malayali and English. With the advent of technology a number of websites have come up which report global news in both languages.
Kerala Newspapers:Newspapers are the larges source of news in any part of the country. The people of Kerala too subscribe to some of newspaper or other. Now these papers may be regional i.e. printed in Kerala itself or some of the leading national dailies. Kerala newspapers are either English newspapers or Malayalam Newspapers.
Some of the key crops of Kerala are coconut, tea, coffee, rubber, cashew, cardamom, pepper and cinnamon. Its service sector is booming with financial companies, real estate agencies, mortgage companies, consultancy services, insurance companies and tourism industry. Kerala is quite advanced in terms of Human Development Index and life standard.
Kerala has become one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the country as well as abroad. It is famous for its rivers, backwaters and endless beaches. Besides, ayurveda, unani and naturopathy have also become quite popular among national as well as international tourists.
Popularly known as God’s own country, kerala offers a lot of tourist destinations. Some of the famous tourist spots are Alleppey, Kochi, Munnar, Palakkad, Varkala and Kozhikode. – See more at: http://www.mapsofindia.com/maps/kerala/people-culture-and-festivals/#sthash.MhBYcVQA.dpuf