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.
The history of Kerala, India, dates back more than several millennia. Stone age carvings in the Edakkal Caves feature pictorial writings believed to date to at least the Neolithic era around 5,000 BC, indicating the presence of a prehistoric civilization or settlement in this region. From as early as 3000 BC, Kerala had established itself as a major spice trade Centre. Kerala had direct contact across the Arabian Sea with all the major Mediterranean and Red Sea ports as well those of the Far East. The spice trade between Kerala and much of the world was one of the main drivers of the world economy. For much of history, ports in Kerala were the busiest (Muziris) among all trade and travel routes in the history of the world.
The word Keralam is first recorded (as Keralaputra) in a 3rd-century BCE rock inscription left by the Maurya emperor Ashoka (274–237 BCE). The Land of Keralaputra was one of the five independent kingdoms in southern India during Ashoka's time, the others being Chola, Pandya, Tamiraparani and Satiyaputra. The Cheras collapsed after repeated attacks from the neighboring Chola Empire and Rashtrakuta Empire. In the 8th century, Adi Shankara(Brahmin) was born in central Kerala. He travelled extensively across the Indian subcontinent establishing institutions of Advaita Vedanta philosophy. Kerala was a pure dravidian land before the arrival of aryans (Brahmins) from north, they altered history of keralam. Keralam was part of Tamilikam during sangam period. Todays Tamil Nadu and Kerala formed the core of dravidian home land.
Contact with Europeans after the arrival of Vasco Da Gama in 1498 gave rise to struggles between colonial and native interests. By 1795, the area was under British dominion. After independence, the state of Keralam was created in 1956 from the former state of Travancore-Cochin, the Malabar district of Madras State, and the Kasaragod taluk of Dakshina Kannada.
Kerala in Hindu mythology.
Many of the myth stories were created by brahmins to give keralam a aryan identity but keralam had a pure dravidian culture and was within dravidian cultural sphere. Identity of Keralam lies within the tamizh cultural sphere. Malayalam is a dialect of tamizh language. Modern Malayalam have incorporated sanskrit word also. But sanskrit word cannot be a malayalam word as it is sanskrit.
Perhaps, the most famous festival of Kerala, Onam is deeply rooted in Hindu traditions. Onam is associated with the legendary Asura king Mahabali, who according to the Hindu Puranas, ruled the Earth and several other planetary systems from Kerala. His entire kingdom was then a land of immense prosperity and happiness. However, he was granted rule over one of the netherworld (Patala) planets called Sutala, by Vamana, the fifth Avatar (earthly incarnation) of Lord Vishnu, according to the Hindu mythology. Mahabali was a dravidian King.It is also believed by modern historians that Mahabali was a ruler of present Gujarat region. Also Onam is celebrated in Kerala with respect to Maveli thampuran of Mavelikkara and Thrikarkarayappan.
The oldest of all the Puranas, the Matsya Purana, sets the story of the Matsya Avatar (fish incarnation) of Lord Vishnu, in the Malaya Mountains, which lie in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The earliest Sanskrit text to mention Kerala by name is the Aitareya Aranyaka of the Rigveda. It is also mentioned in both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata which are the two great and most famous existing Hindu epics.
Parasurama, surrounded by settlers, commanding Varuna to part the seas and reveal Kerala.
There are myths dealing with the origins of Kerala geographically and culturally. One such myth is the retrieval of Kerala from the sea, by Parasurama, a warrior sage. The Brahminical myth proclaims that Parasurama, an Avatar of Mahavishnu, threw his battle axe into the sea. As a result, the land of Kerala arose, and thus was reclaimed from the waters.
He was the sixth of the ten avatars (incarnation) of Vishnu. The word Parasu means 'axe' in Sanskrit and therefore the name Parasurama means 'Ram with Axe'. The aim of his birth was to deliver the world from the arrogant oppression of the ruling caste, the Kshatriyas. He killed all the male Kshatriyas on earth and filled five lakes with their blood. After destroying the Kshatriya kings, he approached assembly of learned men to find a way of penitence for his sins. He was advised that, to save his soul from damnation, he must hand over the lands he had conquered to the Brahmins. He did as they advised and sat in meditation at Gokarnam. There, Varuna - the God of the Oceans and Bhumidevi - Goddess of Earth blessed him. From Gokarnam he reached Kanyakumari and threw his axe northward across the ocean. The place where the axe landed was Kerala. It was 160 katam (an old measure) of land lying between Gokarnam and Kanyakumari. Puranas say that it was Parasurama who planted the 64 Brahmin families in Kerala, whom he brought down from the north in order to expiate his slaughter of the Kshatriyas. According to the puranas, Kerala is also known as Parasurama Kshetram, i.e., 'The Land of Parasurama', as the land was reclaimed from sea by him.
One legend of Kerala even makes Parasurama a Pandya ruler. In another legend, the Pandyas themselves are the manifestations of Parasurama. P.N. Chopra writes, "Parasurama is deemed by the Keralites as the father of their national identity." The Kollam Era is also known as "Parashurama-Sacam". Travancore Rajas claim descent from Chera King Bhanu Bikram, who according to legend was placed on the throne by Parashurama. Scholar K. Narayanan Shivaraja Pillai mentions, "Even as the West Coast owes its very rudiments of civilised life to Parashurama...". In the Keralolpathi, Parashurama is said to have selected goddess Durgga (Kali) to be the guardian of the sea-shore of Kerala. Tradition says that Parashurama minted gold coins called Rasi and he sowed them and buried the surplus in Cairns.
However, the Parasurama legend is possibly a Brahmin appropriation of an earlier Chera legend where a Chera King, Velkezhu Kuttavan, otherwise known a Senguttuvan flings his spear into the sea to reclaim land from it. According to this legend, Chera king Senguttuvan Chera, once enraged, threw a spear into the sea, thereby causing it to retreat and the land to dry. According to another legend, a Pandyan king called "Vadimbalamba ninrapandyan" threw his spear into the sea, hereby causing the same effect. There is another story of Ukkira Pandiyan obtaining a spear from the Siva of Madura, and throwing it into the sea, causing the shore to retreat.
A dolmen erected by Neolithic people in Marayur.
Archaeological studies have identified many Mesolithic, Neolithic and Megalithic sites in Kerala. These findings have been classified into Laterite rock-cut caves (Chenkallara), Hood stones (Kudakkallu), Hat stones (Toppikallu), Dolmenoid cists (Kalvrtham), Urn burials (Nannangadi) and Menhirs (Pulachikallu). The studies point to the indigenous development of the ancient Kerala society and its culture beginning from the Paleolithic age, and its continuity through Mesolithic, Neolithic and Megalithic ages. However, foreign cultural contacts have assisted this cultural formation. The studies suggest possible relationship with Indus Valley Civilization during the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age.
Archaeological findings include dolmens of the Neolithic era in the Marayur area. They are locally known as "muniyara", derived from muni (hermit or sage) and ara (dolmen). Rock engravings in the Edakkal Caves in Wayanad are thought to date from the early to late Neolithic eras around 5000 BCE. Historian M.R. Raghava Varier of the Kerala state archaeology department identified a sign of “a man with jar cup” in the engravings, which is the most distinct motif of the Indus valley civilisation.
C. 3000-1000 BCE
Kerala was a major spice exporter as early as 3000 BCE, according to Sumerian records. Its fame as the land of spices attracted ancient Babylonians, Assyrians and Egyptians to the Malabar Coast in the 3r and 2nd millennia BCE. Arabs and Phoenicians were also successful in establishing their prominence in the Kerala trade during this early period.
Muziris in the Tabula Peutingeriana, an itinerarium showing the road network in the Roman Empire.
Ilango Adigal, author of Silappatikaram
Ancient sources (c. 1000 BCE-100 CE)
The Sangam works Pu?ana?u?u and Akana?u?u have many lines which speak of the Roman vessels and the Roman gold that used to come to the Kerala ports of the great Dravidian kings in search of pepper and other spices, which had enormous demand in the West. Especially, one of the earliest surviving pieces of literature to have been composed in ancient Kerala, the pathiRRuppathu is an important source that describes the dynasties of Kerala kings (cheral kings) from the early centuries AD.
An important source to understand the ancient history of Kerala is the pathinEnmERkanakku. Collections of poems like Purananuru, Akananuru, Silappathikaram and Manimekhalai by poets like Paramer, Kapilar, Gautamanar, mamulanar, and Avvaiyar. The Sangam poems were secular. The poems give us information about the Chera kings like Utiyam, Neducheralathan and Chenkuttawan. Their capital was vanchi (muziris), which was an important trading centre with Roman.
A 3rd-century-BC rock inscription by emperor Ashoka the Great references Kerala as Keralaputra. Sanskrit scholars of ancient India, Katyayana (circa 4th century BC) and Patanjali (circa 2nd century BC), exhibited in their writings a casual familiarity with Kerala's geography.
Megasthanes, the Greek Ambassador to the court of Emperor Chandragupta Maurya (4th Century BC) mentions in his work Indica on many South Indian States, including Automela (probably Muziris), and a Pandian trade centre. Ancient Roman Natural philosopher Pliny the Elder mentions in his Naturalis Historia (N.H. 6.26) Muziris in Kerala as India's first port of importance. According to him, Muziris could be reached in 40 days' time from the Red sea ports in Egyptian coast purely depending on the South West Monsoon winds. Later, the unknown author of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea notes that "both Muziris and Nelcynda are now busy places".
Ancient dynasties (c. 500 Bc - 500 CE)
The Land of Keralaputra was one of the five independent Tamil kingdoms in southern India during Ashoka's time, the others being Chola, Pandya, Tamiraparani and Satiyaputra. Scholars hold that Keralaputra is an alternate name of the Cheras, the first powerful dynasty based in Kerala. While the Cheras ruled the major part of modern Kerala, its southern tip was in the kingdom of Pandyas, which had a trading port sometimes identified in ancient Western sources as Nelcynda (or Neacyndi). At later times the region fell under the control of the Pandyas, Cheras, and Cholas. Ays and Mushikas were two other remarkable dynasties of ancient Kerala, whose kingdoms lied to the south and north of Cheras respectively.
The Cheras ruled western Malabar Coast, the Cholas ruled in the eastern Coromandel Coast and the Pandyas in the south-central peninsula. There were also numerous small vassal kingdoms and city-states called "Vels". The Chera kingdom consisted of major part of modern Kerala, and Coimbatore and Salem districts of modern Tamil Nadu. Old Tamil was the language of the region; Malayalam, the language of present day Kerala was developed due to geographical isolation, cultural difference and trade between the Arabs, Sumerians, Romans, and Portuguese. Their capital was at Vanchi (also known as Vanchimutur). The location of the historical city Vanchi is generally considered near the ancient port city of Muziris in Kerala. However, Karur in Tamil Nadu is also pointed out as the location of the capital city of Cheras. Another view suggests the reign of Cheras from multiple capitals.
There were harbours of Naura near Kannur, Tyndis near Koyilandy, and Bacare near Alappuzha which were also trading with Rome and Palakkad pass (churam) facilitated migration and trade. The contact with Romans might have given rise to small colonies of Jews and Syrian Christians in the chief harbour towns of Kerala. The Jews of Kochi believe that their ancestors came to the west coast of India as refugees following the destruction of Jerusalem in the first century AD. Saint Thomas Christians claim to be the descendants of the converts of Saint Thomas the Apostle of Jesus Christ. The tribal society was slowly moving towards civilisation.
Ancient religions and ethnic groups
Buddhism and Jainism reached Kerala in this early period. As in other parts of Ancient India, Buddhism and Jainism co-existed with early Vaishnavism and Shaivite beliefs during the first five centuries.
Merchants from West Asia and Southern Europe established coastal posts and settlements in Kerala. Jewish connection with Kerala started as early as 573 BCE. Arabs also had trade links with Kerala, possibly started before the 4th century BCE, as Herodotus (484–413 BCE) noted that goods brought by Arabs from Kerala were sold to the Jews at Eden. In the 4th century, some Christians also immigrated from Persia and joined the early Syrian Christian community who trace their origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. Mappila was an honorific title that had been assigned to respected visitors from abroad; and Jewish, Syrian Christian, and Muslim immigration might account for later names of the respective communities: Juda Mappilas, Nasrani Mappilas, and Muslim Mappilas. According to the legends of these communities, the earliest Christian churches, mosque, and synagogue(1568 CE) in India were built in Kerala. The combined number of Jews, Christians, and Muslims was relatively small at this early stage. They co-existed harmoniously with each other and with local Hindu society, aided by the commercial benefit from such association.
A silent revolution was taking place in the social system of Kerala during the last phase of Sangam Age. Towards the end of Sangam age, Brahmins started coming to Kerala. By about the 8th century, a chain of Brahmin settlements had come up, which eventually paved the way for the social, cultural and political separation of Kerala from the Tamil country, in due course. A large number of the settlements were in Central Kerala. The process of Brahminisation or Sanskritisation began. Temples were constructed, Nambudiri community was evolved. Adi Shankara the exponent of Advaita (monistic) philosophy lived in the 8th century AD. The whole of Kerala came to be covered by a network of Hindu temple centered Brahmin settlements. Under their control, these settlements had a large extend of land, number of tenants and the entailing privileges. With more advanced techniques of cultivation, sociopolitical organisation and a strong sense of solidarity, the Brahmins gradually formed the elite of the society. They succeeded in raising a feudal fighting class and ordered the caste system with numerous graduations of upper, intermediate and lower classes.
Early medieval period (c. 500-1400 CE)
Much of history of the region from the 6th to the 8th century is obscure. A Second Chera Kingdom ( c. 800–1102), also known as Kulasekhara dynasty of Mahodayapuram, was established by Kulasekhara Varman, which at its zenith ruled over a territory comprising the whole of modern Kerala and a smaller part of modern Tamil Nadu. During the early part of Kulasekara period, the southern region from Nagercoil to Thiruvalla was ruled by Ay kings, who lost their power in 10th century and thus the region became a part of theKulasekara empire. During Kulasekhara rule, Kerala witnessed a flourishing period of art, literatute, trade and the Bhakti movement of Hinduism. A Keralite identity, distinct from the Tamils, became linguistically separate during this period. For the local administration, the empire was divided into provinces under the rule of Nair Chieftains known as Naduvazhis, with each province comprising a number of Desams under the control of chieftains, called as Desavazhis.
The inhibitions, caused by a series of Chera-Chola wars in the 11th century, resulted in the decline of foreign trade in Kerala ports. Buddhism and Jainism disappeared from the land. The social system became fractured with internal divisions on the lines of caste. Finally, the Kulasekhara dynasty was subjugated in 1102 by the combined attack ofLater Pandyas and Later Cholas. However, in the 14th century, Ravi Varma Kulashekhara (1299-1314) of the southern Venad kingdom was able to establish a short-lived supremacy over southern India. After his death, in the absence of a strong central power, the state was fractured into about thirty small warring principalities under Nair Chieftains; most powerful of them were the kingdom of Samuthiri in the north, Venad in the south and Kochi in the middle.
Rise of Advaita
Adi Shankara (789 CE), one of the greatest Indian philosopher, born in Kaladi in Kerala who consolidated the doctrine of advaita vedanta. Shankara travelled across the Indian subcontinent to propagate his philosophy through discourses and debates with other thinkers. He is reputed to have founded four mathas ("monasteries"), which helped in the historical development, revival and spread of Advaita Vedanta of which he is known as the greatest revivalist. Adi Shankara is believed to be the organiser of the Dashanami monastic order and the founder of the Shanmatatradition of worship.
His works in Sanskrit concern themselves with establishing the doctrine of advaita (nondualism). He also established the importance of monastic life as sanctioned in the Upanishads and Brahma Sutra, in a time when the Mimamsa school established strict ritualism and ridiculed monasticism. Shankara represented his works as elaborating on ideas found in the Upanishads, and he wrote copious commentaries on the Vedic canon (Brahma Sutra, principal upanishads and Bhagavad Gita) in support of his thesis. The main opponent in his work is the Mimamsa school of thought, though he also offers arguments against the views of some other schools like Samkhya and certain schools of Buddhism.
Kingdom of Venad
Venad was a kingdom in the south west tip of Kerala, which acted as a buffer between Cheras and Pandyas. Until the end of the 11th century, it was a small principality in the Ay Kingdom. The Ays were the earliest ruling dynasty in southern Kerala, who, at their zenith, ruled over a region from Nagercoil in the south to Thiruvalla in the north. Their capital was at Kollam. A series of attacks by the Pandyas between the 7th and 8th centuries caused the decline of Ays although the dynasty remained powerful until the beginning of the 10th century. When Ay power diminished, Venad became the southern most principality of the Second Chera Kingdom Invasion of Cholas into Venad caused the destruction of Kollam in 1096. However, the Chera capital, Mahodayapuram, also fell in the subsequent Chola attack, which compelled the Chera king, Rama varma Kulasekara, to shift his capital to Kollam. Thus, Rama Varma Kulasekara, the last emperor of Chera dynasty, is probably the founder of the Venad royal house, and the title of Chera kings, Kulasekara, was thenceforth adopted by the rulers of Venad. The end of Second Chera dynasty in the 12th century marks the independence of the Venad. The Venadu King then also was known as Venadu Mooppil Nayar.
In the second half of the 12th century, two branches of the Ay Dynasty: Thrippappur and Chirava, merged into the Venad family and established the tradition of designating the ruler of Venad as Chirava Moopan and the heir-apparent as Thrippappur Moopan. While Chrirava Moopan had his residence at Kollam, the Thrippappur Moopan resided at his palace in Thrippappur, 9 miles (14 km) north of Thiruvananthapuram, and was vested with the authority over the temples of Venad kingdom, especially the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple. The most powerful kingdom of Kerala during the colonial period, Travancore, was developed through the expansion of Venad by Mahahrajah Marthanda Varma, a member of the Thrippappur branch of the Ay Dynasty who ascended to the throne in the 18th century.
Kingdom of Calicut
Historical records regarding the origin of the Zamorins of Calicut is obscure. However, its generally agreed that the Zamorins were originally the rulers of Eralnadu region of the Later Chera Kingdom and were known as the Eradis. Eralnadu province was situated in the northern parts of present day Malappuram district and was landlocked by the Valluvanad and Polanadu in the west. Legends such as The Origin of Kerala tell the establishment of a local ruling family at Nediyiruppu, near present-day Kondotty by two young brothers belonging to the Eradi clan. The brothers, Manikkan and Vikraman were the most trusted generals in the army of the Cheras. M.G.S. Narayanan, a Kerala-based historian, in his book, Calicut: The City of Truth states that the Eradi was a favourite of the last Later Chera king and granted him, as a mark of favor, a small tract of land on the sea-coast in addition to his hereditary possessions (Eralnadu province). Eradis subsequently moved their capital to the coastal marshy lands and established the kingdom of Calicut. They later assumed the title of Samudrathiri ("one who has the sea for his border") and continued to rule from Calicut.
Samuthiri allied with Muslim Arab and Chinese merchants and used most of the wealth from Calicut to develop his military power. They became the most powerful king in the Malayalam speaking regions during the Middle Ages. In the 14th century, Calicut conquered large parts of central Kerala, which was under the control of the king of Kingdom of Cochin. He was forced to shift his capital (c. 1405 AD) further south. In the 15th century, Cochin was reduced in to a vassal state of Calicut.
Vasco da Gama landing in Kerala
Dutch commander De Lannoy surrenders to Marthanda Varma at the Battle of Colachel (1741). Depiction at Padmanabhapuram Palace.
Captured Mappila prisoners of 1921 revolt, taken after a battle with British troops.
The maritime spice trade monopoly in the Indian Ocean remained with Arabs during the high and late medieval periods. However, the dominance of Middle East traders was challenged in the European Age of Discovery during which the spice trade, particularly in black pepper, became an influential activity for European traders. Around the 15th century, the Portuguese began to dominate the eastern shipping trade in general, and the spice-trade in particular, culminating in Vasco Da Gama's arrival in Kappad Kozhikode in 1498.
The Zamorin of Calicut permitted the Portuguese to trade with his subjects. Their trade in Calicut prospered with the establishment of a factory and fort in his territory. However, Portuguese attacks on Arab properties in his jurisdiction provoked the Zamorin and finally led to conflict. The Portuguese took advantage of the rivalry between the Zamorin and Rajah of Cochin—they allied with Cochin and when Francisco de Almeida was appointed Viceroy of Portuguese India in 1505, he established his headquarters at Cochin. During his reign, the Portuguese managed to dominate relations with Cochin and established a number of fortresses along the Malabar Coast. Nonetheless, the Portuguese suffered severe setbacks due to attacks by the Zamorin's forces, especially naval attacks under the leadership of admirals of Calicut known as Kunjali Marakkars, which compelled them to seek a treaty. In 1571, the Portuguese were defeated by the Zamorin's forces in the Battles at Chaliyam fort.
The weakened Portuguese were ousted by the Dutch East India Company, who took advantage of continuing conflicts between Kozhikode and Kochi to gain control of the trade. The Dutch in turn were weakened by their constant battles with Marthanda Varma of the Travancore Royal Family, and were defeated at the Battle of Colachel in 1741, resulting in the complete eclipse of Dutch power in Malabar. The Treaty of Mavelikkara was signed by the Dutch and Travancore in 1753, according to which the Dutch were compelled to detach from all political involvements in the region. In the meantime, Marthanda Varma annexed many smaller northern kingdoms through military conquests, resulting in the rise of Travancore to a position of preeminence in Kerala. Hyder Ali of Mysore conquered northern Kerala in the 18th century, capturing Kozhikode in 1766.
Hyder Ali and his successor, Tipu Sultan, came into conflict with the British, leading to the four Anglo-Mysore wars fought across southern India in the latter half of the 18th century. Tipu Sultan ceded Malabar District to the British in 1792, and South Kanara, which included present-day Kasargod District, in 1799. The British concluded treaties of subsidiary alliance with the rulers of Cochin (1791) and Travancore (1795), and these became princely states of British India, maintaining local autonomy in return for a fixed annual tribute to the British. Malabar and South Kanara districts were part of British India's Madras Presidency.
Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja (Kerul Varma Pyche Rajah, Cotiote Rajah) (3 January 1753 – 30 November 1805) was the Prince Regent and the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Kottayam in Malabar, India between 1774 and 1805. He led the Pychy Rebellion (Wynaad Insurrection, Coiote War) against the English East India Company. He is popularly known as Kerala Simham (Lion of Kerala).
Organised expressions of discontent with British rule were not uncommon in Kerala. Uprisings of note include the rebellion by Pazhassi Raja, Velu Thampi Dalawa and the Punnapra-Vayalar revolt of 1946. In 1919, consequent to their victory in World War I, the British abolished the Islamic Caliphate and dismembered the Ottoman Empire. This resulted in protests against the British by Muslims of the Indian sub-continent known as the Khilafat Movement, which was supported by Mahatma Gandhi in order to draw the Muslims into the mainstream national independence movement. In 1921, the Khilafat Movement in Malabar culminated in widespread riots against the British government and Hindu population in what is now known as the Moplah rebellion. Kerala also witnessed several social reforms movements directed at the eradication of social evils such as untouchability among the Hindus, pioneered by reformists like Srinarayana guru and Chattambiswami among others. The non-violent and largely peaceful Vaikom Satyagraha of 1924 was instrumental in securing entry to the public roads adjacent to the Vaikom temple for people belonging to untouchable castes. In 1936, Sree Chithira Thirunal Balaramavarma, the ruler of Travancore, issued the Temple Entry Proclamation, declaring the temples of his kingdom open to all Hindu worshipers, irrespective of caste.
The two independent kingdoms of Travancore and Cochin joined the Union of India after India gained independence in 1947. On 1 July 1949, the two states were merged to form Travancore-Cochin. On 1 January 1950, Travancore-Cochin was recognised as a state. The Madras Presidency was reorganised to form Madras State in 1947.
On 1 November 1956, the state of Kerala was formed by the States Reorganisation Act merging the Malabar district, Travancore-Cochin (excluding four southern taluks, which were merged with Tamil Nadu), and the taluk of Kasargod, South Kanara. In 1957, elections for the new Kerala Legislative Assembly were held, and a reformist, Communist-led government came to power, under E. M. S. Namboodiripad. It was the first time a Communist government was democratically elected to power anywhere in the world. It initiated pioneering land reforms, leading to lowest levels of rural poverty in India.
It refused to nationalise the large estates but did provide reforms to protect manual labourers and farm workers, and invited capitalists to set up industry. Much more controversial was an effort to impose state control on private schools, such as those run by the Christians and the Nairs, which enrolled 40% of the students. The Christians, the land owning communities of Nairs and Namputhiris and the Congress Party protested, with demonstrations numbering in the tens and hundreds of thousands of people. The government controlled the police, which made 150,000 arrests (often the same people arrested time and again), and used 248 lathi charges to beat back the demonstrators, killing twenty. The opposition called on Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to seize control of the state government. Nehru was reluctant but when his daughter Indira Gandhi, the national head of the Congress Party, joined in, he finally did so. New elections in 1959 cost the Communists most of their seats and Congress resumed control.
Later in 1967-82 Kerala elected a series of leftist coalition governments; the most stable was that led by Achutha Menon from 1969 to 1977.
From 1967 to 1970, Kunnikkal Narayanan led a Naxalite movement in Kerala. The theoretical difference in the communist party, i.e. CPM is the part of the uprising of Naxalbari movement in Bengal which leads to the formation of CPI(ML) in India.Due to the several difference in the ideological level the CPI-ML split into several groups. Some are come to the democratic way and some to the extreme, anarchic way. The violence alienated public opinion.
The political alliance have strongly stabilised in such a manner that, with rare exceptions, most of the coalition partners stick their loyalty to the alliance. As a result to this, ever since 1979, the power has been clearly alternating between these two fronts without any change. Politics in Kerala is characterised by continually shifting alliances, party mergers and splits, factionalism within the coalitions and within political parties, and numerous splinter groups.
Modern politics in Kerala is dominated by two political fronts: the Communist party-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Indian National Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) since the late 1970s. These two parties have alternating in power since 1982. Most of the major political parties in Kerala, except for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), belong to one or the other of these two alliances, often shifting allegiances a number of time. According to 2011 Kerala Legislative Assembly election results, the UDF has a majority in the state assembly (73/140).
Places to visit
Kerala Water Sports
Kerala water sports are adventurous activities fostered by the diverse network of rivers, lakes, canals, lagoons and estuaries, not to mention the expanse of backwaters and the mighty Arabian Sea itself.
Tourists from all over the globe make a beeline for this veritable adventure hub.
Some of the most commonly indulged water sports of Kerala are:
Canoeing: Canoeing is a favorite sport among the tourists of Kerala and among the local inhabitants of the state.
A canoe is a small 2-3 seater boat which is rowed by the sailors. Canoeing expeditions are undertaken in Kerala by groups of tourists and such sashays are often arranged by tourist operators on request.
Catamaran Sailing: A catamaran is small often wooden vessel with twin hulls joined together. Catamarans are usually set sail across the backwaters of Kerala nowadays motorized catamarans are in vogue along with traditional oar propelled ones giving the tourists of the state more variety to indulge in.
Kayaking:Kayaking requires high levels of physical fitness. A Kayak is a small one or two man boat which the rowers actuate with twin paddled oars. Kayaking can be undertaken on rocky rapids (similar to white water rafting) or on calm sea waters. The backwaters of Kerala are extremely conducive to such sea kayaking.
Para Sailing: Parasailing is a water sport commonly indulged in beaches and sea side resorts. The sailor is strapped to a parachute which in turn is attached by a harness to a motor boat or some such small vessel. As the boat speeds, the sailor takes off into the air. This highly recreational sport is one of the primary adventure sports in Kerala's many beaches.
Scuba Diving: Scuba diving is deep sea diving with an oxygen pack fitted to the diving suit so that the diver does not need to depend on any surface supplied equipment. The deep Arabian Sea off Kerala shores makes scuba diving a veritable pleasure sport. The rich underwater flora and fauna attracts the diver over the risks involved in the sport.
Snorkeling: Snorkeling is a major tourist recreation at the beaches of Alappuzha, Kovalam and Varkala. It involved swimming at the surface of the deep sea equipped with a snorkel or a breathing tube and mask. It allows the diver to view the natural underwater bounties and the diversity of marine life.
Wind Surfing: Windsurfing is skimming the water face on a surfboard with a revolving sail. The skill of the surfer is tested in maneuvering the craft amidst the high waves and tearing winds. Windsurfing is a sport that rouses much interest in the numerous beaches that fringe coastal Kerala.
Kerala is home to some of the most wonderful and serene waterways, estuaries, lakes, canals, rivers etc. This huge interlocking network of waterways can be traveled and enjoyed on a houseboat. The backwaters of Kerala are home to some of the most beautiful and unique variety of aquatic life ranging from frogs, crabs, mudskippers, kingfishers, cormorants, darters, to turtles and corters. Leafy plants, shrubs, Palm trees along the sides of backwaters provide the environment a green tinge. Some of the beautiful backwaters of Kerala that you can pay visit are Kollam backwaters, Alleppey backwaters, Kozhikode Backwaters, Cochin Backwaters, Kasaragod Backwaters etc.
- Catamaran Sailing
- Para Sailing
- Scuba Diving
- Wind Surfing
The exotic land of Kerala houses a number of beautiful hill stations which adds to the appeal of Kerala. If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city then you can check out the salubrious hills of Kerala. Some of the beautiful hill stations are Munnar, Ranipuram, Devikulam, Ponmudi, Idukki, Pythal Mala to name a few. The mesmerizing beauty of these emerald green places is something to watch for.
Kerala Hillstations Tours present yet another facet of God's Own Country. The high and rugged Western Ghats endow the state with a number of Hillstations, which unlike the rest of the state have a high rate of tourist influx during the summer months.
If you seek to beat the heat or enjoy the cozy comfort of Nature or wish to trek on the woody mountain trails or I you are simply answering the "call of the mountains", get away to one of these beautiful chilly places in Kerala. The undulating paths, the rich variety of flora and fauna available, the beautiful gorges and valleys and the sparkling silver streams that skip and dance through the rocks, the settling clouds that one can walk through and the fresh plucked green tea, brewed hot- this is the irresistible lure of the land. Maps Of India is your guide in planning your unforgettable holiday in the mountainous retreats of Kerala.
Munnar is one of the picturesque places of Kerala where you can feel nature in the lap of Western Ghats. The name of this hill station means 'three rivers' and is located at the confluence of three rivers - Kundaly, Nallathanni, and Madhurapuzha. Tourists can enjoy the lush green surroundings, tea plantations, forests, reservoirs, waterfalls, lakes, spectacular views, and winding lanes. Must-visit tourist spots in and around Munnar are Mattupetty, Marayoor, Eravikulam National Park, Periyar Tiger Reserve, Peerumedu, Pambadum Shola National Park, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Devikulam, Pothamedu, Nyayamakad, Pallivasal, Blossom International Park, Mount Carmel Church, etc. Munnar region is situated at an altitude from anything between 4,760 ft (1,450 meters) and 8,842 ft (2,695 meters). Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport to Munnar town. The nearest railways to this place are Aluva and Ernakulam. In winters, the temperature varies from 5 °C to 15 °C while during summer it ranges between 15°C and 25°C.
The celebrated protected areas that support the ecology of this place through preservation of flora and fauna (such as Grizzled Giant Squirrel, Nilgiri Thar, Gaur, Elephant, Nilgiri Langur, Gaur, Sambar, Nilgiri Wood-pigeon, and Neelakurinji) are Kurinjimala Sanctuary, Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary's Amaravati Reserve Forest and Manjampatti Valley, Palani Hills National Park, and Pampadum Shola National Park.
Wayanad Hill Station
Wayanad is one of the most celebrated camping hilly areas of Kerala. It is located in Wayanad, the least populous district of the state. This place was earlier known as Mayakshetra or "Maya's land". The present name of the place, as per folk etymology, means 'The Land of Paddy Fields'. This beautiful place in the Western Ghats is located at an altitude of anything between 700 metres and 2,100 metres. In this district you will find some important mountains such as Brahmagiri, Banasura Peak, and Chembra Peak. The river that flows through this place is Kabini River. Its tributaries are Kalindi, Mananthavady, and Panamaram. The weather in Wayanad remains cool and pleasant throughout the year. The temperature remains, on an average, around 29°C and only sparingly reaches 31°C. The Wayanad Tourism Organization organizes many trails, and one of the most popular trails here is the 'Outdoor Trail', which covers areas such as Chembra Peak, Chethalayam, Meenmutty waterfalls, Neelimala, Pakshipathalam, and Banasura Sagar Dam. The nearest airport and railway station from Wayanad are Calicut International Airport and Calicut Railway Station, respectively.
In Idukki district, Devikulam is a picturesque hill station, located 5 km from the celebrated tourist place Munnar. Devikulam is located 1,800 metres above sea level. The lake, now called Sita Devi Lake, is located in the hilly surroundings and lush green picturesque backdrop. Tourists will enjoy the scenic beauty of Pallivasal Waterfalls, natural vegetation of gum trees, and dense forests. People here predominantly speak Tamil and Malayam languages. Population of this hill station is very low. Around 350 people live here. You will enjoy the cool air throughout the year, exotic flora and fauna, and velvet lawns. Tourists can also enjoy the good picnic spot near the Sita Devi Lake in the picturesque backdrop. You get there by road, air, and rail. The nearest railway stations to Devikulam are Ernakulam and Aluva. The Cochin International Airport is the nearest railway station located here. You can also take the Munnar-Kumily Highway to reach the place as Devikulum is situated just 8 km from Devikulam.
Ponmudi, also known as the Golden Peak, is a picturesque hill station of Thiruvananthapuram district, Kerala. It is located 1,100 metres above sea level and is a part of Western Ghats. Tropical forest rolls down the hill range, which looks like a carpet, is simply a treat to the eyes. Water streams, twisted trails, salubrious atmosphere, natural beauty, and scenic splendor make this place truly blessed. Just travel from Trivandrum to Ponmudi through the narrow-winding road and you will be mesmerized by the scenic views offered on the way. This place is popular among hikers as well as trekkers because it serves as a base for them to start their trail. Tea gardens make this place that more beautiful. Some attractions here are Golden Valley, Ponmudi Falls, Agasthyarkoodam Biosphere Reserve, Echo Point, numerous trekking points, and Meenmutty Falls. In the sanctuary you can watch a wide variety of animals and birds, including leopards, Asian elephants, Malabar grey hornbills, lion-tailed macaques, sambar, etc. Thiruvananthapuram International Airport and Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station are the nearest airport and railway station to Ponmudi, respectively. The distance between Trivadandrum city and Ponmudi, by road, is 61 km.
Nelliampathi is one of the most visited hill stations in Kerala, located 60 km from Palakkad. Tourists throng this place every year because of the excellent weather conditions, tea/coffee plantations, coupled with exquisite scenery. You will enjoy the journey between Kaikatty and Nemmara. You will go past Pothundi Dam, rice plantations, adventurous hairpin bends, and government forest having massive teak trees on the way. During rainy season you can watch many water streams coming down the hilly slopes. If you are lucky you can also come across many flora and fauna including porcupines, deers, and monkeys. Nelliampathi hills are especially known for having exquisite fauna, including 90 species of butterflies and 215 species of birds. Some of the rare species of brids such as Nilgiri Pipit, Broad-tailed Grassbird, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Oriental Broad-billed Roller, Great Black Woodpecker, Jerdon's Baza, Great Pied Hornbill, and Grey-breasted Laughing Thrush. Nilgiri Tahr, Nilgiri Langur, Bonnet Macaque, and Lion-tailed Macaque can be found in the grassy peaks of Nelliampathi Hills. Coimbatore Airport and Palakkad Railway Station are the nearest airport and railway station to Nelliyampathy, respectively.
This small hilly town is located in Idukki district of Kerala. It is also called Plantation Town of Kerala, located at an altitude of 915 metres from the sea level. Peermade is famous for picturesque locales and picnic spots. Some of the most renowned ones are Wagamon, Pattumala, Grampi, Peeru Hills, Thrissanku Hils, Sahayadri Ayurvedic Centre, and Kuttikanam. Travelers can walk on rolling hills, trek, get Ayurvedic massage, and many more. You can also visit Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary to catch a glimpse of elephant herds and other wildlife. The best time to visit Peermade is during the summer season, between March and May. One of the best aspects of this place is that it is well connected through air, road, and rail. Accommodation facilities are better than any other place located nearby. During peak season, tourists should book accommodation in advance.
If you are a beach lover, then come and visit Kerala. It has almost all kinds of beaches be it sandy, coconut, rocky or promontories. Besides the clean blue water of the sea, there is also a wide range of delicious seafood cuisines to make your holiday unforgettable. The beaches of Kerala attract visitors from all over the world. Some of the famous beaches are Cherai beach, Bekal beach, Kappad beach, Kovalam beach, Dharmadam beach, Fort Kochi beach, Beypore beach and Alappuza beach.
- Alappuzha Beach
- Chavakkad Beach
- Cherai Beach
- Fort Kochi
- Kappad Beach
- Kovalam Beach
- Marari Beach
- Meenkunnu Beach
- Muzhappilangad Beach
- Payyambalam Beach
- Snehatheeram Beach
- Kollam Beach
- Thirumullavaram Beach
- Shangumugham Beach
- Varkala Beach
Located at the southernmost tip of India, Kerala is one of the most beautiful states of the Indian Peninsula. Rightly known as 'God's Own Country' embracing the Arabian Sea in its west and the Western Ghats to its east, it has mesmerizing geographical features that makes it one to the most famous tourist destinations in Asia. Its long shoreline consists of various serene beaches that would make your journey to this heaven a memorable one.
Alappuzha Beach, also known as Alleppey Beach, is located in Alappuzha District of South Kerala. It is a very popular tourist spot of Kerala known for providing relaxation to its visitors.
On the west of this mesmerizing beach lies the great Arabian Sea while the other end is covered with dense palm trees. It is composed of various lagoons, fresh water rivers and vast lakes that enhances its natural beauty. The 140 year old pier, extending into the sea is also a major attraction of the beach. Among visitors across the world, it is famous as 'Venice of the East'.
The nearby Vijaya Beach Park consisting of children's park and boating facilities add to the entertainment facilities of the beach. There is also an old light house that attracts the visitors.
Alappuzha Beach also offers its tourists various water sports including swimming, beach volleyball, surfing and parasailing. Boat races are also a major attraction of this place.
On a visit to this beach, one must experience the stay at the houseboats in backwater of the beach that consists of furnished bedrooms, cosy living rooms, modern toilets, kitchen and balcony, providing all comforts.
The best time to visit Alappuzha Beach is from August to March.
Situated about 5km from Guruvayoor town, Chavakkad beach is located in Thrissur district of Kerala. It is believed to get its name from the Cheval trees which are found in abundance here. It is also known as Mini Gulf since a family member of most of the families living here is working in the Middle East.
Lying at the confluence of the Arabian Sea and a river locally called Azhimokam, it is one of the best beaches which is blessed with nature's inexplicable beauty. The still water lagoons, soft sands of the beach, palm trees and azure water from the Arabian Sea, adds to the picturesque view of the whole beach. It is mostly visited by few Hindu pilgrims, apart from usual tourists, who are on their way back after worshipping at Guruvayoor Temple. Since it is not very crowded as compared to the other beaches in Kerala, it provides a perfect environment to relax and reconnect with your inner self.
Guruvayoor Temple, one of the most sacred and famous temples of Kerala, is also situated near the beach and is visited by both foreign and Indian tourists. St. Thomas Church at Palayur the oldest church in India, built in AD 52 by St. Thomas himself, is also situated nearby.
Cherai Beach is located 25 km away from Kochi bordering the Vypin Island (also known as Vypeen Island). It is also known as 'The princess of the queen of Arabian Sea'. An adventurous boat ride from Kochi to Vypin followed by 40 minutes of bus ride will take you this mesmerizing beach of Kerala.
Situated at the combination of sea and the backwaters and bordered by luscious green coconut palms, this 15 km long Cherai Beach is a covered with paddy fields and soft sand all over the place. Chinese fishing nets and small wooden boats can be found around the beach. Tourists enjoy the peaceful environment of the nature along with delicious mouthwatering sea food, coconut water and wine. The newly adorned 400 meters main beach lined with high mast lamps will make your stay sparkling even during the night. Since the water here is quite and calm, swimming is one of the most loved activity of tourists visiting this beach. For adventure lovers, they can hire fast speed water-scooters and speedboats which are easily available on rent. If you are lucky enough, you can get a chance to watch dolphins playing in the sea.
The Bolghatty Palace in Bolghatty Island built in 1744 by the Dutch, which now operates as a hotel, is also worth visiting. Another important tourist spot is the Pallippuram Fort built in 1503 by the Europeans and is one of the oldest existing monuments in India.
Located just 12 km from the city of Ernakullam, Fort Kochi is the first township discovered by Europeans in India. This former fisherman town was shaped into the current booming town by the Portuguese, the Dutch and finally by the Britishers. It is one of the most beautiful beaches of Kerala still maintaining its old colonial charm. The best way to explore the beach is to go walking. You would be mesmerized by the beauty of colonial forts, churches and several European style buildings that surround the beach. St. Francis Church, Santa Cruz Basilica, Vasco House, Bolgatty Palace, Hill Palace, Palliport, Jewish Synagogue and Jew Town are some of the prominent structures that are worth visiting.
The best features of the beach includes the massive Chinese fishing nets, made of bamboo poles and teak wood that lie by the shoreline. Just behind the nets there are large number of stalls where you can enjoy the freshly caught fish that you can ask local chefs to cook the way you want. The local sea food cuisines are also a must-eat which includes fish molly, Fish Peera, Alleppey fish curry and fried fish. For the shopaholics this beach also houses some antique shops selling a beautiful collection of stones, ornaments and shell decoratives that are available at fair prices.
The best time to visit Fort Kochi beach is during the New Year's Eve when the carnival at this place would make the visit unforgettable.
Situated just 16 km away from Kozhikode, this beach holds the prestige of being the place where Vasco Da Gama, the first European landed to India, to create a history in the socio-political relationship between India and Europe. On 27th May, 1498, he along with 170 men, first set foot here. A stone monument with the words 'Vasco Da Gama landed here' inscribed on it memorialize this historic event. Locally known as Kappakkadavu, it is also mentioned in geography and history textbooks as 'Gateway to the Malabar Coast'.
The best way to reach Kappad beach is through the calm backwaters of the Korappuzha River. Along your way you would experience the breathtaking natural beauty and unusual scenes along with the river. It is a very beautiful beach that is covered with rocks that protrude into the sea. The golden sand of the beach lined by swaying coconut palm trees at one end and crystal clear water of the Arabian Sea on the other end, makes this beach one of the most pleasant tourist destinations of Kerala. Adding to the beauty of the beach are the fishing vessels that fill the shoreline of the beach.
An ancient temple, which is believed to be around 800 years old, is another famous tourist spot of the beach. Located at the top of the largest rock, it is a very religious temple that is visited by tourists and devotees from all over the state. The Ayurveda Health Spa located here offers the famous Ayurveda spa that would drift you to the sublime bliss. The oil massage of this Spa is also worth a try.
Located just 16 km to the south of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, Kovalam beach was once a casual fishing village that transformed into the now world famous beach after the arrival of hippies in early seventies. It is also known as 'Paradise of the south'.
The 17km long coastline of the beach is divided into three crescent shaped beaches by headlands jutting into the sea. The southernmost beach, most famous and largest of all, is the Lighthouse Beach. It got its name from the 35 meter high lighthouse atop a hill named Kurumkal. The second beach is the Hawah Beach named as it is legal for topless female tourists to throng there. The northern-most beach is the Samudra Beach which is not so famous and is used by fishermen for their trade.
This beach is unique in its own beauty since it is covered with black sand (unlike any other beach) and fringed with palm coconut trees at one end, making the environment soothing, and Arabian sea on the other which you would love gazing at while enjoying a sunbath. The Ayurvedic Parlour that offers many ayurvedic spa treatments is famous amongst the tourists. The yoga and meditation centers of the beach will make your mind and body relaxed. The beach also has many shacks from where you can buy local handicrafts, clothes and jewellery. Apart from this, there are a large number of resorts and cottages that provide world class accommodation of all ranges to tourists visiting here.
Adventure lovers can enjoy many water activities including surfing, cruising, kayaking, skiing and much more. The calm and shallow water of the beach also makes it suitable for swimming.
Marari beach, located just 60 kms from Cochin, is a pristine fishing beach.
A stretch of soft white sand with coconut palm trees swaying in the air, this is a perfect place to relax, unwind and enjoy what nature has to offer you. Since it is not a tourist beach, you would love to be soaked in the serenity and peace of the beach. You can hire a boat that offers all modern facilities including furnished bedroom, modern bath and toilet, sit-outs and even kitchen, and can observe the everyday life of local people. If you visit here during the month of August, you must watch the snake boat races where large serpent-shaped boats are rowed by 130 oarsmen. The beach also have a large number of homestays and resorts where tourists can stay. The mouth-watering coconut flavoured seafood of Kerala is also worth eating once you are on this beach. You can also buy a lot of exotic spices and antiques from Cochin. You can also enjoy water sports like parasailing, surfing, swimming, etc.
If you had enough of beach activities you can also visit coir-making units in the nearby Mararikulam Village and learn how to convert piles of coconut fiber into a rope. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is also worth visiting as it houses birds like cuckoos, egrets, waterfowl, parrots, teal, herons, water duck and the list goes on. The ancient city of the Vijayanagara Empire, the Chandragiri Fort is just 4kms from the beach.
Situated about 12 kms from the Kannur district and 2 km from the main town of Kannur in Azhikhode, Meenkunnu Beach is an extension of Payyambalam beach. Its name is a combination of two Malayalam words Meen, which means fish and Kunnu which means small hill.
This secluded beach of Mennkunnu with golden sandy seashores fringed with rows of swaying coconut palms on the other end is a traveller's paradise. The calm and secluded environment of the beach is its most adorable characteristic. The tourists love to lay lazing on the sunbathed beach enjoying the serene beauty of the gushing waves of the azure sea water. Away from the hustle and bustle of the town, this beach is a perfect location to relax and get connected to your inner-self.
Nearby attractions of the beach includes the Snake Park which is dedicated to preserving the endangered reptile species including both poisonous and non-poisonous snakes. One of its kind, this park also houses Lion-tailed Macaque apart from various species of snakes.
St. Angelo Fort, a Portuguese Fort, is also worth visiting. It offers mesmerizing views of the beach and the entire Kannur town from a hilltop.
Muzhappilangad beach is located just 15 km from the city of Kannur and 8km from Thalassery.
It is the only drive-in beach of Kerala and the second largest in India. The complete four kilometers length of the beach with firm sand is available for a drive. To reach this beach you have to pass the unpaved roads bending through coconut groves. Once you reach this beach you would be mesmerized by its exceptional stillness and cleanliness. It is gaining attraction from both local and foreign tourists with every passing year.
It is surrounded by black rocks which protect this beach from the strong currents of the sea and makes it a natural shallow cove. It is a perfect location for those who love swimming in the sea without the fear of lashing waves. One can also enjoy sunbathing at the shores of the beach. It also attracts adventure lovers by its water sports that include paragliding, power boating, parasailing and catamaran ride.
About 100-200 meters south of the beach is a privately owned Island named Dharmadam or Green Island. Covering an area of 2 hectares, it is enclosed with coconut palms and mangrove bushes. During low tides one can even walk to this island.
Payyambalam beach is located just 2 km away from the Kannur district of Kerala. It is a beautiful beach of Kerala, mostly famous as a relaxing holiday spot for locals and tourists.
The secluded beach of Payyambalam has vast stretches of silver sand fringed by waving coconut palm trees. Tourist visit this place to recline in the tranquil, clean and serene environment. One can also enjoy beach activities such as volleyball, water boating, scuba diving and much more. The view of sunrise and sunset from the beach is rejuvenating.
The beach is famous for its gardens and the massive sculpture of Mother and Child erected by Kanayi Kunhiraman, a noted sculpture. The remains of prominent social and political figures of Kerala that includes A.K. Gopalan, Sukumar Azhikode, Swadeshabimani Ramakrishna Pillai, Pamban Mandavan, E.K. Nayanar and K.G. Marar are laid to nest near this beach.
You can also visit St. Angelo's Fort which was constructed in 1505 by the Portuguese. The natural fishing center of Moppila Bay that is located at the sea wall diving inland water and rough sea, is also worth visiting.
Snehatheeram beach is located in Thalikkulam which is about 30 km from the Thrissur District of Kerala. Snehatheeram is a Malayalam word which means love shore. It is an ideal beach destination for couples and children. Maintained by Department of Tourism (Kerala), it was also awarded the best tourist destination in the year 2010.
With relatively calm and safe sea and cleanliness of the beach, it is an ideal picnic spot amongst the local people and foreigners. It offers a mesmerizing view of the sunset and sunrise. The beach garden along with the children's park is a famous attraction of the beach. With entry fees of INR 5 for adults and INR 3 for children, this beach offers good quality equipment and a small pool for the children to enjoy in. An aquarium containing large marine species and restaurant named Nalukkettu that offers delicious sea food, adds to its richness.
Every year a week-long beach festival is conducted here by the tourism department to promote the beach.
Engandiyur, Vadanappilly, Valappd and Nattika are some of the towns located near the beach.
Kollam Beach is located in Kollam district about 71 kms to the north of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala state. Another name for this beach is Mahatama Gandhi Beach.
After Cochin Port trust, it is the second largest port in Kerala, as of 2010. Apart from being one of the oldest ports on the Malabar Coast, it is also the hub for international cashew trading of the country. It acts as a gateway to the elegant backwaters of Kerala and is situated on the edge of Ashtamudi Lake. This beach offers a mesmerizing view of the Arabian Sea and is very famous amongst both local and foreign tourists. One can also enjoy the 4-hour long canal cruises to the island village. The Mahatama Gandhi Park, which is situated along the beach, is also a major attraction of the Kollam Beach. It is owned by Kollam City Corporation and maintained by the Rural Tourism Development Company. Inaugurated on January 1, 1961 by Zakir Hussain, the then Vice president of India, this park has entertainment facilities of International Standard.
The nearby village of Thangasseri is also worth visiting. The 144 feet tall light house was built in 1902 and is open to visitors. Ruins of Portuguese/ Dutch churches and forts built in the 18th century stands as a keepsake of their rule in this area. One can also visit the Thirumullavaram beach, a beautiful secluded beach perfect for picnic spot which is located just 6 kms north of Kollam.
The months of October to March is the best time to visit the beach.
Thirumullavaram beach is located 6 kms from Kollam town in Kerala and is a popular picnic spot among the residents from time immemorial.
The secluded beach of Kollam will soothe your mind and body with its natural beauty. The swaying coconut palms, the ebbing waves of the Arabian Sea and the clean and unspoiled sand of the beach makes this beautiful beach an ideal picnic spot. Since it not very commercialized you would not even find any vendors hassling you, so you can relax for hours without any disturbance. Swimming on this beach is a safe activity that tourists like to indulge in. Another must-do while you are in Thirumullavaram is to taste the local cuisine that is mostly flavoured with coconut and spices like cardamom, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. You would love eating food served on a banana leaf, the traditional style of the south.
A water hillock named Nyarazhcha Para which means Sunday Rock, is another allurement for the tourists visiting here. During low tides, this hillock can be seen clearly from the shore about one and a half kms into the sea.
Apart from this, the famous Shree Vaikundapuram Mahavishnu Temple is also situated near the beach. It is one of the most esteemed and ancient temples of Kollam that is believed to be sanctified by Parasurama, the creator of Kerala. The pond inside the temple has a strange feature that the water inside it never tastes salty despite being consisting of sea water.
Shangumukham Beach is located just 8 kms away from the city of Thiruvananthapuram. With a vast stretch of white sand along with coconut palms lining the beach and the serene atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of city, this beach is an ideal location for tourists to relax and rejuvenate.
The beach is also known as the Sunset Beach as it offers mesmerizing views of the sunset. Although it is not safe for swimming since the water here is loud and rough, other activities like building sand castles, beach volleyball, skating and badminton playing keep the tourists busy. The famous 'Star Fish Restaurant' fulfils the desire of delicious mouth-watering local cuisine, along with an open air theatre. There is an Indian Coffee house too at the beach which offers luscious coffee and food.
During the festive day of Arattu, a procession of images of Lord Narsimha, Lord Padmanabhaswamy and Lord Krishna is taken to the Laccadive Sea at Shanghumugham Beach. These idols are taken back in procession after the ceremonial bath which concludes the festival.
The beach is equipped with a skating school that provides coaching to children of all ages. Next to it is an indoor sports complex where you can play badminton and table tennis. The Jawaharlal Nehru Park of Traffic Lights for children is a park where children can learn the traffic rules while enjoying the park. For young children, cycles are also available on hire.
A giant statue of a mermaid called Matsya Kanyaka stands as a symbol of the beach. This 35m long giant sculpture, created by Kanayi Kunhiraman, a renowned sculptor, adds to the beauty of the surroundings.
The Viel Tourist Village which is connected to the beach by a floating beach is an added attraction. It is a famous picnic spot which offers Amusement Park, Children's Park, Lagoons for boating and a Water Front Park too.
The Vettucadu Church, a famous Christian church marked for its architectural beauty also lies near the beach.
Varkala beach, located about 50 km north-west of Thiruvananthapuram and 37 km south west of Kollam is one of the top 10 seasonal beaches of the world. The calm and serene environment of the beach consisting of silvery sands enclosed with swaying coconut palms makes it a relaxing beach holiday. One can enjoy water sports like surfing, parasailing, scuba diving and sailing, apart from usual swimming and sunbathing.
This beach is locally called as 'Papanashini' since the water of the beach is considered sacred and is believed to wash away all the sins of the soul and purge body impurities on taking a dip in it. Of all the beaches in Kerala, this is the only beach that has cliffs running parallel to the entire length of the beach. These cliffs are famous as Varkala formation amongst the geologists. It also offers an astounding view of the sunset.
The 2000-years old temple - Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple, dedicated to Ayyappa stands on a cliff of the beach. People here offer 'Vavu Bali' for peace of soul of their relatives who have departed from this world. On the top of Sivagiri hillock, stands the final resting place of Shree Narayana Guru, a great social reformer who spread the ideology 'one religion, one caste and one god'. Thousands of devotees visit here every year from 30th December to 1st January- the pilgrimage days.
There are innumerable massage centers around the beach providing rejuvenating oil massages that remove toxins, improve blood circulation and burn extra fats. Apart from this, Sivagiri Mutt is a famous Ashram near the beach which is known for its Ayurveda treatment.
The beach also fulfils the desire of having delicious sea food through many charming restaurants and shacks nearby. You can even ask the chefs to prepare food according to your own taste. Also, this beach is full of high class resorts and homestays that offer excellent accommodation facilities to its visitors.
Kerala Wildlife sanctuaries house a huge variety of animals, marine life and birds of all most all species. Some of the rarest species can also be traced down in Kerala.
Some of these animals are Nilgiri tahr, tigers, leopards, elephants, macaque, deer, butterflies, moths, crabs, mudskippers and the list goes on. The wildlife sanctuaries that you must pay a visit are Chinnar wildlife Sanctuary, Periyar Tiger Reserve, Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary, Eravikulam National Park, Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and
- Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary.
- Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
- Eravikulam National Park
- Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
- Periyar National Park
- Silent Valley National Park
The dense tropical rainforests of Kerala house a veritable treasure of exotic flora and fauna and an astounding variety of wildlife have found their habitat in the state. The Government (both central and state) has taken extreme measures to conserve the forests and preserve the fast vanishing species of animals and insects here. A number of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks have been built here and these are major attractions for tourists to the state.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
Located 50 km from Devikulam of Idukki district in Kerala, the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary houses a host of fierce animals found in the Indian forests such as elephants, sambars, leopards and gaurs. The sanctuary is dedicated to preserving the Grizzled Giant Squirrel and the Star Tortoise., both highly endangered species
Eravikulam National Park
This lush expanse of flora rich national part was established to preserve the Nilgiri Tahr or the Nilgiri Ibex. Other creatures habituating this beautiful conserve are elephants, leopards, tigers, malabar civets, sambars, barking deers, nilgais, langurs and pythons.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is the winter home to a host of bright plumed visitors from cold regions such as Siberia. A birdwatcher's paradise, the sanctuary stands on the banks of the Vembanad Lake allowing the tourists to take the water path to rewarding birdwatching.
Periyar National Park
Beside the Periyar River, stands the sprawling Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve. Built to protect these royal beasts from cruel poachers and to preserve the majestic Indian elephants, the Periyar National Park is a major tourist attraction. Visitors from around the globe come here to undertake a wildlife safari here. more..
Silent Valley National Park
Silent valley national Park or Sairandhrivanam as it is locally called houses about hundreds of species of butterflies and almost 400 species of moths. Other bird and animal life protected by this national park are the Ceylon Frogmouth, the Great Indian Hornbill, the Laughing Thrush, the Malabar squirrel, langurs, lion-tailed Macaques, elephants, tigers, leopards, wild bears, nilgais, sambars and pit viper. The langurs and Lion- tailed macaques are endangered species conserved here.