Kerala (Malayalam: കേരള / കേരളം) is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was formed on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam-speaking regions.The name Kerala takes the form Keralam in Malayalam, the main language of the state.

The state has an area of 38,863 km2 (15,005 sq mi) and a population of 3.33 crore (33.3 million). It is bordered by Karnataka to the north and north-east, Tamil Nadu to the east and south, and the Arabian Sea to the west. Thiruvananthapuram is the state capital; other major cities are Kochi (Cochin) and Kozhikode (Calicut).

The Chera Dynasty was the first powerful kingdom based in Kerala, though it frequently struggled against attacks by the neighboring Cholas and Pandyas. During the Chera period Kerala became an international spice trading center. Later, in the 15th century, the lucrative spice trade attracted Portuguese traders to Kerala, and eventually paved the way for the European colonization of the whole of India.

Kerala is an important international and internal tourist destination: the backwaters, beaches, Ayurvedic tourism, and tropical greenery are among its major attractions. National Geographic's Traveler magazine named Kerala as one of the "ten paradises of the world" and "50 must-see destinations of a lifetime"; Travel + Leisure listed it as "one of the 100 great trips for the 21st century".

Subdivisions

Kerala's fourteen districts are distributed among Kerala's six historical regions: North Malabar (far-north Kerala), South Malabar (northern Kerala), Kochi (central Kerala), Northern Travancore, Central Travancore (southern Kerala) and Southern Travancore (far-south Kerala).

Transport


Roads

Kerala has 145,704 kilometres (90,536 mi) of roads (4.2% of India's total). This translates to about 4.62 kilometres (2.87 mi) of road per thousand population, compared to an average of 2.59 kilometres (1.61 mi) in all India. Virtually all of Kerala's villages are connected by road.
Roads in Kerala include 1,524 km of national highway (2.6% of the nation's total), 4341.6 km of state highway and 18900 km of district roads. Most of Kerala's west coast is accessible through two national highways, NH 47 and NH 17, and the eastern side is accessible through various State Highways. There is also a Hill Highway (Kerala) proposed, to make easy access to eastern hills.
NH 17 connects Edapally (Kochi) to Panvel (Maharashtra) and is the longest stretch of national highway in the state (421 km) Starting from the city of Kochi it passes through Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod before entering Karnataka state. The other major stretch of national highway in the state is National Highway 47, which connects Salem to Kanyakumari and passes through the major towns and cities like Palakkad, Thrissur, Kochi, Alappuzha, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram. The Salem-Kochi stretch of this highway is a part of North-South Corridor of the Indian highway system. The length of the National Highway 47 (India) through Kerala is 416.8 km.[133] NH 49 (Kochi – Dhanushkodi), NH 208 (Kollam – Thirumangalam), NH 212 (Kozhikode – Mysore), NH 213 (Kozhikode – Palakkad), NH 220 (Kollam – Theni) are the other national highways serving the state of Kerala.
The Department of Public Works is responsible for maintaining and expanding the state highways system and major district roads.The Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP), which includes the GIS-based Road Information and Management Project (RIMS), is responsible for maintaining and expanding the state highways in Kerala; it also oversees a few major district roads.
Traffic in Kerala has been growing at a rate of 10–11% every year, resulting in high traffic and pressure on the roads. Kerala's road density is nearly four times the national average, reflecting the state's high population density. Kerala's annual total of road accidents is among the nation's highest. The accidents are mainly the result of the narrow roads and irresponsible driving.

Railways

The Indian Railways' Southern Railway line runs through the state, connecting most major towns and cities except those in the highland districts of Idukki and Wayanad.
Dates of beginning of railway transport in various sections of the state are given below:
BeyporeTirur (12 March 1861); ShoranurErnakulam (1902); ShenkottaiPunalur (26 November 1904);Nilambur-Shoranur (1927); PunalurThiruvananthapuram (4 November 1931); ErnakulamKottayam (1956); KottayamKollam (1958); Thiruvananthapuram–Kanyakumari (1979); ThrissurGuruvayur (1994).
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. Thiruvananthapuram Central is the busiest railway station in the state and second busiest in the Southern Railway Zone after Chennai Central. Kerala's major railway stations are Kannur, Kozhikode, Tirur, Shornur Junction, Palakkad Junction, Thrissur, Angamaly For Kalady, Ernakulam Town, Ernakulam Junction, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Tiruvalla, Chengannur, Kayamkulam Junction, Kollam Junction and Thiruvananthapuram Central.

Airports

Kerala has three major international airports, at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode. Two more international airports are proposed, at Kannur and Pathanamthitta. The Cochin International Airport is the busiest and largest in the state, and was the first Indian airport to be incorporated as a public limited company; it was funded by nearly 10,000 non-resident Indians from 30 countries. Trivandrum International Airport was the first international airport in an Indian non-metro city.

Inland water transport

Kerala, with numerous backwaters, is one of the few states in India where waterways are successfully used for commercial inland navigation. The transportation is mainly done with country craft and passenger vessels. There are 67 navigable rivers in Kerala. The total length of the inland waterways in the state is 1687 km. The main constraints to the expansion of inland navigation are lack of depth in the waterway caused by silting, lack of maintenance of navigation system and bank protection, accelerated growth of the water hyacinth, lack of modern inland craft terminals, and lack of a cargo handling system. A 205 km canal, National Waterway 3, runs between Kottapuram and Kollam.

Culture

The culture of Kerala is composite and cosmopolitan in nature and it's an integral part of Indian culture. It has been elaborated upon through centuries of contact with neighboring and overseas cultures. However, the geographical insularity of Kerala from the rest of the country has caused to develop a distinctive outlook in every sphere of culture such as lifestyle, art, architecture, language, literature and social institutions. The Malayalam calendar (also known as Kollavarsham), a solar calendar started from 825 CE in Kerala, serves as the official calendar of Kerala and finds common usage in planning agricultural and religious activities.

Dance

Kerala is home to a number of dance and artforms. Dance forms which originated in Kerala are today popular worldwide especially the Kathakali dance form. Some of the most popular dance forms in Kerala are: Kathakali,Theyyam,Thullal,Koodiyattam,Duffmuttu or Aravanmuttu,Margamkali,Kaikottikali or Thiruvathirakali,Thitambu Nritham.

Music

Development of classical music in Kerala is attributed to the contributions it received from the traditional performance arts associated with the temple culture of Kerala. Development of the indigenous classical music form, Sopana Sangeetham, illustrates the rich contribution that temple culture has made to the arts of Kerala.

Elephants

Elephants have been an integral part of culture of Kerala. Kerala is home to the largest domesticated elephant population in India—about 700 Indian elephants, owned by temples as well as individuals. These elephants are mainly employed for the processions and displays associated with festivals celebrated all around the state. About 10,000 festivals are celebrated in the state annually and some animal lovers have sometimes raised concerns regarding the overwork of domesticated elephants. In Malayalam literature, elephants are referred to as the 'sons of the sahya. The elephant is the state animal of Kerala and is featured on the emblem of the Government of Kerala.

Tourism


Kerala is one of the popular tourist destinations in India. Its culture and traditions, coupled with its varied demographics, have made Kerala one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. National Geographic's Traveller magazine names Kerala as one of the "ten paradises of the world" and "50 must see destinations of a lifetime". Travel and Leisure names Kerala as "One of the 100 great trips for the 21st century". Kerala's beaches, backwaters, mountain ranges and wildlife sanctuaries are the major attractions for both domestic and international tourists. The city of Kochi ranks first in the total number of international and domestic tourists in Kerala.

Until the early 1980s, Kerala was a relatively unknown destination. But in 1986 the government of Kerala declared tourism as an industry and it was the first state in India to do so.Aggressive marketing campaigns launched by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, the government agency that oversees tourism prospects of the state, laid the foundation for the growth of the tourism industry. In the decades that followed, Kerala's tourism industry was able to transform the state into one of the niche holiday destinations in India. Many innovative marketing strategies were used and the advertisements branded Kerala with a catchy tagline Kerala, God's Own Country. Today, Kerala tourism is a global brand and regarded as one of the destinations with highest recall. In 2006, Kerala attracted 8.5 million tourist arrivals, an increase of 23.68% over the previous year, making the state one of the fastest-growing destinations in the world. In 2011, tourist inflow to Kerala crossed the 10-million mark.

Kerala has also pioneered health and medical tourism in India and has attained international attention in this segment. Though the idea of health tourism in Kerala is heavily concentrated on Ayurveda, it is also a good destination for other forms of treatment, including allopathy and homeopathy. Ayurvedic tourism became very popular since the 1990s, and private agencies like Kottakkal Arya Vydyasala played a notable role in tandem with the initiatives of Tourism Department. Kerala is known for its ecotourism initiatives and in this segment it promotes mountaineering, trekking and bird-watching programmes in the Western Ghats as the major products.

The state's tourism industry is a major contributor to the state's economy, which is currently growing at a rate of 13.31%. The revenue from tourism increased fivefold between 2001 and 2011 and crossed the INR190 billion mark in 2011. Moreover, the industry provides employment opportunity to 1.2 million people.
The most popular tourist attractions in the state are beaches, backwaters and hill stations. Major beaches are at Kovalam, Varkala, Kappad, Muzhappilangad and Bekal. Popular hill stations are at Munnar, Wayanad, Wagamon, Peermade, Nelliampathi and Ponmudi. Kerala's ecotourism destinations include 12 wildlife sanctuaries and two national parks: Periyar Tiger Reserve, Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary, and Eravikulam National Park are the most popular among them. The "backwaters" are an extensive network of interlocking rivers (41 west-flowing rivers), lakes, and canals that center around Alleppey, Kumarakom, Kollam and Punnamada (where the annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held in August). Cities such as Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode are popular centres for their shopping and traditional theatrical performances.

Kerala is also a center of heritage and religious tourism sites. Padmanabhapuram Palace and the Mattancherry Palace are two notable heritage sites. The state is also famous for the large number of festivals (about 10,000 per year) it celebrates; of these, Onam and Thrissur Pooram attract a large inflow of foreign tourists. According to a survey conducted among foreign tourists, Elephants, fireworks display and huge crowd are the major attractions of Thrissur Pooram. The main pilgrim tourist spots of Kerala are Sabarimala Temple, Aranmula Temple, Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Guruvayoor Temple, Chettikulangara Temple, Vadakumnathan Temple, Sarkara Devi Temple, Padanilam Parabrahma Temple, Beemapally mosque, Saint Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Malayattoor, Parumala Church (Pathanamthitta) and St. Francis Church, KochiSaint Alphonsa Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Bharananganam is also a destination of pilgrimage tourism.


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Courtesy: Wikipedia

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  1. aayush v says:

    please share the route information .. .

  2. aayush v says:

    can you please send me a route map kerala please.
    behappy151@gmail.com

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