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State Info / Kerala
Kerala

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Sandwiched between the Lakshwadeep Sea and the Western Ghats, Kerala is a bustling little green-and-silver, coconuts-and-water state on the west coast of India. It is bounded by Karnataka to the north, Tamil Nadu to the east, and the Arabian Sea to the west. Thiruvananthapuram is its capital.Every district in Kerala has it's own unique culture and characteristics. Thiruvananthapuram is known for it's beach- Kovalam, the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple and various museums and palaces; Alapuzha for it's backwaters, Trichur, the cultural capital, Kottayam for it's ancient churches, Kozhikode for it's old world charm and the entrancing Ponmudy or Golden valley.

History

Original inhabitants were animists, followed by the Dravidians. After Alexander's triumphant sweep over Asia Minor, the ports of Kerala became a link between the Middle East, the Mediterranean and China. In 1498, Vasco da Gama made his historic landing on the Malabar Coast. In 1723, the East India Company signed a strategic treaty with King Marthanda Varma. For a few decades, Hyder Ali and his son -Tipu sultan proved to be a thorn in the flesh of the British, sweeping down several times into Kerala. In 1947, it was the turn of the British to pack their bags.

The People

Kerala also has considerable ethnic diversity. The Malayali majority belong to the Dravidian group (local race) of early Indian peoples. There is a small population of descendants of Indo-European migrants from the north. Certain hill tribes exhibit affinities with the Negrito peoples of Southeast Asia. Most Keralites are Hindus, but there are also large Christian and Islamic, and lesser Jain and Jewish, minorities. The official language is Malayalam. A long contact with the outside world has led to an intriguing blend of cultures and given Keralites a cosmopolitan outlook.

Culture

One aspect of the state's rich cultural heritage is manifest in its varieties of religious architecture: ancient Hindu temples with copper-clad roofs, later Islamic mosques with """"Malabar gables,"""" and colonial Portuguese Baroque churches. Splendid paintings, especially murals, exhibit distinct local traditions and styles. The land is a flourishing center of the Kathakali dance form. The state has also a rich theatre tradition: the only surviving Sanskrit drama, kudiyattam, is still performed by the Cakkayars of Kerala. Some principles of the Natya-shastra are evident in their presentations.

Occupation

griculture is the state's main economic activity. Plantations of cardamom, cashew nut, coconuts, coffee, ginger, pepper, rubber, and tea account for 40 percent of the total land. Commercial poultry farming is well developed. Cottage industries--for example, the processing of coconut fibre and cashews or weaving--employ about three-fifths of Kerala's industrial workers. Most of those employed by larger industrial enterprises are engaged in food and textile processing.

CLIMATE
The climate is equable and varies little from season to season. The temp- erature normally ranges between 27 and 32 C in the plains but drops to about 21 C in the highlands. Winter - 32 to 20 C. Kerala is strongly buffeted by both the southwest and northeast monsoons. Rainfall in many parts of the state exceeds 118 inches.

Population

33 million

The Best season is from October to March.

Area ('000 sq. km): 39

Females per 1000 males (1991): 1,036

Literacy rate (1991): 89.8

Ratio of urban population (1991): 26.4

Net Domestic Product(Rs. million at current prices in 1992-93): 15,082

Per Capita Income(Rs. at current prices in 1992-93): 5,065

Transport : State transport bus, private bus, tourist taxi, regular taxi, auto rickshaw, private vehicles,ferry services. The State is linked with railways.

Language Spoken : Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, English.

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