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Map of Kerala            Kerala a small state tucked away in the south west of  India, looks almost insignificant on the map of India. But it is one of the  most beautiful states of India with the greenery of Switzerland, the canals of Venice, the beaches of Brazil all packed into this tiny  strip of land. 
            Kerala with slightly more than 1% of Indian landmass  has  about  3% of its population.In fact it is so densely populated that it  is often considered as one big metropolis. Kerala has always set the standard for the rest of the country in many a social index. It is the  first (and only) state in the country to be 100% literate, no mean feat in a  country where the average literacy rate is only 52%. Kerala also has the lowest birth ,death , growth and infant   mortality rates in the country. The 2nd state in the country to be 100 % electrified, Kerala also has one of the highest communications coverage
in the country. Kerala had the first democratically elected communist government in the
world in 1957.

     The history of Kerala extends back to about 1000 B.C.  Legend has it that Kerala rose from the sea , when Parasurama , an incarnation of the Hindu God Vishnu, threw  his axe into the sea. Because of the protection offered by   the Western Ghats  , a mountain range stretching along the eastern boundary of the state, Kerala has remained immune from land invasions. But it has had a lot of visitors who came by the sea. Kerala's wealth of spices had always made it an important destination for ancient traders. Starting with the Phoenicians, Kerala is said to have been visited by King Solomon's ships around 1000B.C. Kerala later had  trade links with Greece, Rome, China, Arabia and later on the Portugese, Dutch and finally the British. Called a "mental asylum" by Swami Vivekananda for its strong caste structure, Kerala became the first state to break away from the shackles of casteism when the King of Travancore, one of the three princely states which later formed the state, opened its temples to all castes , in 1936.  The Travancore Legislative Assembly is the oldest in the country, making Kerala the cradle of Indian democracy.  

          Kerala has a rich religious tradition. It has one of the oldest Synagogues in the country. Christianity and Islam reached its shores within a few years of their founding. Both these religions have contributed in no small way towards the cultural vibrancy of the state.  Despite a heavy religious mixture , Kerala has displayed high religious tolerance and has enjoyed a level of  communal harmony that is the envy of   many other regions of India. 

     The capital of  Kerala is the small, but beautiful city of Thiruvananthapuram. The southern most  district of Kerala, the city of Thiruvananthapuram is famous for its Kovalam beach, rated one of the best in
the world. A very elegant city ,Trivandrum is one of the cleanest in the country. The Napier museum, Zoo , Sree  Padmanabha Swami Temple , Kanakakunnu Palace and the resort of Ponmudi are the other places of  interest in Trivandrum. Being India's 5th international airport and an important railway junction , Trivandrum is well connected and is easily accessible from anywhere in the world. 
Napier Museum, Trivandrum
Kathakali - A dance form of Kerala.        Kerala is rich with a variety of art forms. Perhaps the most  famous is the dance form of Kathakali . There  are other famous art forms like theyyam, thullal,   krishnanattam,  oppana, thiruvathirakkali,   mohiniattam,   margamkali and   panchavadyam.   

         Kerala has also produced world famous painters like Raja Ravi Varma and famous exponents of Carnatic Music like  Swati Tirunal.  Kerala literature, both ancient and contemporary, has produced some gems. Kerala has  produced a Booker  prize winner in Arundhati Roy. Along with Bengal, Kerala produces some of the most critically acclaimed  films in  India and directors like Aravindan, Adoor Gopalakrishnan and  Shaji Karun are well known names  in the world cinematic stage.To explore deeper into this beautiful place,please visit our links page, which offers a number of links to various sites about Kerala.


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