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Kerala Backwaters
Kerala Backwaters

Kerala, a south-western state of India, enjoys a unique advantage of location with the Western Ghats to its east and the Arabian Sea to the west. In Malayalam, the word Kerala literally means “the land of coconuts”. Kerala, or “God's own country” is fed by 44 holy rivers and a wide network of lakes, canals and lagoons. Kerala is believed to be reclaimed from the sea by Lord Parasurama (the incarnation of Lord Vishnu). In the past few decades, Kerala has witnessed the rise and fall of several rulers including the Arabs, Dutch, Portuguese and the British. The region was re-arranged and united after independence of India and the state of Kerala was formed on November 1, 1956. The original natives of the land were Dravidians. Later the Aryans brought a dilution and a mixture of races. It is supposedly the cleanest state of India with the lowest infant mortality rate and the highest life expectancy rate. It is a major sought-after tourist destination for its tranquil backwaters, relaxing beaches, beautiful rock cliffs, exotic flora & fauna and world class Ayurvedic therapies, Yoga training and naturopathy.


Kerala enjoys a tropical climate conducive to the cultivation of spices (pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, nutmeg, oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil, mint, bay leaf and sage), tea and coffee. Cochin, Periyar and Munnar abound in spice and tea gardens. The surrounding dense evergreen forest is home to a number of mammals, migratory birds, reptiles and amphibians.


Long sandy beaches, surrounded by palm & coconut groves at Kovalam, Varkala, Marari and Kollam are much visited for leisurely holidays. Kerala's greatest attraction lies in its beaches and backwaters. Cities like Kumarakom and Alleppey are renowned backwater destinations. Tourists enjoy canoeing and cruising in the backwaters on motor boats & Kettuvellams (traditional houseboats) along with several other water sports. Backwater cruising is among 1001 best adventures of the world.


Kerala is a land of festivals. Onam and the elephant festival are the two major occasions that are celebrated with full vigor and enthusiasm.


Kathakali, a 500-year old form of dance-drama, Kerala-natana, Koothu, Mohiniyaattam, Thullal, Padayani and Theyyam are important arts forms of Kerala, whose history goes back to the ancient times. Kerala has its own indigenous form of martial art, Kalaripayattu.


Kerala's heritage is incomplete without arts and handicrafts. The local people are experts in bell metal and brass craft and ivory carving. Coconut shells and wood are used to design chairs, settees, cradles, trays, shopping bags, lamp stands, flower vases, ash-trays, coir carpets and mattings.
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