Kerala: God’s own country.
Cochin , Cherai, Munnar, Alleppey, Varkala, Trivandrum , , Poovar,Thenmala
History of Kerala:
The earliest written record mentioning Kerala is contained in the Sanskrit epic known as the Aitareya Aranyaka. Later, such figures as 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 Chandra Gupta 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) a Muziris (probably modern-day Kodungallur or Pattanam as India's first port of Importance. Later, the unknown author of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea notes that "both Muziris and Nelkunda (modern Neendakara) are now busy places".
Malayalam, Kerala's main native language, believed to be originated as an offshoot of Tamil, the principal native language of neighboring Tamil Nadu. Malayalam (Derived from the local words: mala(means Mountain) and aalam (means Kingdom)) as a composite phrase means the living/inhabitants of Mountain Kingdom. This phrase, which in earlier times implied the geographical location of the region, was later replaced by Kerala.Kerala and Tamil Nadu diverged into linguistically separate regions by the early 14th century. The ancient Chera empire, whose court language was Tamil, ruled Kerala from their capital at Vanchi Karuvur (modern Karur in Tamil Nadu). Kerala at that time was composed of two Koduntamizh (deviant Tamil) regions, Venadu (later called Travancore) and Kuttanadu (Malabar). Allied with the Pallavas, they continually warred against the neighbouring Chola and Pandya kingdoms. Until the Bhakti age, the Sangam Tamil Cheras of the Kongu Nadu region in Tamil Nadu controlled both these regions. History says that (recorded im Mackenzie records) a Chozha princess was married to the Chera of Karur and he got a dowry of 48,000 agriculturists from the Chozha country. These people were settled in the then forested region of Venadu and Kuttanadu and thus the first agricultural settlements arose in what is called Kerala today.
A Keralite identity, distinct from the Tamils and associated with the Kerala Varmans empire and the development of Malayalam, subsequently evolved sometime during the 8th–14th centuries. Meanwhile, both Buddhism and Jainism reached Kerala in this early period. As in other parts of ancient India, Buddhism and Jainism co-existed with early Shaivite beliefs during the first five centuries. It was only after the Sangam period that Kerala saw large-scale immigration of Brahmins from the north. These influxes may have coincided during the Kalabhras, Rashtrakuta, Chalukya, Pallava and Hoysala invasions. By the 8th and 9th centuries, 2nd Chera kings inclined to Vaishnavism and some of them wrote great literary works in the stream of Vishnu Bhakthi. When Hinduism was revived by intellectuals like Shankara and by Bhakti movements all over India, Buddhism and Jainism merged into their mother religion.
Cochin : History
The origin of the name 'Cochin'is backed by two theories. One theory attributes the name to the Malayalam word 'Kochazhi' or 'Small Sea', while according to other theory Cochin was named after China when traders from the court of Kublai Khan of China, visited Cochin and gave it the name of their homeland. The local people refer to Cochin as Kochi , and this is the city's official name today.
The city of Cochin may be said to have originated as an important port in 1341 AD when the flooded Periyar River destroyed a world-renowned port, Kodungallur, just north of Cochin and created an all-new harbor in Cochin, which is today one of the finest natural harbors on the West coast of India.
Places to Visit
Dutch Palace , Mattancherry
Portuguese built the palace in 1557 as a gift to the Raja of Cochin, Veera Kerala Varma,. It was only in 1663, when the Dutch won over from the Portuguese, that they renovated the palace and thus, it is known as the 'Dutch palace' .
St. Francis Church, Fort Cochin
St. Francis Church was the first European Church to be built in India . The history of this Church reflects the colonial struggle of European powers in India , from the 15th to 20th Centuries. The Portuguese Vasco da Gama was the first European to discover the sea route to India .
The Island is Named after the former Viceroy of India, lord Willington, Willington Island is connected to the mainland Ernakulam Venduruthy Bridge .
Mangalavanam is Known for its small bird sanctuary, Mangalavanam mangroves is situated in the Ernakulam District of Kerala State.
The Pareekshit Thampuran Museum
An archeological museum which features a rich collection of the 19th century paintings, Pre-historic monuments, Old coins in a numismatic gallery, Scriptures in stone and Plaster of Paris, Copies of mural paintings and the collection from the Cochin royal family
Kodanad lies on the southern bank of Periyar cradled amidst the scenic beauty of the high ranges. 45 km to the north east of the city of Cochin and 12 km to the east of Perumbavoor town, it was once one of the largest elephant-capturing centres of South India .
Jewish Synagogue, Mattancherry
Jewish Synagogue was built in 1568 It is The oldest synagogue in India , and was partially destroyed in the war of 1662 and was rebuilt by the Dutch.
Cherai Beach , one of the most beautiful beaches in Kerala bordering the northern end of Vypeen Island , is located about 26 km from Ernakulam city, Kochi .
Munnar is Kerala’s premium hill station. A hill station transcending excellence – Munnar is surrounded by gently undulating hills swathed in the soothing green of vast tea estates makes it perfect tourist destination in south India. Situated at an altitude of 1600 m above sea level, its bracing climate with the laidback atmosphere and its delightfully refreshing colonial air makes it the most sought-after destinations.
History of Munnar
In both Malayalam and Tamil, the word ‘Munnar’ means three rivers, as it is merging place of three mountain streams. Munnar was developed to cultivate tea plants by British although it was first discovered by Scottish planters.
Places to Visit
Mattupetty (13 km from Munnar)
Situated at a height of 1700 m , Mattupetty is famous for its highly specialized dairy farm, the Indo-Swiss live stock project. Over 100 varieties of high yielding cattle are reared here.
Devikulam (7 km from Munnar)
This idyllic hill station with its velvet lawns, exotic flora and fauna and the cool mountain air is a rare experience. The Sita Devi Lake with its mineral waters and picturesque surroundings is a good picnic spot.
Marayoor (40 kms from Munnar) This is the only place in Kerala that has a natural growth of sandalwood trees.
Anayirangal (22 kms from Munnar) It's a lush green carpet of tea plants.
Mattupetty Lake and Dam Mattupetty Lake and Dam, which lie 13 km from Munnar, enroute Top Station, at an altitude of 1700 mt, are popular picnic spot with visitors. The lake and dam surrounded by wooden hills and tea plantations, makes a great view.
The Shola forests around Mattupetty are ideal for trekking and bird watching, with the variety of birds found there. Small streams and waterfalls cut through the tract here and there, which again adds more attraction to the place.
Alappuzha beach is one of the most popular beaches of Kerela located in the district of Alappuzha. The beach is located at roughly 5 kms from the Alappuzha railway station and has the Arabian Sea on the west and a large network of lakes, lagoons and several freshwater rivers intersections.
Also referred to as the Venice of the East by travelers from across the world, this Backwater Country is fairly rich in diverse animal and bird life. In recent years, Alappuzha has grown in importance as a Backwater Tourist Centre, attracting several thousands of foreign tourists every year who come here to enjoy the serene marine beauty of the state.
Varkala is the only place in southern Kerala where one can find cliffs adjacent to the Arabian sea . These tertiary sedimentary formation cliffs are a unique geological feature in the otherwise flat Kerala coast, and are known among geologists as Varkala Formation and a geological monument as declared by the Geological survey of India .
Trivandrum or Thiruvananthapuram.
Thiru-v-anantha-puram is a three sylable name meaning the abode of the sacred snake god "Anantha". Lord Vishnu of the ancient Indian mytholgy rests on this huge serpent.
Thiruvananthapuram and its famous beaches are one of the top tourist destination of Tourists in Inida. It is the capital city of Kerala , the "God's own Country
Some of the important tourist destinations of Trivandrum
- Kovalam is 12kms to the south of Thiruvananthapuram and is one of the finest beaches in India . It has been developed into an integrated seaside resort.
- Vizhinjam About 2kms south of Kovalam, it is believed to be an ancient port. The Dutch and Portugese had commercial establishments here.
- Ponmudi A pleasant resort at an elevation of 912m above sea level. It is 61 kms from Thiruvananthapuram and connected by road.
- Veli lagoon The boat club attracts tourists by providing facilities for pedal boating , row boating , swimming on the placid waters of the veli lake.
Poovar is a small coastal fishing island at the southern tip of Thiruvananthapuram district in Kerala . The village is embraced by a beautiful beach on one side and the backwaters on the other. During high tides, an estuary links it to the sea. It is very close to harbor of Vizhinjam and is a network of lagoons, lakes, canals, estuaries, deltas, interspersing forty-four rivers that join the Arabian Sea .Located 38km from the State capital, a fifteen-minute boat ride reaches you at Poovar
Thenmala is a tourist place near Punalur town, Kollam district in Kerala . The first eco tourism project in India is located at Thenmala. Thenmala attracts foreign and domestic tourists with a host of attractions. Boating on the lake, a rope bridge, trekking, mountaineering, biking and a musical fountain . Thenmala is approachable both from Trivandrum and Punalur by road. The waterfall called Palaruvi is a prime attraction nearby
What to shop in Kerala.
- Ivory carving
- Pottery brocade fabrics
- Earthern ware products.
- Indian spices.
- Coconut Shell Craft
- Metal Inlaid Wood Craft
- Coir Products
- Horn Carving
- Bamboo Mat Paintings
- Metal ware
- Kathakali masks
- Tea and coffee
- Spices like: Black Pepper, Cardamom, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Ginger etc
- Koftgari works
- Wood Carving
- Marquetry in wood
- Ivory and Buffalo horn Carving
- Screw Pine mat Making
- Bamboo Reed Weaving
- Palmyra Leaf Weaving
- Kora Grass Mat Making
- Rattan or Cane work
- Embroidery and Lace Making
- Lapidary work
- Granite carving
- Coconut shell carving
- Lacquer work
- Cotton map making
- Toys and Dolls
- Coir Products
- Musical instruments manufacturing
Food and specialities.
- Banana Chips
- A typical Kerala feast, referred to as sadya, is spread out temptingly on a clean green banana leaf. And the food is to be eaten with the fingers. Even the dessert, payasam, that tastes like rice pudding, is served on the leafy plate.
- Sambar, rasam, olan, kaalan, pachadi, kichadi, aviyal, thoran and so on.
- A typical Kerala breakfast may be puttu, which is rice powder and grated coconut steam cooked together, idli and sambar, dosai and chutney, idiappam (string hoppers), or the most delicious of them all, the appam.Appam is a kind of pan cake made of rice flour fermented with a small amount of toddy (fermented sap of the coconut palm) which is circular in shape, rather like a flying saucer, edged with a crisp lacy frill. It is eaten with chicken or vegetable stew. Kanji (rice gruel) and payaru (green gram), kappa (casava) and fish curry are traditional favourites of Keralites.
Local Language of Kerala: Malayalam.