Kerala is the Indian state located in the southwestern part of India. The capital of Kerala is Thiruvananthapuram. The language spoken in the state is Malayalam. The Malayalam speaking regions were formed into the state of Kerala on 1st November 1956 according to the State Reorganization Act. According to a recent survey by Transparency International, Kerala is the least corrupt state in India. It is also is the cleanest state in the country.
History of Kerala
The human inhabitation started in Kerala in 5000 B.C. and the Sumerian Records say that from 3000 B.C. the region served as the major exporter of spices. Chera dynasty was established here in 1st century B.C. with Vanchi as their capital. The southern part of Kerala was under the control of Pandya Kingdom. After Chera rule, the Kulasekhara dynasty held sway. Many other kingdoms like Rashtrakutas, Pandyas and Cholas also ruled the place for a brief time.
Portuguese were the first European settlers to establish their trade centers in Kerala and Vasco Da Gama arrived here in 1498. Then Dutch settlement started and the British East India Company took possession of the region on 20th October 1795. After the independence of India, Travancore and Cochin were merged to form a state on 1st January 1950. According to the State Reorganization Act, the state of Kerala was formed on 1st November 1956.
Geography and Climate of Kerala
Kerala spreads over an area of 38,863 square kilometers with a coastline of 590 kilometers and has Karnataka in the north and northeast, Tamil Nadu in the east and south and Arabian Sea in the west. The state has the humid equatorial tropic climate. There are three climatic zones in Kerala namely eastern highlands, western lowlands and the central midlands. Anamudi peak situated here is the highest peak of South India with an elevation of 2695 meters above mean sea level.
There are 44 rivers flowing through Kerala. Some of the important rivers are Periyar, Bharathapuzha, Pamba, Chaliyar, Kadalundipuzha and Valapattanam. Lake Vembanad is the largest water body here. The average annual rainfall of Kerala is 3107 mm. It gets heavy rains from southwest monsoon. The average temperature ranges from 19.8 degree Celsius to 36.7 degree Celsius.
Natural Resources of Kerala
The forests of Kerala occupy an area of 9400 square kilometers which is 24% of the total land area. There are 102 species of mammals, 453 species of birds, 169 species of reptiles, 89 species of amphibians, 202 species of freshwater fishes found here. Also it houses 4000 species of flowering plants and 900 species of medicinal plants.
Some of the birds and animals of Kerala are Nilgiri Tahr, Grizzled Giant Squirrel, King Cobra, Malabar Trogon, Great Hornbill, Darter, Southern Hill Myna, Bengal Tiger, Indian Leopard, etc. Some of the plant species are Sonkeling, Mullumuirkku, Cassia, wild black pepper, wild cardamom, bamboo palm, vetiver grass, etc.
Districts of Kerala
There are 14 districts in Kerala as of June 2012. Given below is the Kerala state map with all 14 districts marked.
List of Districts of Kerala
State Symbol – Sri Padmanabhaswamy Shanku
State Song – Vanji Bhoomi
State Animal – Indian Elephant
State Bird – Great Hornbill
State Tree – Coconut
State Sport – Kalaripayattu
State Dance – Kathakali, Mohiniyattam
State Flower – Golden Shower Tree
State Fish – Green Chromide
State Fruit – Jackfruit
State Costume – Mundum Neriyathum
People and Culture of Kerala
The total population of Kerala as of 2011 census is 33,387,677 with a density of 860 people per square kilometer. 96% of the people speak Malayalam. Other languages spoken here are Konkani, Tamil, Tulu, Kannada, Hindi, Mahi, etc. Kerala has the least rate of population growth in India. The sex ratio in Kerala is 1000 males for every 1084 females.
56.2% of the people of Kerala are Hindus and 24.7% are Muslims and 19% are Christians. Kerala has the highest life expectance in India and is 75 years for men and 78 years for women. The culture of Kerala is characterized by the native dances such as Koodiyattom, Kathakali, Kerala Natyam, Theyyam, Mohiniyattam, Thullal, etc.
The popular dish of Kerala cuisine is rice and curry and other dishes are idli, payasam, pulisherry, puttukadala, puzhukku, rasam and sambar. Mundu and sari are the traditional dresses.
Education and Sports of Kerala
Kerala ranks first in its literacy ratio with 93.91%. The schools are either run by government or aided by government. Some of the important educational institutions in Kerala are Kannur University, Mahatma Gandhi University, University of Calicut, Kerala Agricultural University, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Cochin University of Science and Technology, University of Kerala, Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kerala School of Astronomy and Mathematics, etc.
Kalari or Kalaripayattu is the indigenous game of Kerala. Other popular games are cricket and soccer. Many notable people from Kerala are V. P. Sathyan, Jo Paul Ancheri, Suresh Babu, Shiny Wilson, K. M. Beenamol, Anju Bobby George and Jimmy George.
Economy of Kerala
Human Development Index in Kerala is the highest in the country. From 1998 to 2005, the state has witnessed 8.93% of growth. Many people of Kerala are working in gulf countries and other countries of the world and their remittances account for more than one fifth of the total GSDP. 63.8% of the GSDP comes from service sector and 17.2% comes from the agricultural and fishing industries. Paddy, coconut, rubber, cashews and spices are the important crops. 97% of pepper and 85% of the natural rubber in India comes from Kerala.
The GSDP increased from 42,860 million rupees in 1980 to 1,025,080 million rupees in 2005. The traditional industries such as coir, handlooms and handicraft offer job for more than one million people. The availability of ilmenite, kaolin, bauxite, silica, quartz, zircon and sillimanite has made mining an activity here.
There are three major international airports in Kerala at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode. Kerala has a road length of 145,704 kilometers. The NH 47 and NH 17 passes through the state. There are three divisions of Southern Railway located here and they are Trivandrum Railway Division, Palakkad Railway Division and Madurai Railway Division. The major railway stations in the state are located at Kannur, Kozhikode, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Kottayam, Changannur, Kayamkulam, Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam.
Kerala is one of the top tourist destinations in India. According to the National Geographic Traveller Magazine, Kerala is one of the ten paradises in the world. Kerala Government Tourism Department promotes tourist activities here with the slogan, God’s Own Country. Some of the places of interest in Kerala are as follows: