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Kerala-At a Glance

Presentation · October 2017

DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.19375.43680


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A. Balasubramanian
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Kerala - At a Glance
Welcome to the state of Kerala

( A Video Documentary Script)

Prof. A. Balasubramanian*
Centre for Advanced Studies in Earth Science,
University of Mysore ,Mysore
*(Former Director: -Culture and Cultural Relations-Pondicherry University, -
Educational Multimedia Research Centre-University of Mysore)


India is one of the mostly preferred destinations for international tourists. Tourism is a very
promising industry in India. India is a country with a large number of tourist spots and
attractive features. India is a country known for its culture, heritage, history and natural
resources. All the states and union territories have a good number of locations catering to the
domestic and international tourists. Flanked by the Arabian Sea in the West, the towering
Western Ghats in the East and networked by 44 interconnected rivers, Kerala is blessed with
a unique set of geographical features that have made it one of the most sought after tourist
destinations in Asia. A long shoreline with serene beaches, tranquil stretches of emerald
backwaters, lush hill stations and exotic wildlife, are just a few of the wonders that await you
once you crossover to the other side.

State Profile (Population, Area, Language, Borders, Literacy level)

Kerala prides itself for being the flag bearer for not just how a culture can respect its past but
also march forward with growth & progress as well. Hundred percent literacy, world-class
health care systems, India's lowest infant mortality and highest life expectancy rates are
among a few of the milestones that the people of the state are extremely proud of.
Kerala is a state located on the Malabar Coast of south-west India. The state covers an area of
38,863 square kilometers with 31,838,619 inhabitants. The state Kerala shares its border
with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The capital of Kerala state is Thiruvananthapuram.
Malayalam is the most widely used and official language of the state. Other languages that
used here are Tamil and English. The state has the quality of life in the county with excellent
physical infrastructure and it has 90.9% literacy level.


Kerala is divided into three geographical regions: Highlands, which slope down from the
Western Ghats onto the Midlands of undulating hills and valleys into an unbroken 580 km
long coastline with many picturesque backwaters, interconnected with canals and rivers. The
wild lands are covered with dense forests, while other regions lie under tea and coffee
plantations or other forms of cultivation. Most of the state is engulfed in rich greenery which
ensures a very calming experience at all times.

Physiography (Mountain and Forest)

Kerala has a forest area of 11,125 sq km, which covers almost 29 percent of the total land
area of the state. The forest area of Kerala is spread over the Western Ghats which is one of
the world's hot spots of bio-diversity. It is rich in a wide variety of rare and endangered flora
and fauna.

Types of forests found in Kerala

Kerala's total recorded forest covers 28.90% of the total land area of the state. Forests of
Kerala are broadly classified into 5 major categories,Kerala's wildlife and vegetation,
National Parks in Kerala, Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala.
Forests of Kerala are broadly classified into 5 major categories. They are :

# Forest Type Area (lakh ha.)

1 Tropical Wet Evergreen Forest 3.480

2 Tropical Moist Deciduous Forests 4.100

3 Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests 0.094

4 Mountain Sub Tropical Forests 0.188

5 Plantations 1.538

Much of the forest cover of Kerala is spread over the Western Ghats. The Western Ghats
represents one of the world's 18 hot spots of bio-diversity and is considered to be a repository
of endemic, rare and endangered flora and fauna. There are 28 vegetation types in the state,
but the existence of most is doubtful. 51% of the total forest cover is in the southern districts
and the remaining 49 percent is in the central and northern regions. Idukki and
Pathanamthitta districts have the largest area under forest cover. Alappuzha is the only
district without any area under forest cover.

At present there are 5 National Parks in Kerala - Silent Valley National Park, Eravikulam
National Park, Paampadum Shola National Park, Aanamudi Shola National Park and
Mathikettaan Shola National Park. Apart from this, there are 11 Wild life Sanctuaries, 2 Bird
Sanctuary and a Tiger Reserve - Periyar Tiger Reserve, in the state. In the beginning of the
19th century 75% of Kerala was under forest cover which diminished to 50% by the
beginning of 20th century. To avoid further degradation, most of the forest area were brought
under Reserve Forest.


Compared to other Indian states, Kerala lies closer to the equator. Yet Kerala is bestowed
with a pleasant and equable climate throughout the year. Bestowed with a pleasant and
equable climate throughout the year, Kerala is a tropical land where one can relax and be at
ease. The Monsoons (June-September and October-November) and summer (February-May)
are the seasons markedly experienced here, while Winter is only a slight drop in temperature
from the normal range of 28-32°C. The generally pleasant climate prevalent here is what our
guests end up loving. Monsoon is the best season to visit Kerala. Temperate climate and
heavy rainfall assist in the maintenance of greenery in the woods. This is the only reason why
there are so many wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala. These forests are the ultimate paradise for
the nature lovers and others who are interested in wildlife.

Short History

Kerala's history is closely linked with its commerce, which until recent times revolved around
its spice trade. Celebrated as the Spice Coast of India, ancient Kerala played host to travelers
and traders from across the world including the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese,
Dutch, French and the British. Almost all of them have left their imprints on this land in some

form or the other and that has helped us mould and design our own special way of interacting
with the world.
The name Kerala is widely explained as the "the land of coconuts", derived from Malayalam
word "kera" which means coconut. The present state kerala is create on 1st November 1956,
with the political merging of three earlier distinct areas; the North Malabar region, as far up
the coast covering Tellicherry, Cannanore and Kasargode and excluding the tiny pocket of
French possession, Mahe , the princely State of Cochin forming the middle section and the
third region comprised Travancore, another princely State, covering the southern area.

State is known for what?

Kerala is called as the God's Own Country in India. It is famous for its lush green forests,
swinging coconuts, palm fringed beaches, engaging backwaters and the Ayurveda treatment
resorts, all being unique to Kerala.


Kerala presents a varied relief throughout its length and breadth and is well connected to the
rest of India by road, rail, and air.


There are three airports located in kerala at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, and Kozhikode, of
which the first two are international airports. Helicopter and air taxis also operate between
Kochi and Trivandrum but prove to be an expensive option.


The Indian Railways' Southern Railway line runs through the state, connecting most major
towns and cities. The railway network in the state is controlled by three divisions of Southern
Railway, namely Trivandrum Railway Division, Palakkad Railway Division and Madurai
Railway Division. Kerala's major railway stations are Kannur, Kozhikode, Shornur Junction,
Palakkad Junction, Thrissur, Ernakulam Junction, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Chengannur,
Kayamkulam Junction, Kollam Junction and Thiruvananthapuram Central.


The length of road network in Kerala is about 1, 50,851 kilometers. Kerala Transport
Corporation and private bus operators operate local bus services at regular intervals. These
buses have been classified into 4 categories, namely, Ordinary, Fast Passenger, Super Fast,
and Deluxe Express.

Time zone, Currency and No. Of Districts

Throughout the India, the time zone is same of all the States i.e. Indian standard Time +5:30
The Indian rupee is the official currency of the Republic of India. The issuance of the
currency is controlled by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The new Indian rupee symbol
INR is derived from the Devanagari. The first series of coins with this new rupee symbol was
launched on 8 July 2011.
The modern rupee is subdivided into 100 paise though this division is now theoretical; as of
30 June 2011, coin denominations of less than 50 paise ceased to be legal tender. Bank notes
are available in nominal values of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and higher denominations. Coins of
the rupee are available in 1, 2, 5 and 10. Paise coins of the rupee have nominal values of 50,
and lower denominations have been officially withdrawn.

The state of Kerala is divided into 14 revenue districts. They are, Alappuzha, Ernakulam,
Idukki, Kannur, Kasargod, Kollam, Kottayam, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad,
Pathanamthitta, Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Wayanad.

Historical Monuments/ Architecturally Significant Building/ Mansions

Ernakulam, Idukki and Kozhikode are the some of the major historical destinations in

Ernakulam is the commercial capital of Kerala has the great historical monuments.
 Bastion Bunglow is built in the Indo-European style way back in 1667 AD, The
building blends beautifully into the circular structure of the bastion, has a tiled roof
and typical first floor verandah in wood, along its front portion.
 Jews synagogue is located at Chennamangalam. The Hebrew stone inscription having
eight lines shows that the synagogue was built in 1615 and the expenditure was met
by David Gastiline, one of the leaders of the Jews.
Idukki is another interesting place in Kerala. The Ezhuthupara at Marayoor is noted for the
collection of Pre-historic cave paintings. Pictures in this megalithic art gallery are drawn in
two different media consisting of reddish brown soil containing multicoloured iron minerals
and white clay soil.
Kozhikode is famous for Vasco de Gama. The Vasco de Gama landed at Kappad a few
miles north of Kozhikode on 27th may 1498. It was an event which was destined to write the
name of Kerala in the annals of world history.

Hill Stations

Munnar, PonMudi, Devikulam and Peerumedu are some of the most famous hill stations
in Kerala.
Munnar is characterized by being the confluence of three rivers, the Mudrapuzha,
Nallathanni and Kundala. Clean and pure, the district is also home to the famous
Neelakurunji plant, which blooms only once in 12 years.
Ponmudi is the beautiful and peaceful hill station situated at a distance of 61 km from
Thiruvananthapuram. It is a part of the Western Ghats mountain range that runs parallel to the
Arabian Sea.
Devikulam is a small hill station about 16 km from Munnar in the Idukki District of the
southern state of Kerala in India. It is 1800 m above sea level.
Peerumedu is blessed with a history. It is located around 85 km to the east of Kottayam, the
weather of Peerumedu is invitingly cool and moist.

Zoo/ Parks/Gardens/Jungles

There are two main zoo’s in Kerala one at Thiruvananthapuram and another at Thrissur.
Both these zoo have museums, botanical and zoological garden in the zoo premises.
Thiruvananthapuram zoo was established by Travancore King in the year 1857, it covers a
total area of 55 acres. The zoo was built with the aim of recreation but then later decided to
conserve it. There are a variety of plants and trees in the premise that beautifies the zoo.
Thrissur zoo was established in the year 1885 in Chembukavu in Thrissur district. It covers a
total area of 13 acres of land. The main aim of this zoo is conservation of animals and has
taken measures for breeding of animals.

Wildlife Sanctuary and National Parks

The forests of Kerala are home to rare and magnificent wild life like the wild Elephant, Tiger,
Panther, Indian Bison and Nilgiri tahr. The Silent Valley National Park is home to the
endangered Lion-Tailed Macaques.Apart from this the wildlife population of Kerala includes
Gaur, Spotted Deer, Sambar, the endangered Giant Grizzled Squirrel, Hanuman Langur,
Sloth Bear, Flying Squirrels, jungle cat, wild boar, a variety of monkey species, Leopards,
Wolves, Wild Dogs, Civet Cats etc.. Kerala's forests are also home to a variety of reptiles like
King Cobras, Vipers, Pythons, Rat Snakes, Cobras, different varieties of lizards, Turtles and
crocodiles etc.

Kerala is also home to a wide population of birds of various species like the great and grey
hornbill, darters, cormorants, mynahs, Peacock, oriels, racket-tailed and other drongoes,
bulbuls, kingfishers, woodpeckers, Ceylon frogmouth, jungle fowl, parakeets, ducks etc..
Also, Kerala is visited each year by a variety of migratory birds.

There are 5 National Parks and 13 Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala. Important Sanctuary and
national parks among them are,
 The Chinnar Wild life sanctuary is located about 60 kilometers from Munnar, the
sanctuary occupies the forested region on either side of the Marayoor - Udumalped
 The Eravikulam National Park is a plateau at an average height of 6500 feet, about
30 kilometers from Munnar. This park was originally established to protect the
Nilgiri Tahr, which found its way into the endangered list of animals in the Wildlife
 The Periyar tiger reserve is one of the most prestigious regions on the high ranges
of the Western Ghats and is one among the world's most fascinating natural wildlife
 The Idukki Wild life sanctuary occupies the forestland between the Cheruthoni
River and the Periyar River. A picturesque lake, a majestic arch dam across two hills
and roaming herds of elephants and gaur are sights that lure everyone to deciduous

Palace/ Fort/Museums/Art Gallery

Some of the famous Museums, Forts, and Palaces that are present in the Kerala are
Bloghatty, Alwaye, Bekal Fort, Krishnapuram Palace, Hill Palace Museum, and
Kannur Fort.
 The Bolghatty Palace is located near the city of Ernakulam. It has been converted
into KTDC hotel. The hotel stands comfortably on an Island by the same name and is
a two-storied structure with historical portraits adorning the walls.
 The Alwaye palace is standing on the banks of river Periyar, the Alwaye palace has
now been converted into a Guest House.
 The Bekal Fort claims to be 300 year old. The fort was primarily built as a defensive
structure and therefore has no palace inside. There is an old mosque near the fort
which is believed to have been constructed by the Mysore forces.
 The Krishnapuram Palace is situated at a distance of 47 km from Alappuzha. The
palace today serves as an archaeological museum displaying the largest mural panels
of Kerala.
 The Hill Palace Museum is built in the year 1865. This was the official residence of
the royal family of Kochi. Today, the palace is a Heritage Museum and displays all
sorts of royal relics including the royal furniture.
 The Kannur Fort is also known by the name of St Angelo's Fort was constructed in
1505 by a Portuguese called Don Francisco De Almeida.

Tourist Spot: Trekking, Boating / Spots / Race course /Golf clubs

In most of the hill stations trekking are offered that will be very interesting to see the Hot spot
from hill.

Canoe riding is drift along the serene waterways in a country craft while enjoying the cool
breeze with the adorable noise of different species of birds.

Kollam is situated near the famous Ashtamudi Lake and is one of the most scenic landscapes.
The lush green vegetation and placid and crystal clear water makes the backwaters of Kollam
the gateway to the beautiful backwaters of Kerala, where everyone can enjoy the boating.

Temples/Pilgrimage Centers/ Mosques/ Churches/ Jain etc.

Sabarimala Temple, Guruvayoor Temple, Pazhayyangadi Mosque, Mamburam

Mosque, Jain Temples, St. Mary's Church are the important temple, mosque and
churches in Kerala.

Sabarimala Temple is located atop a hill in the Western Ghats. It is dedicated to Lord
Ayyappa. Sabarimala is believed to be named after Shabari.

Sri Krishna Temple is located at Guruvayoor. Local belief is that, the temple was created
by "Guru", the preceptor of the Gods, and "Vayu", the God of winds.

The Pazhayyangadi Mosque in Kondotti located at Malappuram District is famous for its
Valia Nercha festival that has continued for over 500 years, held during February/ March.
Another famous Mosque is the Mamburam, is a major Pilgrimage centre and has the
mausoleum of famous Thangals.

Jain temples can be found in Wayanad and one of them was used by Tippu Sultan, the King
of Mysore, to store his battery of weapons and lent the name Sultan Battery to this place in
Wayanad. Jain temples are present in Kozhikode and Kasargode.

St.Mary’s Chruch is located Kozhikode. It was founded in 1860 for members of the
collectorate. A tomestone in the adjacent cemetery is dated 17/17.
Other important temples are The Chottanikkara Temple, Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple,
and the Vadukkumnathan Temple.

Handicraft/ Dress Materials/Whole sales products

Kerala have the incredible handicraft and dress material and it can be buy in the wholesales
products. Kerala deals with cotton textile materials, fabrics, home furnishings, upholstery
fabrics, shorting, ladies dress materials, makeups, table linen, bed linen, fashion garments,
shirts, trousers, pants, and children wear. Kerala makes handicraft as Ganesh Sitting,
Elephant with Decoration, Jumping Horse everything is made of woods like rose wood,
sandal wood, teak wood, white wood and many more.

Celebrations/Festivals/ Dance/ Music

The classical arts of Kerala dates back to thousands of years. Some of the classical arts of
Kerala are Kathakali, Chakyarkoothu, Koodiyattam, Mohiniyattam, Krishnanattam,
Patakam and Thullal.

Kathakali is the popular art form of Kerala. Kathakali literally means the story play. This
spectacular classical dance drama is based on the guidelines laid by the Natya Sastra.

The Krishnanattam dance originated as a votive offering to Sree Krishna. This dance is
performed in groups and based on the Krishna Geetha, the Sanskrit text.

Mohiniyattam is another classical dance of Kerala. This dance of the enchantress combines
the graceful elegance of Bharatanatyam and the vigour and dynamism of Kathakali, to create
a mood that is predominantly sringara.

Chakyarkoothu also known as Koothu, is one of the oldest classical theatre arts of Kerala.
The solo dance is usually presented in the Koothambalam of temples with the mizhavu and

Patakam literally means dissertation. Patakam is similar to Koothu in technical content,

gestures and movements.

Koodiyattam that literally means dancing together is one of the oldest dance dramas in India.
This dance drama is associated with temple rituals and was recently selected by UNESCO as
one among the ‘Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’.

Thullal is a modification of the Koothu and characterized by simplicity of presentation, wit

and humour. This dance form was originated by Kunjan Nambiar, one of the leading poets of

Kalaripayattu, the martial art form of Kerala is regarded as the oldest and most scientific in
the world. The training in combat is given at the Kalari.


The biodiversity of the Western Ghats is the main component of the biodiversity of Kerala.
The entire State is blessed with year-round greenery. Evergreen forests are its main biological
treasure house. Favourable climate and soil conditions and other affable physical factors are
responsible for the biological richness. In Kerala humidity is very high at an average of 70
percent. Structurally, Kerala has different geo-physical areas such as forests, marshes,
mangroves, ponds, seashores and deltas. The Western Ghats which form the mountain ranges
of south-western India have been considered a ‘Hot spot’ due to their wide range of endemic
forms of biodiversity of genera, species and races, which include nearly 2000 species of
higher plants, 84 species of fishes, 87 species of amphibians, 89 species of reptiles, 15
species of birds and 12 species of mammals – all endemic to the Western Ghats.


Though the state is small in size with comparatively small area under forest cover, Kerala is
the medley of a variety of vegetations and forest types. The forest types of Kerala include
Tropical Wet Evergreen Forests, Tropical Moist Deciduous Forests, Tropical Dry Deciduous
Forests, Mountain Sub Tropical, Rolling Grasslands, Shola Forest, Thorny Scrub Forest, high
Sholas etc.. This wide range of forest types enables the growth of a rich variety of flora. The
trees of the Tropical Dense Evergreen Forests are - White Pine, Kuntherekka Pine, Punnappa,
Bhadraksham, Palai, Vediplavu, Maravuri, Vayana etc.. The Moist Deciduous Forest include
trees such as Teak, Maruthi, Karimaruthi, Rosewood, Venteak, Vengal, Chadachi,
Mazhukanjiram, Bamboo etc.. The only south Indian coniferpodocarpus wallichianus grows
in the region around the Periyar Reserve. Apart from the trees the states forests are also home
to thousands species of flowering and non-flowering plants, orchids and medicinal plants.


 In January there is 10-days annual festival at Sreekandeswaram Temple located in

 In February, is the week-long Nishagandhi dance festival
 In April-May, the Pooram festival is conducted at Thrissur. It is flavored food festival,
at the Kanakakunnu Palace grounds.
 The annual harvest festival begins in august and lasts for 10 days which is called as
Onam week Celebrations.
 Another important festival is the annual Pongala Utsavam, where only women are
allowed at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple located in Thiruvananthapuram.
 Therayattam festival is held to propitiate the gods and demons recognized by the
pantheon of the Malayalis.

Educational Hubs/ Industrial Hubs

Thrissur Set is a major education hub with the State Cabinet giving its nod for setting up a
‘World Class University’ at Puthur and a ‘Science City’ in Kainur and Thrissur. It is known
as the cultural capital of Kerala.

Hotels (Five star, Four star, three star) and facility.

Kerala Hotels range from luxurious hotels, Budget hotels, to boutique hotels. The rooms are
excellently well-equipped with all the modern facilities. There are business center,
recreational facilities, doctor on call, money changer, travel desk, swimming pool, bars and
many more.
Star hotels that are present here are,
 Taj Residency
 Club Mahindra Lakeview
 The Avenue Regent Hotel
 The Marari Beach
 Prince Hotel

Tourist Dept. Office / Conducted Tourist operators / Guide facility

There are many tourist department offices and information center available in and around the
state. The entire information center provides the information about the official guide facility
and transport facility.
Some of the major information centers are,
 Thiruvananthapuram Tourist Facilitation Centre
 Kollam DTPC Tourist Information Centre
 Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC)
 Dept. of Tourism located at North Kumarakom.


Kerala has one of the best qualified professionals in each and every field like Allopathic,
Dental, and Ayurveda etc.
Some of the well-equipped hospitals of Kerala are,
 Kerala Institute of Medical Science
 Chelsa Medical Care
 Century Hospital
 Thrissur Heart Hospital Limited
 Ahalya Ayurvedic Hospital

Shopping Center/ Malls / Business Centers.

Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram are the hot spot of shopping center for the entire visitor.
The most famous mall preset over here are,
 Oberon Mall
 Gold Souk Grande Kochi
 Abad Nucleus Mall
 Carmel Towers
 Bay Pride Mall

Cinema Halls /Film Cities

The Cinema of Kerala or Malayalam cinema is a part of Indian cinema, where motion
pictures are produced in the Indian state of Kerala in the Malayalam language.
Best cinema halls present here are,
 Sreekumar is outstanding movie hall located at Trivandrum.
 Sree Padmanabha is Cinema Hall at East Fort in Trivandrum
 Kairali Theater is one of the famous theather in Thambanoor
 Ajantha is a popular hall located in East Fort region of Trivandrum.
 Ramya Theater at the Ayurveda College Junction in Trivandrum.
 Kalpana Theater is located at Pattom. This cinema hall runs various shows daily. It
shows all latest blockbuster movies as well as regional ones.

Food Habits

Most famous foods of the state are,

 Thorans is fried gravy-less dishes of finely chopped par-boiled vegetables, meat or
seafood. They are marinated with mixtures of coconut, chillies, some mild spices,
onions and popped mustard seeds.
 Avial is a mixed vegetable thick dish. A variety of vegetables are chopped and par-
boiled then cooked in coconut milk.
 Olen is a gravy dish of gourd and dry beans and again, coconut milk (a favorite
ingredient of Malayalee cuisine).
 Kaalan is thick gravy made of semi-ripe Kerala Bananas cooked in thick yogurt and
seasoned with turmeric, chilly, cumin seeds and curry-leaves.
 Pachadi is made of vegetables cooked in curds. It has a distinctive tangy taste.

Safety and precautions

There are many important features of vacation. It is not an option but a compulsory measure
that has to be taken while travelling anywhere. General safety and precautions are,
 First aid tool kid is the most important one that everyone has to carry while
 Travelling at night is unsafe.
 Keep a photocopy of your passport and all other important documents in a safe
 Don't share taxis with strangers.
 Make a note of emergency exits, stairwells, fire escapes and emergency plans at
 And always have local police and ambulance number to make emergency call.

Kerala has plenty of such tourist locations. Each location speaks in volume almost its
uniqueness. The pride of India lies in every tourist spot.

Thank you


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