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General Info

General Info

General Info

KERALA – A PROFILE

Sandwiched between the Lakshwadeep Sea and the Western Ghats, Kerala is bordered by the state of Karnataka to the north, Tamil Nadu to the east, and the Arabian Sea to the west. No wonder, it is being regarded as the God’s own country.  It represents only 1.18 percent of the total area of India.  Nevertheless with a total population of nearly 30 million people, Kerala has 3.43 percent of the total population of the country.  Stretching for about 590 Kms. with the width varying from 32 to 120 Kms., it is a long but narrow strip of enchanting greenery sandwiched between towering mountains and the deep blue sea.  Nature has bestowed it with long beaches, mighty mountains, evergreen forests and deep backwaters.  The extensive paddy fields and the luxuriant vegetation in this highly fertile land make it brilliantly green throughout.  The tall, exotic coconut palm dominates the landscape.  The land derived its name from ”Keram”, the coconut palm.

There is a fascinating legend on the origin of Kerala which avers that the warrior-sage Shri. Parasurama, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, reclaimed this land from the sea by throwing his battle axe into the sea.

The People

Keralites are popularly called ‘Malayalees’, for the language they speak. The people of Kerala form a well educated unit. The fact that Kerala is the first state in India that achieved a 100% literacy rate stands testimony to the aforesaid claim. Even though Keralites can boast of a Dravidian legacy, traces of ancestry can also be derived from Aryan invaders and settlers from Northern India. Other than the Dravidians and the Aryans thousands of Non-Indians from the regions of Arab, Jewish, Portuguese, Dutch, and British had settled in Kerala. Later on they got intermarried with native Malayalis.

For the women of Kerala, Sari is the most popular attire. North Indian apparels like Salwar kamiz, Churidar, lehanga, and kooris and western fashions like jeans and top are popular among the younger lots. Of late, western fashion has made a big impact on the dress code of the teenaged fairer sex in Kerala, who prefers a sophisticated life style.

For the males the conventional attire is Kasavumundu. The younger lots mostly prefer trousers and shirt. On days of traditional significance, even teenagers can be identified wearing Mundu, which gives that so called ‘Malayali look’ for men. At home they prefer Kaily or Lunky, which resembles Mundu but comes in printed forms and in different colors. The traditional Kerala dresses are more popular in the rural areas. Another interesting fact about Malayalee men is their passion for thick Moustache.

Even though the official language of Kerala is Malayalam, English too is widely popular among the younger generation. The next most common language is Tamil, spoken mainly by Tamil people from the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. Kannada is spoken in some parts of the northern district of Kasargod, adjoining to the Karnataka state.

In addition, Kerala is home to 321,000 tribal communities. Almost 63% of tribals reside in the eastern districts of Wayanad (where 35.82% are tribals), Palakkad (11.05%), and Idukki (15.66%).These groups, include the Irulars, Kurumbars, and Mudugars, who speak their own native languages.

The land      

Kerala has three geographical regions, the highlands, midlands and the low lands.  The highlands or the eastern region is dominated by the Sahya Mountains or the Western Ghats with dense tropical evergreen forests, misty peaks, extensive rides and ravines.  Anamudi at 2775 meters is the highest peak and Agasthyarkoodam is the second highest.  Tea, Coffee,  Rubber, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Oil Seeds and Sandalwood are extensively cultivated in the mountainous areas.  Exotic spices have lured foreigners to the Kerala coasts from time immemorial.  The midlands have undulating hills and valleys growing coconut, arecanut, banana, mango, tapioca, pepper, ginger etc.  The sandy coastal region or the low lands is picturesque with extensive coconut groves, paddy fields, river deltas, backwaters and the sea.

Kerala  has 44 rivers, 41 west flowing and three east flowing.  The longest river is Bharathapuzha – 251 kms. long. The Periyar river is 228.5 Kms. long and the Pamba river 177Kms. long. The backwaters form a specially attractive and  economically valuable feature of Kerala.  There are 34 big and not so big backwaters in the state.  The biggest backwater is the vembanad lake,  some 200 Sq.km.in area.  The deltas of the rivers interlink the backwater and provide excellent water transport facility in the low lands of Kerala.

Climate and Rainfall         

The diversity in geographical set up is reflected in the climate as well.  While the highland areas experience biting cold, the climate is pleasant in the midland areas and low land area is comparatively hot because of humidity especially in summer months.  South-West monsoon, which is the major monsoon in Kerala begins sometime in June-July and continues till August-September.  North-East monsoon commences in October-November.  The best season in the state is from December to February, days become sunny and nights turn pleasantly cool.

Population of Kerala

33 million.

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