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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Kerala - God's own country


Kerala or Keralam  is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. Kerala has the highest Human Development Index in India, higher than that of most developed countries. The state has the highest literacy rate in India with 93.91 percent.  It hopes to be the first e-literate state in India through the state run Akshaya project. The state recently became and is currently the only one to have banking facilities in every village. Kerala is also ranked as India's cleanest state. Kerala has witnessed significant migration of its people, especially to the Persian Gulf countries during the Kerala Gulf boom and it's economy has significant dependence on remittances from its large Malayali expatriate community.
 


 

 


 


Kerala is a top tourist destination in India; backwaters, beaches, Ayurvedic tourism and tropical greenery are the major attractions. 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". The Kerala Government Tourism Department, a government department in charge of promoting tourism has adopted the slogan God's Own Country for its campaigns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kerala is wedged between the Lakshadweep sea and the Western Ghats. Lying between north latitudes 8°18' and 12°48' and east longitudes 74°52' and 77°22', Kerala experiences the humid equatorial tropic climate. The eastern region of Kerala consists of high mountains, gorges and deep-cut valleys immediately west of the Western Ghats' rain shadow. Forty-one of Kerala’s west-flowing rivers, and three of its east-flowing ones originate in this region. The Western Ghats form a wall of mountains interrupted only near Palakkad (hence also known Palghat), where the Palakkad Gap breaks through to provide access to the rest of India. 

Specialties of  Kerala:

Back waters 

The Kerala backwaters are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast (known as the Malabar Coast) of Kerala state in southern India. The backwaters were formed by the action of waves and shore currents creating low barrier islands across the mouths of the many rivers flowing down from the Western Ghats range. The backwaters have a unique ecosystem - freshwater from the rivers meets the seawater from the Arabian Sea. In certain areas, such as the Vembanad Kayal, where a barrage has been built near Kumkakom, salt water from the sea is prevented from entering the deep inside, keeping the fresh water intact. Such fresh water is extensively used for irrigation purposes.

 

 

 

 

 

Houseboat
 

Have you ever gone cruising in a houseboat on the backwaters of Kerala? If you haven't, make sure you do. This one is really a wonderful and unforgettable experience!
Present day houseboats are huge, slow moving exotic barges used for leisure trips, and are in fact reworked version of kettuvallams of olden times. The original kettuvallams were used to carry tons of rice and spices. A standard kettuvallam can hold up to 30 tons from Kuttanad to the Kochi port.

 

 



The kettuvallam is held together with coir knots. Not even a single nail is used during the construction of the boat.. The boat is made of planks of jack-wood joined together with coir. This is then coated with a caustic black resin made from boiled cashew kernels. With careful maintenance, a kettuvallam can last for generations.

 

 

 

A portion of the kettuvallam was covered with bamboo and coir to serve as a restroom and kitchen for the crew. Meals would be cooked onboard and supplemented with freshly cooked fish from the backwaters.
When the modern trucks replaced this system of transport, some one found a new way that would keep these boats, almost all of which were more than 100 years old, in the market. By constructing special rooms to accommodate travelers, these boats cruised forward from near-extinction to enjoy their present great popularity.

 

 


 Today, the houseboats have all the creature comforts of a good hotel including furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, cozy living rooms, a kitchen and even a balcony for angling. Parts of the curved roof of wood or plaited palm open out to provide shade and allow uninterrupted views. While most boats are poled by local oarsmen, some are powered by a 40 HP engine. Boat-trains - formed by joining two or more houseboats together are also used by large groups of sightseers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Festivals of Kerala :

Festivals are true celebrations in God's Own Country; occasions when grandeur prevails over the characteristic simplicity of the Kerala lifestyle. Be it the state festival of Onam or the one at a local place of worship, new attire and sumptuous feasts are a must for the celebrations.

Chettikulangara Bharani

 

 

Machattu Mamangam

 

 

 

Onam 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Pulikali

 

 

 

 

 

Adoor Gajamela

 

 

 

 

 

Thaipooyam Mahotsavam

 

 

Cuisine:
Cuisine in Kerala has roots in the history, geography and culture of the land. These can be classified under the two standard headings - vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. While the non-vegetarian dishes are all heavily spiced, the vegetarian repertoire is mildly spiced and feels especially easier on the non-native tongue.

Aattirachi (Mutton) Ularthiyathu

 

Ada Pradhaman


Arikkadukka

 

Chemmeen Varuthathu

 

Kappa & Meen Mulakittathu

 

 

Karimeen pollichathu 
 
 

 

Kaya Attirachi Curry

 


Meen Moleshyam


Pazham Nirachathu

 

 


Puttu and Kadala Curry



Thalassery Kozhicurry


Few Popular destinations:

Alappuzha
Alappuzha beach is a popular picnic spot. The pier, which extends into the sea here, is over 137 years old. Entertainment facilities at the Vijaya Beach Park add to the attraction of the beach. There is also an old lighthouse nearby which is greatly fascinating to visitors.




 

 

 

Bekal
The imposing fort at Bekal is one of the largest and best preserved forts in Kerala. The beautiful expanse of the shallow beach near the Bekal fort known as Bekal Fort Beach has been developed as an exotic beach location. A beautiful walkway has been laid for the visiting tourists to explore the beauty of the fine coastline and enjoy the panoramic view of the Bekal Fort.



 

 

 

 

Fort Kochi
The historic town of Fort Kochi, there is no better choice than setting out on foot. Relax, breathe deep and come out in cotton dresses, soft shoes and yes - a straw hat. At each and every nook of this island steeped in history, there is something amusing awaiting you. It is a world of its own, retaining the specimens of a bygone era and still proud of those days. If you can smell the past, nothing can stop you from walking through these streets. This fort was built in 1503 and reinforced in 1538. Walking a bit further, you come across the Dutch cemetery. Consecrated in 1724 and managed by the Church of South India, the tomb stones here silently remind visitors of those Europeans who left their homeland to expand their colonial empires.


  

 

 

 

Kovalam
Kovalam is an internationally renowned beach with three adjacent crescent beaches. It has been a favourite haunt of tourists, especially Europeans, since the 1930s. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing. The leisure options at this beach are plenty and diverse. Sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages, special cultural programmes and catamaran cruising are some of them. The tropical sun acts so fast that one can see the faint blush of coppery tan on the skin in a matter of minutes. he beach complex includes a string of budget cottages, Ayurvedic health resorts, convention facilities, shopping zones, swimming pools, Yoga and Ayurvedic massage centres.

 

 

 

 

Munnar
One of the attractions that contributed to Kerala's popularity as a travel destination among domestic and foreign travellers. Situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Muthirapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. This hill station is marked by vast expanses of tea plantations, colonial bungalows, rivulets, waterfalls and cool weather. It is also an ideal destination for trekking and mountain biking. 





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wayanad
Wayanad is one of the few districts in Kerala that has been able to retain its pristine nature. Hidden away in the hills of this land are some of the oldest tribes, as yet untouched by civilization. And the very first prehistoric engravings in Kerala discovered in the foothills of Edakkal and around Ambukuthimala bear testimony to a pre-historic culture dating back to the Mesolithic Age. Strikingly scenic, it is known for its sub-tropical savannahs, picturesque hill stations, sprawling spice plantations, luxuriant forests and rich cultural traditions. A holistic confluence of wilderness, history and culture, Wayanad is located on the southern tip of the magnificent Deccan plateau.



 

 

 

Muzhapilangad
Muzhapilangad beach which stretches across four kilometres of sand is a drive-in-beach where one can drive down the entire length. Calm and serene, the place is secluded and remains unexplored. Huge black rocks scattered here protect this long beach from the deep currents, and form a tranquil pool of shallow waters that is a swimmer's paradise. The palm groves fringing the beach are a cool hideaway from the tropical sun.

  

 

 

 

The world famous Ayurveda.... its a must for a visitor to go through this session.

Ayurveda - harmony of body, mind and soul 






Sprouted in the pristine land of India some 2500 years ago, Ayurveda, the science of life and longevity, is the oldest healthcare system in the world. Followed by the Dravidians and Aryans alike, it combines the profound thoughts of medicine and philosophy. Since then Ayurveda has stood for the wholesome physical, mental and spiritual growth of humanity around the world. Today, it's a unique, indispensable branch of medicine, a complete naturalistic system that depends on the diagnosis of your body's humours - vata, pitta and kapha - to achieve the right balance.
 




Kerala, the Land of Ayurveda
Kerala possesses an unbroken tradition of Ayurveda that has surpassed the many invasions and intrusions both foreign and native. For hundreds of years the Ayurveda Vaidyas (practitioners of Ayurveda) were almost the only access for people seeking healing from every kind of disease in Kerala. The legendary eight families of Vaidyas (Ashta vaidyas) and their successors treated the entire state for centuries. Unlike the other Indian states the status of Ayurveda in Kerala is not alternative but mainstream. In fact, today, Kerala is the only State in India which practices this system of medicine with absolute dedication. 


Being the only resort of treatment for the people, the Vaidyars of Kerala were challenged to interpret the theories of Ayurveda and adapt them actively into effective healing systems in everyday life. Thus almost all the contemporary procedures and protocols of Ayurveda have evolved in and around Kerala.



Advantages of Ayurveda of kerala
Ashtangahridayam, the practical, user friendly interpretation of Ayurveda, compiled by the great Vagbata is seldom used anywhere in the world as it is extensively done in Kerala. The Vaidyars of Kerala are proficient in this most contemporary treatise of Ayurveda which many scholars consider an advancement over the earlier samhitas of Charaka and Sushruta, the pioneers of Ayurveda. It is in Kerala that Kashaya Chikitsa (treatment with concoction) has become a standardised protocol involving hundreds of Kashayams that were scientifically classified and organised according to various treatment needs. Keralite Vaidyars where the first to focus on the anti oxidant properties of Abayangam leading to the profusion of kizhis. The largest number of Ayurveda colleges and the largest number of practitioners in comparison to any place in the world has led to a tradition of Ayurveda research in a scientific manner in Kerala.



 

Ayurveda as a lifestyle
In Kerala Ayurveda is not just a healthcare system but it is a part and parcel of every aspect of life, in fact it is a lifestyle in Kerala so to speak. The miracles like paralysed people walk, incurable diseases cured etc. that happen even today inspires respect and awe for the vaidyars of Kerala.







3 comments:

  1. You have given very good information and images of Kerala and Kerala Backwaters, Houseboats, festivals, cuisines, ayurveda and some other known destinations. Kerala is very beautiful place for tourism with many opportunities to explore the thing. One should go there once in a lifetime.
    Tourism in Kerala

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kerala is beautiful place to visit with good packages. Budget packages in Kerala offers many good packages like backwater packages, houseboat packages etc. One should avail these Kerala Packages to enjoy the vacation.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Kerala with good hotels is good place to visit and enjoy the vacation. There are many budget hotels in Kerala with many good packages. Kerala Hotels also provide the packages for the houseboats and resorts. Avail the services for Munnar hotels, Alleppey hotels, Kovalam hotels etc.

    ReplyDelete