Kerala
Overview
 
or Keralam is an Indian state
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

 located on the Malabar coast
Malabar Coast
The Malabar Coast is a long and narrow coastline on the south-western shore line of the mainland Indian subcontinent. Geographically, it comprises the wettest regions of southern India, as the Western Ghats intercept the moisture-laden monsoon rains, especially on their westward-facing mountain...

 of south-west
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

 India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act
States Reorganisation Act
The States Reorganisation Act of 1956 was a major reform of the boundaries and governance of India's states and territories. The act reorganised the boundaries of India's states along linguistic lines, and amended the Indian Constitution to replace the three types of states, known as Parts A, B,...

 by combining various Malayalam speaking regions.

The state has an area of 38863 km² (15,005 sq mi) and is bordered by Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

 to the north and northeast, Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

 to the south and southeast and the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

on the west. The city of Thiruvananthapuram
Thiruvananthapuram
Thiruvananthapuram , formerly known as Trivandrum, is the capital of the Indian state of Kerala and the headquarters of the Thiruvananthapuram District. It is located on the west coast of India near the extreme south of the mainland...

 is the state capital. Kochi
Kochi
-Places:* Kochi, a city in the state of Kerala, India, formerly known as Cochin* Kingdom of Cochin, a former feudal city-state on Malabar Coast, India** Fort Kochi, one of the three main urban components which constitute the present day city of Kochi, Kerala, India...

 and Kozhikode
Kozhikode
Kozhikode During Classical antiquity and the Middle Ages, Kozhikkode was dubbed the "City of Spices" for its role as the major trading point of eastern spices. Kozhikode was once the capital of an independent kingdom of the same name and later of the erstwhile Malabar District...

 are other major cities.
Encyclopedia
or Keralam is an Indian state
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

 located on the Malabar coast
Malabar Coast
The Malabar Coast is a long and narrow coastline on the south-western shore line of the mainland Indian subcontinent. Geographically, it comprises the wettest regions of southern India, as the Western Ghats intercept the moisture-laden monsoon rains, especially on their westward-facing mountain...

 of south-west
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

 India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act
States Reorganisation Act
The States Reorganisation Act of 1956 was a major reform of the boundaries and governance of India's states and territories. The act reorganised the boundaries of India's states along linguistic lines, and amended the Indian Constitution to replace the three types of states, known as Parts A, B,...

 by combining various Malayalam speaking regions.

The state has an area of 38863 km² (15,005 sq mi) and is bordered by Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

 to the north and northeast, Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

 to the south and southeast and the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

on the west. The city of Thiruvananthapuram
Thiruvananthapuram
Thiruvananthapuram , formerly known as Trivandrum, is the capital of the Indian state of Kerala and the headquarters of the Thiruvananthapuram District. It is located on the west coast of India near the extreme south of the mainland...

 is the state capital. Kochi
Kochi
-Places:* Kochi, a city in the state of Kerala, India, formerly known as Cochin* Kingdom of Cochin, a former feudal city-state on Malabar Coast, India** Fort Kochi, one of the three main urban components which constitute the present day city of Kochi, Kerala, India...

 and Kozhikode
Kozhikode
Kozhikode During Classical antiquity and the Middle Ages, Kozhikkode was dubbed the "City of Spices" for its role as the major trading point of eastern spices. Kozhikode was once the capital of an independent kingdom of the same name and later of the erstwhile Malabar District...

 are other major cities. According to a survey by The Economic Times
The Economic Times
The Economic Times is an English-language Indian daily newspaper published by the Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.. The Economic Times was started in 1961. It is the most popular and widely read financial daily in India, read by more than 8 lakh people...

, five out of ten best cities to live in India are located in Kerala. Kerala is a popular tourist destination for its backwaters
Kerala Backwaters
The Kerala backwaters are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast of Kerala state in southern India. The network includes five large lakes linked by canals, both manmade and natural, fed by 38 rivers, and extending virtually half the length of Kerala state...

, yoga
Yoga
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating on Supersoul...

, Ayurvedic treatments
Ayurveda
Ayurveda or ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional medicine native to India and a form of alternative medicine. In Sanskrit, words , meaning "longevity", and , meaning "knowledge" or "science". The earliest literature on Indian medical practice appeared during the Vedic period in India,...

 and tropical greenery.

Kerala has the highest Human Development Index
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate "very high human development", "high human development", "medium human development", and "low human development" countries...

 in India, comparable with that of first world nations
First World
The concept of the First World first originated during the Cold War, where it was used to describe countries that were aligned with the United States. These countries were democratic and capitalistic. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the term "First World" took on a...

 but with a much lower per capita income. The state has the highest literacy rate in India with 99 percent. The state recently became and is currently the only one to have banking facilities in every village. A survey conducted in 2005 by Transparency International
Transparency International
Transparency International is a non-governmental organization that monitors and publicizes corporate and political corruption in international development. It publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index, a comparative listing of corruption worldwide...

 ranked Kerala as the least corrupt state in the country. Kerala has witnessed significant migration of its people, especially to the Persian Gulf countries
Persian Gulf States
Persian Gulf States can refer to:* Countries in the Middle East bordering the Persian Gulf and sometimes known as the Gulf States: Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates....

 during the Kerala Gulf boom
Kerala Gulf boom
The Kerala Gulf diaspora refers to the people of Kerala living in the Middle eastern Arab states of the Persian Gulf. They number more than 2.5 million as of 2008.- The Gulf Boom :...

 and is heavily dependent on remittances
Remittances
A remittance is a transfer of money by a foreign worker to his or her home country. Note that in 19th century usage a remittance man was someone exiled overseas and sent an allowance on condition that he not return home....

 from its large Malayali expatriate community.

Etymology

Kerala is abundant in greenery and nature. Kerala is often referred to as Keralam by the natives (Malayali
Malayali
Malayali is the term used to refer to the native speakers of Malayalam, originating from the Indian state of Kerala...

s). Scholars agree that Kerala transliterates Classical Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 Cheralam ("Land of the Cheras") or chera-alam, ("declivity of a hill or a mountain slope/range"). The state was anciently called Cheralam and Cherala Nadu. A 3rd-century BCE rock inscription by emperor Asoka the Great references Kerala as Keralaputra. The Graeco-Roman trade map Periplus Maris Erythraei references Kerala's Chera
Chera dynasty
Chera Dynasty in South India is one of the most ancient ruling dynasties in India. Together with the Cholas and the Pandyas, they formed the three principle warring Iron Age Tamil kingdoms in southern India...

 territory as Cerobothra.

Prehistory


Evidence of Kerala's early human occupation includes Dolmen
Dolmen
A dolmen—also known as a portal tomb, portal grave, dolmain , cromlech , anta , Hünengrab/Hünenbett , Adamra , Ispun , Hunebed , dös , goindol or quoit—is a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of...

s of the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 era, in the Marayur area. They are locally known as "muniyara", derived from muni (hermit
Hermit
A hermit is a person who lives, to some degree, in seclusion from society.In Christianity, the term was originally applied to a Christian who lives the eremitic life out of a religious conviction, namely the Desert Theology of the Old Testament .In the...

 or sage, and ara (dolmen).

Rock-engravings in the Edakkal Caves
Edakkal Caves
Edakkal Caves are two natural caves at a remote location at Edakkal, 25 km from Kalpetta in the Wayanad district of Kerala in India's Western Ghats. They lie 1,200 metres above sea level on Ambukutty Mala, beside an ancient trade route connecting the high mountains of Mysore to the ports of...

 (in Wayanad) are thought to date from the early to Late Neolithic eras around 5000 B.C. The use of a specific Indus script
Indus script
The term Indus script refers to short strings of symbols associated with the Indus Valley Civilization, in use during the Early Harappan and Mature Harappan period, between the 35th and 20th centuries BC. In spite of many attempts at decipherments and claims, it is as yet undeciphered...

 pictogram in these caves suggests some relationship with the Indus Valley Civilization
Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that was located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India...

 during the late Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 and early Iron age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

.

Early history and culture

Kerala was a major spice exporter as early as 3,000 BCE, according to Sumerian Records
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

.

Kerala and Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

 once shared a common language and culture, within an area known as Tamilakam. In the 1st century BCE, Tamil-speaking Dravidian Villavar
Villavar
Villavar were the primary rulers among the Dravidians. Villavar emerged from the ancient martial clans of India. The Tamil Villavar were also known as Eyinar under the Pandyan Dynasty and Īḻanar in Sri Lanka and under the Chera Dynasty....

s established the Chera Dynasty
Chera dynasty
Chera Dynasty in South India is one of the most ancient ruling dynasties in India. Together with the Cholas and the Pandyas, they formed the three principle warring Iron Age Tamil kingdoms in southern India...

 that ruled northern Kerala from a capital at Vanchi
Vanchi (Indian Capital)
Vanchi was the ancient capital of the Chera kingdom till 2nd century AD. The Chera were one of the ancient dynasties which ruled parts of present day Central Kerala and parts of Tamil Nadu in southern India....

. Southern Kerala was ruled by the Pandyan Kingdom
Pandyan Kingdom
The Pandyan dynasty was an ancient Tamil dynasty. The Pandyas were one of the four Tamil dynasties , which ruled South India until the 15th century CE. They initially ruled their country Pandya Nadu from Korkai, a seaport on the Southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula, and in later times moved...

, with a trading port variously identified by ancient Western sources as "Nelcynda" and "Neacyndi" The Cheras had trading links with China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, West Asia, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. The value of Rome's annual trade with India as a whole was estimated at no less than 50,000,000 sesterces; contemporary Sangam literature
Sangam literature
Sangam literature refers to a body of classical Tamil literature created between the years c. 600 BCE to 300 CE. This collection contains 2381 poems composed by 473 poets, some 102 of whom remain anonymous The period during which these poems were composed is commonly referred to as the Sangam...

 describes Roman ships coming to Muziris
Muziris
Muziris is an ancient sea-port in Southwestern India on the Periyar River 3.2 km from its mouth. The derivation of the name Muziris is said to be from "Mucciripattanam," "mucciri" means "cleft palate" and "pattanam" means "city". Near Muziris, Periyar River was branched into two like a...

 in Kerala, laden with gold to exchange for pepper
Black pepper
Black pepper is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately in diameter, dark red when fully mature, and, like all drupes, contains a single seed...

. One of the earliest western traders to use the monsoon winds to reach Kerala may have been Eudoxus of Cyzicus
Eudoxus of Cyzicus
Eudoxus of Cyzicus was a Greek navigator who explored the Arabian Sea for Ptolemy VIII, king of the Hellenistic Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt.-Voyages to India:...

, around 118 or 166 BCE, under the patronage of Ptolemy VIII
Ptolemy VIII Physcon
Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II , nicknamed , Phúskōn, Physcon for his obesity, was a king of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt. His complicated career started in 170 BC, when Antiochus IV Epiphanes invaded Egypt, captured his brother Ptolemy VI Philometor and let him continue as a puppet monarch...

, king of the Hellenistic
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

 Ptolemaic dynasty
Ptolemaic dynasty
The Ptolemaic dynasty, was a Macedonian Greek royal family which ruled the Ptolemaic Empire in Egypt during the Hellenistic period. Their rule lasted for 275 years, from 305 BC to 30 BC...

 in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. Kerala is identified on the Tabula Peutingeriana
Tabula Peutingeriana
The Tabula Peutingeriana is an itinerarium showing the cursus publicus, the road network in the Roman Empire. The original map of which this is a unique copy was last revised in the fourth or early fifth century. It covers Europe, parts of Asia and North Africa...

, the only known surviving map of the Roman cursus publicus
Cursus publicus
The cursus publicus was the state-run courier and transportation service of the Roman Empire, later inherited by the Byzantine Empire. It was created by Emperor Augustus to transport messages, officials, and tax revenues from one province to another...

.

The Chera kings' dependence on trade meant that merchants from West Asia and Southern Europe established coastal posts and settlements in Kerala. The west Asian-semitic
Jewish, Christian, and Muslim immigrants established Juda Mappila, Nasrani Mappila
Syrian Malabar Nasrani
The Syrian Malabar Nasrani people, also known as Saint Thomas Christians, "'Nasrani Mappila'" and Nasranis, are an ethnoreligious group from Kerala, India, adhering to the various churches of the Saint Thomas Christian tradition...

, and Muslim Mappila
Mappila
Mappila or Moplah refers to a Muslim community of Kerala, primarily in the northern region called Malabar, which arose in Malabar as a result of the pre and post Islamic Arab contacts. Significant numbers of the community are also present in the southern districts of Karnataka and western parts of...

 communities respectively. The Jews first arrived in Kerala in 573 BC. According to local Syriac Nasrani Christian tradition as well as the works of scholars and Eastern Christian
Eastern Christianity
Eastern Christianity comprises the Christian traditions and churches that developed in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Northeastern Africa, India and parts of the Far East over several centuries of religious antiquity. The term is generally used in Western Christianity to...

 writings, Thomas the Apostle
Thomas the Apostle
Thomas the Apostle, also called Doubting Thomas or Didymus was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is best known for questioning Jesus' resurrection when first told of it, then proclaiming "My Lord and my God" on seeing Jesus in . He was perhaps the only Apostle who went outside the Roman...

 visited Muziris
Muziris
Muziris is an ancient sea-port in Southwestern India on the Periyar River 3.2 km from its mouth. The derivation of the name Muziris is said to be from "Mucciripattanam," "mucciri" means "cleft palate" and "pattanam" means "city". Near Muziris, Periyar River was branched into two like a...

 in Kerala circa 52 CE to proselytize amongst Kerala's Jewish settlements. The first mosque
Cheraman Juma Masjid
Cheraman Juma Masjid is a mosque in Methala, Kodungallur Taluk in the Indian state of Kerala. The Cheraman Masjid is said to be the very first mosque in India, built in 629 AD by Malik lbn Dinar. But, according to Nathan Katz, the accuracy of these claims is uncertain. It is believed that this...

, synagogue
Paradesi Synagogue
The Paradesi Synagogue is the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations, located in Kochi, Kerala, in South India. It was built in 1568 by the Malabar Yehudan people or Cochin Jewish community in the Kingdom of Cochin...

, and church
Palayoor
Palayoor or is a part of Thrissur district and is located on the west coast of Kerala, in India. By road it is 28 km from Thrissur on the Thrissur – Chavakad route via Pavaratty. It is very near to Guruvayoor, which is only 2 km away....

 in India were built in Kerala.

A later Chera Kingdom
Chera dynasty
Chera Dynasty in South India is one of the most ancient ruling dynasties in India. Together with the Cholas and the Pandyas, they formed the three principle warring Iron Age Tamil kingdoms in southern India...

 was established c. 800–1102, with the help of Arab spice merchants. This is also called the Kulasekhara dynasty
Kulasekhara
Kulasekhara or Later Chera dynasty was a classical Hindu dynasty founded by the saint King Kulashekhara Varman. The dynasty ruled the whole of modern Kerala state , Guddalore and some parts of Nilgiri district and Salem - Coimbatore region in southern India between 9th and 12th centuries AD...

, as it was founded by Kulasekhara Varman, a Vaishnavaite
Vaishnavism
Vaishnavism is a tradition of Hinduism, distinguished from other schools by its worship of Vishnu, or his associated Avatars such as Rama and Krishna, as the original and supreme God....

 saint. Ay kings ruled southern Kerala, but by the 10th century the Ay kingdom declined and became a part of the Chera Kingdom. A Keralite identity, distinct from the Tamils
Tamil people
Tamil people , also called Tamils or Tamilians, are an ethnic group native to Tamil Nadu, India and the north-eastern region of Sri Lanka. Historic and post 15th century emigrant communities are also found across the world, notably Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa, Australia, Canada,...

, became linguistically separate during this period. The Kulasekhara dynasty came to an end by twelfth century, weakened by the invasions of Pandyas and Cholas. In the absence of a strong central power, the state fractured into small principalities governed by Nair chieftains. From these, the kingdoms of Kochi
Kingdom of Cochin
Kingdom of Cochin was a late medieval Hindu kingdom and later Princely State on the Malabar Coast, South India...

, Venad
Venad
Venad Swarupam was one of the three prominent late medieval Hindu feudal kingdoms on Malabar Coast, south India, along with Kingdom of Calicut and Kingdom of Cannanore. In the early 14th century, Venad ruler Ravi Varma Kulasekhara had established a short-lived supremacy over southern India...

, Kolathiri
Kolathiri
Kolathiri or Kolathiri Rājā was the title by which the senior most male along the matilinial line of the Mushika or Kolathunādu Royal Family was styled...

 and Kozhikode
History of Kozhikode
Kozhikode , also known as Calicut, is a city in the southern Indian state of Kerala. It is the third largest city in Kerala and the headquarters of Kozhikode district....

 Samuthiri emerged.

The Colonial Era

The western spice-trade, especially in pepper
Black pepper
Black pepper is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately in diameter, dark red when fully mature, and, like all drupes, contains a single seed...

, became increasingly lucrative. Around the 13th century, the Portuguese
Portuguese India
The Portuguese Viceroyalty of India , later the Portuguese State of India , was the aggregate of Portugal's colonial holdings in India.The government started in 1505, six years after the discovery of a sea route to India by Vasco da Gama, with the nomination of the first Viceroy Francisco de...

 began to dominate the eastern shipping trade in general, and the spice-trade in particular, culminating in Vasco Da Gama
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira was a Portuguese explorer, one of the most successful in the Age of Discovery and the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India...

's arrival in Kappad
Kappad
Kappad, or Kappakadavu locally, is famous as the beach near Kozhikode , India, where the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama landed on May 20, 1498. His voyage established the sea route from Europe to India...

 Kozhikode
Kozhikode
Kozhikode During Classical antiquity and the Middle Ages, Kozhikkode was dubbed the "City of Spices" for its role as the major trading point of eastern spices. Kozhikode was once the capital of an independent kingdom of the same name and later of the erstwhile Malabar District...

 in 1498. On 25 March 1505, Francisco de Almeida
Francisco de Almeida
Dom Francisco de Almeida , also known as "the Great Dom Francisco" , was a Portuguese nobleman, soldier and explorer. He distinguished himself as a counsellor to King John II of Portugal and later in the wars against the Moors and in the conquest of Granada in 1492...

 was appointed Viceroy of Portuguese India, with headquarters at Kochi. The Portuguese had taken advantage of conflicts between Kozhikode
Saamoothiri
Zamorin is the title used by the Hindu Eradi Samanthan kshatriya rulers of the erstwhile late medieval feudal kingdom of Kozhikode located in the present day state of Kerala, India....

 and Kochi
Kingdom of Cochin
Kingdom of Cochin was a late medieval Hindu kingdom and later Princely State on the Malabar Coast, South India...

 to gain control of the trade, and established forts at Kannur
Kannur
Kannur , also known as Cannanore, is a city in Kannur district in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the administrative headquarters of the District of Kannur and 518km north of state capital Trivandrum. During British rule in India, Kannur was known by its old name Cannanore, which is still in...

, Cochin and Kollam
Kollam
Kollam , often anglicized as ', is a city in the Indian state of Kerala. The city lies on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake on the Arabian sea coast and is situated about north of the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram...

but the Saamoothiri
Saamoothiri
Zamorin is the title used by the Hindu Eradi Samanthan kshatriya rulers of the erstwhile late medieval feudal kingdom of Kozhikode located in the present day state of Kerala, India....

 of Kozikode and his admiral
Admiral
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

 Kunjali Marakkar
Kunjali Marakkar
The Kunhali Marakkar or Kunjali Marakkar was the title given to the Muslim naval chief of the Zamorin , Hindu king of Calicut, in present day state of Kerala, India during the 16th century. There were four major Kunhalis who played a part in the Zamorin's naval wars with the Portuguese from 1520...

 resisted, and in 1571 the Portuguese were defeated at Chaliyam fort.
The weakened Portuguese were ousted by the Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company
The Dutch East India Company was a chartered company established in 1602, when the States-General of the Netherlands granted it a 21-year monopoly to carry out colonial activities in Asia...

, who took advantage of continuing conflicts between Kozhikode
Saamoothiri
Zamorin is the title used by the Hindu Eradi Samanthan kshatriya rulers of the erstwhile late medieval feudal kingdom of Kozhikode located in the present day state of Kerala, India....

 and Kochi
Kingdom of Cochin
Kingdom of Cochin was a late medieval Hindu kingdom and later Princely State on the Malabar Coast, South India...

 to gain control of the trade. The Dutch in turn were weakened by constant battles with Marthanda Varma
Marthanda Varma
Marthanda Varma , was the founder of the Indian Hindu feudal kingdom of Travancore from Venad SwaroopamHe ruled from 1729 till his death in 1758, having succeeded his maternal uncle Dharma Raja.King Marthanda Varma is usually credited as the "founder of Kingdom of Travancore" from...

 of the Travancore Royal Family
Travancore Royal Family
The Travancore Royal Family descended from the Venad line of the Cheras and ruled over the Indian state of Travancore until 1947.The Royal family, alternatively known as the Kupaka Royal Family, Thripappur Swaroopam, Venad Swaroopam, Vanchi Swaroopam etc., has its seat today at Trivandrum in...

, and were defeated at the Battle of Colachel
Battle of Colachel
The Battle of Colachel was fought on between forces of the Indian kingdom of Travancore and the Dutch East India Company, during the Travancore-Dutch War...

 in 1741. The Dutch were allied to French forces in the transcontinental Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

; forces of the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 marched against them from Calicut and took their surrender and possessions on 20 Oct 1795. In 1766, Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in southern India. Born Hyder Naik, he distinguished himself militarily, eventually drawing the attention of Mysore's rulers...

, the ruler of Mysore
Kingdom of Mysore
The Kingdom of Mysore was a kingdom of southern India, traditionally believed to have been founded in 1399 in the vicinity of the modern city of Mysore. The kingdom, which was ruled by the Wodeyar family, initially served as a vassal state of the Vijayanagara Empire...

 invaded northern Kerala; his son and successor, Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan , also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. He was the son of Hyder Ali, at that time an officer in the Mysorean army, and his second wife, Fatima or Fakhr-un-Nissa...

, launched campaigns against the expanding British East India Company, resulting in two of the four Anglo-Mysore Wars
Anglo-Mysore Wars
The Anglo-Mysore Wars were a series of wars fought in India over the last three decades of the 18th century between the Kingdom of Mysore and the British East India Company, represented chiefly by the Madras Presidency...

. Tipu ultimately ceded Malabar District
Malabar District
Malabar District was an administrative district of Madras Presidency in British India and independent India's Madras State. The British district included the present-day districts of Kannur, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Malappuram, Palakkad , and Chavakad Taluk of Thrissur District in the northern part of...

 and South Kanara to the Company in the 1790s; the Company forged tributary alliances with Kochi in 1791 and Travancore in 1795. Malabar and South Kanara became part of the Madras Presidency
Madras Presidency
The Madras Presidency , officially the Presidency of Fort St. George and also known as Madras Province, was an administrative subdivision of British India...

.
There were major revolts in Kerala against British rule in the 20th century, until Independence was achieved. They include the 1921 Malabar Rebellion
Malabar Rebellion
The Malabar Rebellion was an armed uprising in 1921 against British authority in the Malabar region of Southern India by Mappila Muslims and the culmination of a series of Mappila revolts that recurred throughout the 19th century and early 20th century...

 and the 1946 Punnapra-Vayalar uprising
Punnapra-Vayalar uprising
The Punnapra-Vayalar uprising was a popular people's uprising in the Princely State of Travancore, British India against the Prime Minister, Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer and the state...

 in Travancore. Other actions by Kerala's political and spiritual leaders protested against social traditions such as untouchability, leading to the 1936 Temple Entry Proclamation
Temple Entry Proclamation
The Temple Entry Proclamation issued by Maharaja Shri Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma and his Dewan Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer in 1936 abolished the ban on low-caste people or avarnas from entering Hindu Temples in the state of Travancore .The edict is as follows:Today, the Temple Entry...

 that opened Hindu temples in Travancore to all castes; Malabar soon did likewise, and Cochin followed with a similar proclamation in 1948, after Independence. In the 1921 Moplah Rebellion, Mappila Muslims rioted against Hindu zamindars (see Zamindari system) and the British Raj
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

.

Post Independence

After British India was partitioned
Partition of India
The Partition of India was the partition of British India on the basis of religious demographics that led to the creation of the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India on 14 and 15...

 in 1947 into India and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Travancore
Travancore
Kingdom of Travancore was a former Hindu feudal kingdom and Indian Princely State with its capital at Padmanabhapuram or Trivandrum ruled by the Travancore Royal Family. The Kingdom of Travancore comprised most of modern day southern Kerala, Kanyakumari district, and the southernmost parts of...

 and Cochin
Kingdom of Cochin
Kingdom of Cochin was a late medieval Hindu kingdom and later Princely State on the Malabar Coast, South India...

 joined the Union of India and on 1 July 1949 were merged to form Travancore-Cochin
Travancore-Cochin
Travancore-Cochin or Thiru-Kochi is a former state of India . It was created on 1 July 1949 by the merger of two former princely states, the kingdoms of Travancore and Cochin....

. On 1 January 1950 (Republic Day), Travancore-Cochin
Travancore-Cochin
Travancore-Cochin or Thiru-Kochi is a former state of India . It was created on 1 July 1949 by the merger of two former princely states, the kingdoms of Travancore and Cochin....

 was recognised as a state. The Madras Presidency
Madras Presidency
The Madras Presidency , officially the Presidency of Fort St. George and also known as Madras Province, was an administrative subdivision of British India...

 was organised to form Madras State
Madras State
Madras State was the name by which the Indian districts in Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Northern Kerala, Bellary and Dakshina Kannada were collectively known as from 1950 to 1953....

 in 1947.

On 1 November 1956, the state of Kerala was formed by the States Reorganisation Act
States Reorganisation Act
The States Reorganisation Act of 1956 was a major reform of the boundaries and governance of India's states and territories. The act reorganised the boundaries of India's states along linguistic lines, and amended the Indian Constitution to replace the three types of states, known as Parts A, B,...

 merging the Malabar district, Travancore-Cochin (excluding four southern taluks
Tehsil
A Tehsil or Tahsil/Tahasil , also known as Taluk and Mandal, is an administrative division of some country/countries of South Asia....

, which were merged with Tamil Nadu), and the taluk of Kasargod, South Kanara. In 1957, elections for the new Kerala Legislative Assembly were held, and a reformist, Communist-led government came to power, under E.M.S. Namboodiripad.

Kerala in religious traditions

The oldest of the surviving Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 Puranas
Puranas
The Puranas are a genre of important Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religious texts, notably consisting of narratives of the history of the universe from creation to destruction, genealogies of kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, and descriptions of Hindu cosmology, philosophy, and geography.Puranas...

, the Matsya Purana
Matsya Purana
Matsya Purana is the sixteenth purana of the Hindu scriptures. During the period of mahapralaya, Lord Vishnu had taken Matsya Avatar to save the seeds of all lives and Manu...

, sets the story of the first of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

, the Matsya
Matsya
Matsya was the first Avatar of Vishnu in Hinduism. The great flood finds mention in Hindu mythology texts like the Satapatha Brahmana, where in the Matsya Avatar takes place to save the pious and the first man, Manu and advices him to build a giant boat.-The Legend:According to the Matsya...

 Avatar
Avatar
In Hinduism, an avatar is a deliberate descent of a deity to earth, or a descent of the Supreme Being and is mostly translated into English as "incarnation," but more accurately as "appearance" or "manifestation"....

, and King Manu
Manu (Hinduism)
In various Hindu traditions, Manu is a title accorded to the progenitor of mankind, and also the very first brahman king to rule this earth, who saved mankind from the universal flood. He was absolutely honest which was why he was initially known as "Satyavrata"...

 (King Satyavrata, mankind's ancestor), among Kerala's Malaya Mountains
Malaya Mountains
The Malaya Mountains were a range of mountains that were mentioned in the Matsya Purana, the Kurma Purana, and the epics of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata...

.

The earliest Sanskrit text to mention Kerala by name is the Aitareya Aranyaka.

The legendary king Mahabali
Mahabali
Mahabali , also known as Bali or Māveli was a benevolent Asura King, and the grandson of Prahlada. The festival of Onam commemorates his yearly homecoming after being sent down to the underworld by Vamana, the fifth avatar of Vishnu.-Conquest of the Universe and banishment:Bali, an asura, was the...

 is said to have ruled from Kerala in a reign of universal happiness and prosperity. On his passing away he was appointed ruler of the netherworld (Patalam) by Vamana
Vamana
Vamana is described in the Puranic texts of Hinduism as the Fifth Avatar of Vishnu, and the first incarnation of the Second Age, or the Treta yuga. Also he is the first Avatar of Vishnu which appears with a completely human form, though it was that of a dwarf brahmin. He is also sometimes known as...

, the fifth avatar of Lord Vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

. Once a year, during the Onam
Onam
Onam is a Hindu festival celebrated by the people of Kerala, India. The festival commemorates the Vamana avatar of Vishnu and the subsequent homecoming of the legendary Emperor Mahabali. It falls during the month of Chingam and lasts for ten days...

 festival, he returns to Kerala.

In the religious texts known as the Puranas
Puranas
The Puranas are a genre of important Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religious texts, notably consisting of narratives of the history of the universe from creation to destruction, genealogies of kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, and descriptions of Hindu cosmology, philosophy, and geography.Puranas...

, Kerala is Parasurama Kshetram ("The Land of Parasurama"). Parasurama was a warrior sage and an Avatar
Avatar
In Hinduism, an avatar is a deliberate descent of a deity to earth, or a descent of the Supreme Being and is mostly translated into English as "incarnation," but more accurately as "appearance" or "manifestation"....

 of Mahavishnu
Mahavishnu
Image:Hinducosm Map1.svg|thumb|Click an area to go there. This is one of many material universes which expand from Mahavishnu when He breathes.|300px|alt=One Brahmanda, with Garbhodakashayi-Vishnurect 216 61 277 80 Brahma...

. When he threw his battle axe from Gokarna
Gokarna, India
Gokarna is a village in the Uttara Kannada district of the Karnataka state, India. It is a Hindu pilgrimage centre as well as a tourist destination in India. Gokarna is a temple town and is referred to in a number of Hindu historical literature pieces. The main deity is Lord Mahabhaleshwara, a...

 into the sea at Kanyakumari
Kanyakumari
Kanyakumari is a town in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. It is also sometimes referred to as Cape Comorin. Located at the southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula, it is the geographical end of the Indian mainland. The district in Tamil Nadu where the town is located is called Kanyakumari...

, the land of Kerala arose from the waters. Tradition says that Parasurama minted gold coins called Rasi, sowed some of them in Travancore
Travancore
Kingdom of Travancore was a former Hindu feudal kingdom and Indian Princely State with its capital at Padmanabhapuram or Trivandrum ruled by the Travancore Royal Family. The Kingdom of Travancore comprised most of modern day southern Kerala, Kanyakumari district, and the southernmost parts of...

 and buried the surplus in cairns. Similar legends link Parasurama to the Pandyan dynasty.

The Kollam Era of the Malayalam calendar
Malayalam calendar
Malayalam calendar is a solar and sidereal Hindu calendar used in Kerala, India. The origin of the calendar has been dated as 825 CE....

 is also known as "Parasurama-Sacam". The Travancore Rajas claim descent from Chera King Bhanu Bikram, who was raised to the throne, by Parasurama. In the Keralolpatti, Parasurama chose the goddess Durga
Durga
For the 1985 Hindi Film of Rajesh Khanna see DurgaaIn Hinduism, Durga ; ; meaning "the inaccessible" or "the invincible"; , durga) or Maa Durga "one who can redeem in situations of utmost distress" is a form of Devi, the supremely radiant goddess, depicted as having eighteen arms, riding a lion...

 (Kali) as guardian of Kerala's sea-shore.

Geography and climate

Kerala is wedged between the Lakshadweep sea and the Western Ghats
Western Ghats
The Western Ghats, Western Ghauts or the Sahyādri is a mountain range along the western side of India. It runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain along the Arabian Sea. The Western Ghats block rainfall to the Deccan...

. 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 state has a coast of length 590 km (366.6 mi) and the width of the state varies between 35 and 120 km (22–75 miles). Geographically, Kerala can be divided into three climatically distinct regions: the eastern highlands (rugged and cool mountainous terrain), the central midlands (rolling hills), and the western lowlands (coastal plains). Located at the extreme southern tip of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

, Kerala lies near the centre of the Indian tectonic plate; hence, most of the state is subject to comparatively little seismic
Earthquake
An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time...

 and volcanic activity. Pre-Cambrian and Pleistocene
Pleistocene
The Pleistocene is the epoch from 2,588,000 to 11,700 years BP that spans the world's recent period of repeated glaciations. The name pleistocene is derived from the Greek and ....

 geological formations compose the bulk of Kerala’s terrain.
The eastern Kerala region consists of high mountains, gorges and deep-cut valleys immediately west of the Western Ghats' rain shadow
Rain shadow
A rain shadow is a dry area on the lee side of a mountainous area. The mountains block the passage of rain-producing weather systems, casting a "shadow" of dryness behind them. As shown by the diagram to the right, the warm moist air is "pulled" by the prevailing winds over a mountain...

. 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
Palakkad
Palakkad , formerly known as Palghat, is a municipality and a town in the state of Kerala in southern India, spread over an area of 26.60 km2.The city is situated about north of state capital Thiruvananthapuram. It is the administrative headquarters of Palakkad District...

, where the Palakkad Gap
Palakkad Gap
Palakkad Gap is a 30-40 kilometers wide low mountain pass in the Western Ghats, near Palakkad town in the South Indian State of Kerala. It has an elevation of . The hills rise to 1100m to the North of the gap, and 2000m to the South. The average height of the gap is 144m.The gap is the lowest...

 breaks through to provide access to the rest of India. The Western Ghats rises on average to 1,500 m (4920 ft) above sea level, while the highest peaks may reach to 2,500 m (8200 ft). Anamudi
Anamudi
Anamudi is located in the Indian state Kerala. It is the highest peak in the Western Ghats and South India, at an elevation of , and a topographic prominence of...

 is the highest peak at an elevation of 2,695 metres (8,842 ft). Just west of the mountains lie the midland plains comprising central Kerala, dominated by rolling hills and valleys. Generally ranging between elevations of 250–1,000 m (820–3300 ft), the eastern portions of the Nilgiri and Palni Hills
Palni Hills
The Palni Hills are a mountain range in Tamil Nadu state of South India. The Palni Hills are an eastward extension of the Western Ghats ranges, which run parallel to the west coast of India. The Palni Hills adjoin the high Anamalai range on the west, and extend east into the plains of Tamil Nadu,...

 include such formations as Agastya Mala
Agastya Mala
Agastya Mala is a peak within Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala in the Western Ghats of South India. The mountain lies on the border between the Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu...

 and Anamala.

Kerala’s western coastal belt is relatively flat, and is criss-crossed by a network of interconnected brackish canal
Canal
Canals are man-made channels for water. There are two types of canal:#Waterways: navigable transportation canals used for carrying ships and boats shipping goods and conveying people, further subdivided into two kinds:...

s, lakes, estuaries
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

, and rivers known as the Kerala Backwaters
Kerala Backwaters
The Kerala backwaters are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast of Kerala state in southern India. The network includes five large lakes linked by canals, both manmade and natural, fed by 38 rivers, and extending virtually half the length of Kerala state...

. Lake Vembanad
Vembanad Lake
Vembanad Lake is the longest lake in India, and the largest lake in the state of Kerala. It is also one of the largest lakes, in India. A lake spanning several districts in the state of Kerala, it is known by different names in different localities viz. Punnamada Lake in Kuttanad, Kochi Lake in...

, Kerala’s largest body of water, dominates the Backwaters; it lies between Alappuzha
Alappuzha
Alappuzha , also known as Alleppey, is a town in Alappuzha District of Kerala state of southern India. As per 2001 census Alleppey is the sixth largest city in Kerala with an urban population of 177,029. Alleppey is situated to the south of Kochi and north of Trivandrum...

 and Kochi
Kochi
-Places:* Kochi, a city in the state of Kerala, India, formerly known as Cochin* Kingdom of Cochin, a former feudal city-state on Malabar Coast, India** Fort Kochi, one of the three main urban components which constitute the present day city of Kochi, Kerala, India...

 and is more than 200 km² (77.2 sq mi) in area. Around 8% of India's waterways (measured by length) are found in Kerala. The most important of Kerala’s forty-four rivers include the Periyar
Periyar River
Periyar is the longest river in the state of Kerala, India, with a length of 244 km. The Periyar is known as the lifeline of Kerala; it is one of the few perennial rivers in the region and provides drinking water for several major towns...

 (244 km), the Bharathapuzha (209 km), the Pamba
Pamba River
Pamba River is the third longest river in the South Indian state of Kerala after Periyar and Bharathappuzha and the longest river in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore...

 (176 km), the Chaliyar
Chaliyar River
Chaliyar is the fourth longest river in Kerala at 169 km in length. The Chaliyar is also known as Beypore River as it nears the sea...

 (169 km), the Kadalundipuzha River
Kadalundipuzha River
Kadalundipuzha is one of the four most important rivers flowing through the Malappuram district in the state of Kerala, India. The other three are the Chaliyar, the Bharathapuzha and the Tirur River....

 (130 km), the Valapattanam
Valapattanam River
Valapattanam River is the largest river in the Kannur district, located in the South Indian state of Kerala. Valapattam town is located on its bank...

 (129 km) and the Achankovil
Achankovil River
The Achankovil Aar is a river in Kerala, India, formed towards the southern tip of the peninsula from the streams of the Rishimala River, Pasukidamettu River, and the Ramakkalteri River. This river enriches the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala state. It joins with the Pamba River at Veeyapuram,...

 (128 km). The average length of the rivers of Kerala is 64 km. Many of the rivers are small and entirely fed by monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

 rains. These conditions result in the nearly year-round water logging of such western regions as Kuttanad
Kuttanad
Kuttanadu is a region in the district of Alappuzha, in the state of Kerala, India, well known for its picturesque vast paddy fields and its geographical peculiarities. It's the region with the lowest altitude in India, and one of the few places in the world where farming is carried out below sea...

, 500 km² of which lies below sea level. As Kerala's rivers are small and lack deltas
River delta
A delta is a landform that is formed at the mouth of a river where that river flows into an ocean, sea, estuary, lake, reservoir, flat arid area, or another river. Deltas are formed from the deposition of the sediment carried by the river as the flow leaves the mouth of the river...

, they are more prone to environmental factors. The rivers also face problems such as sand mining and pollution. The state experiences several natural hazards
Geography of Kerala
Kerala’s 38,863 km² are wedged between the Arabian Sea to the west and the Western Ghats to the east. Kerala’s coast runs some 580 km in length, while the state itself varies between 35–120 km in width. Geographically, Kerala roughly divides into three climatically distinct regions...

 such as landslide
Landslide
A landslide or landslip is a geological phenomenon which includes a wide range of ground movement, such as rockfalls, deep failure of slopes and shallow debris flows, which can occur in offshore, coastal and onshore environments...

s, floods, lightning
Lightning
Lightning is an atmospheric electrostatic discharge accompanied by thunder, which typically occurs during thunderstorms, and sometimes during volcanic eruptions or dust storms...

 and droughts. The state was also affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

A catastrophic flood in Kerala in 1341 CE drastically modified its terrain and consequently affected its history. The course of the river Periyar
Periyar River
Periyar is the longest river in the state of Kerala, India, with a length of 244 km. The Periyar is known as the lifeline of Kerala; it is one of the few perennial rivers in the region and provides drinking water for several major towns...

 was changed, and the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

 receded several miles. The Kuttanad
Kuttanad
Kuttanadu is a region in the district of Alappuzha, in the state of Kerala, India, well known for its picturesque vast paddy fields and its geographical peculiarities. It's the region with the lowest altitude in India, and one of the few places in the world where farming is carried out below sea...

 region became cultivable, and the Muziris
Muziris
Muziris is an ancient sea-port in Southwestern India on the Periyar River 3.2 km from its mouth. The derivation of the name Muziris is said to be from "Mucciripattanam," "mucciri" means "cleft palate" and "pattanam" means "city". Near Muziris, Periyar River was branched into two like a...

 (Kodungalloor) harbour became defunct. A new harbour was developed at Kochi.

With 120–140 rainy days per year, Kerala has a wet and maritime tropical climate influenced by the seasonal heavy rains of the southwest summer monsoon. In eastern Kerala, a drier tropical wet and dry climate prevails. Kerala's rainfall averages 3,107 mm (122 in.) annually. Some of Kerala's drier lowland regions average only 1,250 mm (49 in.); the mountains of eastern Idukki district
Idukki district
Idukki district is one among the 14 districts of Kerala state, India. The district headquarters is located at in Painavu.It is the second least populous district in Kerala, after Wayanad .-Etymology:...

 receive more than 5,000 mm (197 in.) of orographic precipitation, the highest in the state.

During summer, Kerala is prone to gale force winds, storm surges, cyclone
Cyclone
In meteorology, a cyclone is an area of closed, circular fluid motion rotating in the same direction as the Earth. This is usually characterized by inward spiraling winds that rotate anticlockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere of the Earth. Most large-scale...

-related torrential downpours, occasional droughts, and rises in sea level. The mean daily temperatures range from 19.8 °C to 36.7 °C. Mean annual temperatures range from 25.0–27.5 °C in the coastal lowlands to 20.0–22.5 °C in the eastern highlands.

Flora and fauna

Much of Kerala's notable biodiversity is concentrated and protected in the Western Ghats
Western Ghats
The Western Ghats, Western Ghauts or the Sahyādri is a mountain range along the western side of India. It runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain along the Arabian Sea. The Western Ghats block rainfall to the Deccan...

. Almost a fourth of India's 10,000 plant species are found in the state. Among the almost 4,000 flowering plant
Flowering plant
The flowering plants , also known as Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants. Angiosperms are seed-producing plants like the gymnosperms and can be distinguished from the gymnosperms by a series of synapomorphies...

 species (1,272 of which are endemic
Endemic (ecology)
Endemism is the ecological state of being unique to a defined geographic location, such as an island, nation or other defined zone, or habitat type; organisms that are indigenous to a place are not endemic to it if they are also found elsewhere. For example, all species of lemur are endemic to the...

 to Kerala and 159 threatened) are 900 species of medicinal plant
Herbalism
Herbalism is a traditional medicinal or folk medicine practice based on the use of plants and plant extracts. Herbalism is also known as botanical medicine, medical herbalism, herbal medicine, herbology, herblore, and phytotherapy...

s.

Its 9,400 km² of forests include tropical wet evergreen and semi-evergreen forests (lower and middle elevations—3,470 km²), tropical moist and dry deciduous forests (mid-elevations—4,100 km² and 100 km², respectively), and montane subtropical and temperate
Temperate
In geography, temperate or tepid latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are generally relatively moderate, rather than extreme hot or cold...

 (shola) forests (highest elevations—100 km²). Altogether, 24% of Kerala is forested. Two of the world’s Ramsar Convention
Ramsar Convention
The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands, i.e., to stem the progressive encroachment on and loss of wetlands now and in the future, recognizing the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands and their economic, cultural,...

 listed wetland
Wetland
A wetland is an area of land whose soil is saturated with water either permanently or seasonally. Wetlands are categorised by their characteristic vegetation, which is adapted to these unique soil conditions....

s—Lake Sasthamkotta and the Vembanad-Kol wetlands
Vembanad Lake
Vembanad Lake is the longest lake in India, and the largest lake in the state of Kerala. It is also one of the largest lakes, in India. A lake spanning several districts in the state of Kerala, it is known by different names in different localities viz. Punnamada Lake in Kuttanad, Kochi Lake in...

—are in Kerala, as well as 1455.4 km² of the vast Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve
Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve
The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is an International Biosphere Reserve in the Western Ghats, Nilgiri Hills range of South India. The Western Ghats, Nilgiri Sub-Cluster , conjoining the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World...

. Subjected to extensive clearing for cultivation in the 20th century, much of the remaining forest cover is now protected from clearfelling. Kerala's fauna are notable for their diversity and high rates of endemism: 102 species of mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s (56 of which are endemic), 453 species of birds, 202 species of freshwater fishes, 169 species of reptile
Reptile
Reptiles are members of a class of air-breathing, ectothermic vertebrates which are characterized by laying shelled eggs , and having skin covered in scales and/or scutes. They are tetrapods, either having four limbs or being descended from four-limbed ancestors...

s (139 of them endemic), and 89 species of amphibian
Amphibian
Amphibians , are a class of vertebrate animals including animals such as toads, frogs, caecilians, and salamanders. They are characterized as non-amniote ectothermic tetrapods...

s (86 endemic). These are threatened by extensive habitat destruction, including soil erosion, landslides, salinization, and resource extraction.

Eastern Kerala’s windward mountains shelter tropical moist forests
Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests
Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests , also known as tropical moist forests, are a tropical and subtropical forest biome....

 and tropical dry forests
Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests
The tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forest biome, also known as tropical dry forest, is located at tropical and subtropical latitudes. Though these forests occur in climates that are warm year-round, and may receive several hundred centimeters of rain per year, they have long dry seasons...

, which are common in the Western Ghats. Here, sonokeling (Dalbergia
Dalbergia
Dalbergia is a large genus of small to medium-size trees, shrubs and lianas in the pea family, Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. The genus has a wide distribution, native to the tropical regions of Central and South America, Africa, Madagascar and southern Asia...

 latifolia), anjili, mullumurikku (Erythrina
Erythrina
Erythrina is a genus of flowering plants in the pea family, Fabaceae. It contains about 130 species, which are distributed in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. They are trees, growing up to in height...

), and Cassia number among the more than 1,000 species of trees in Kerala. Other plants include bamboo, wild black pepper
Black pepper
Black pepper is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately in diameter, dark red when fully mature, and, like all drupes, contains a single seed...

, wild cardamom
Cardamom
Cardamom refers to several plants of the genera Elettaria and Amomum in the ginger family Zingiberaceae. Both genera are native to India and Bhutan; they are recognised by their small seed pod, triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped, with a thin papery outer shell and small black seeds...

, the calamus
Calamus (palm genus)
Calamus is a genus of the palm family Arecaceae. These are among several genera known as rattan palms. There are some 325 species in this genus, all with a palaeotropical distribution. They are mostly leaf-climbers with slender, reedy stems...

 rattan
Rattan
Rattan is the name for the roughly 600 species of palms in the tribe Calameae, native to tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Australasia.- Structure :...

 palm (a type of climbing palm), and aromatic vetiver
Vetiver
Chrysopogon zizanioides, commonly known as vetiver , is a perennial grass of the Poaceae family, native to India. In western and northern India, it is popularly known as khus. Vetiver can grow up to 1.5 metres high and form clumps as wide. The stems are tall and the leaves are long, thin, and...

 grass (Vetiveria zizanioides
Vetiver
Chrysopogon zizanioides, commonly known as vetiver , is a perennial grass of the Poaceae family, native to India. In western and northern India, it is popularly known as khus. Vetiver can grow up to 1.5 metres high and form clumps as wide. The stems are tall and the leaves are long, thin, and...

). Living among them are such fauna as Indian Elephant
Indian Elephant
The Indian Elephant is one of three recognized subspecies of the Asian elephant, and native to mainland Asia. Since 1986, Elephas maximus has been listed as endangered by IUCN as the population has declined by at least 50% over the last three generations, estimated to be 60–75 years...

 (Elephas maximus indicus), Bengal Tiger
Bengal Tiger
The Bengal tiger is a tiger subspecies native to the Indian subcontinent that in 2010 has been classified as endangered by IUCN...

, Indian Leopard
Indian leopard
The Indian leopard is a leopard subspecies widely distributed on the Indian subcontinent. It is one of the five big cats found in India, apart from Asiatic lion, Bengal tiger, snow leopard and clouded leopard....

 (Panthera pardus fusca), Nilgiri Tahr
Nilgiri Tahr
The Nilgiri Tahr, Nilgiritragus hylocrius, known locally as the Nilgiri Ibex or simply Ibex, is an ungulate that is endemic to the Nilgiri Hills and the southern portion of the Western Ghats in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in southern India. It is the state animal of Tamil Nadu...

, Common Palm Civet
Common Palm Civet
The Asian Palm Civet , also called Toddy Cat, is a small member of the Viverridae family native to South and Southeast Asia...

, and Grizzled Giant Squirrel
Grizzled Giant Squirrel
The grizzled giant squirrel is a large tree squirrel in the genus Ratufa found in the highlands of the Central and Uva provinces of Sri Lanka, and in patches of riparian forest along the Kaveri River and in the hill forests in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala states of southern India...

. Reptiles include the King Cobra
King Cobra
The king cobra is the world's longest venomous snake, with a length up to 5.6 m . This species, which preys chiefly on other snakes, is found predominantly in forests from India through Southeast Asia to the Philippines and Indonesia...

 (Ophiophagus hannah), viper
Viperidae
The Viperidae are a family of venomous snakes found all over the world, except in Antarctica, Australia, Ireland, Madagascar, Hawaii, various other isolated islands, and above the Arctic Circle. All have relatively long, hinged fangs that permit deep penetration and injection of venom. Four...

, python, and Mugger Crocodile
Mugger Crocodile
The mugger crocodile , also called the Indian, Indus, Persian, or marsh crocodile, is found throughout the Indian subcontinent and the surrounding countries...

 (Crocodylus palustris) . Kerala's birds are legion—Malabar Trogon
Malabar Trogon
The Malabar Trogon is a species of bird in the trogon family. It is found in the forests of Sri Lanka and peninsular India. In India it is mainly found in the Western Ghats, hill forests of central India and in parts of the Eastern Ghats...

, the Great Hornbill
Great Hornbill
The Great Hornbill also known as Great Indian Hornbill or Great Pied Hornbill, is one of the larger members of the hornbill family. Great Hornbills are found in the forests of Nepal, India, the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra, Indonesia. Their impressive size and colour have made them important in...

, Kerala Laughingthrush, Darter
Darter
The darters or snakebirds are mainly tropical waterbirds in the family Anhingidae. There are four living species, three of which are very common and widespread while the fourth is rarer and classified as near-threatened by the IUCN. The term "snakebird" is usually used without any additions to...

, and Southern Hill Myna are several emblematic species. In lakes, wetlands, and waterways, fish such as kadu (stinging catfish
Catfish
Catfishes are a diverse group of ray-finned fish. Named for their prominent barbels, which resemble a cat's whiskers, catfish range in size and behavior from the heaviest and longest, the Mekong giant catfish from Southeast Asia and the second longest, the wels catfish of Eurasia, to detritivores...

) and Choottachi (Orange chromide—Etroplus maculatus) are found.

Subdivisions

Kerala's fourteen districts
Districts of Kerala
The Indian state of Kerala borders with the states of Tamil Nadu on the south and east, Karnataka on the north and the Arabian Sea coastline on the west. The Western Ghats, bordering the eastern boundary of the State, form an almost continuous mountain wall, except near Palakkad where there is a...

 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). Kerala's modern-day districts (listed in order from north to south) correspond to them as follows:

Note that these subdivisions are historical and unofficial, that there was no official subdivisions such as South Malabar-North Malabar, or South-Central-North Travancore
  • North Malabar
    North Malabar
    North Malabar , is a historic as well as geographic distinction in India used to refer the area covering; present Kasaragod and Kannur Districts, Mananthavady taluk of Wayanad District and Koyilandy & Vatakara taluks of Kozhikode District in modern Kerala and the entire Mahé sub-Division of...

    : Kasaragod
    Kasaragod district
    Kasaragod District is one of the districts of the Indian state of Kerala. Kasaragod District was organised as a separate district on 24 May 1984...

    , Kannur
    Kannur district
    Kannur District is one of the 14 districts in the state of Kerala, India. The town of Kannur is the district headquarters, and gives the district its name. The old name Cannanore is the anglicised form of the Malayalam name Kannur. Kannur District is bounded by Kasaragod District to the north and...

    , Mananthavady
    Mananthavady
    Mananthavady is a small town on the banks of Mananthavady Puzha a tributary of the Kabini River in the Wayanad district of Kerala, India.This area was once ruled by the Pazhassi dynasty and the tomb of Pazhassi Raja is an important heritage site located in the heart of the town. This is also the...

     Taluk of Wayanad
    Wayanad District
    Wayanad District in the north-east of Kerala, India, was formed on November 1, 1980 as the 12th district by carving out areas from Kozhikode and Kannur districts. Kalpetta is the district headquarters as well as the only municipal town in the district. The region was known as Mayakshetra in the...

    , Koyilandy
    Koyilandy
    Koyilandy is a city and a municipality in Kozhikode district in North Malabar region of the Indian state of Kerala. This town is between Calicut and Badagara and is on NH 17. It can be identified with Tyndis in Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. The freedom fighter K...

     and Vadakara Taluks of Kozhikode
    Kozhikode district
    Kozhikode District , formerly Calicut, is a district of Kerala state, situated on the southwest coast of India. The city of Kozhikode, also known as Calicut, is the district headquarters. The district is 38.25% urbanised...

  • South Malabar: Wayanad
    Wayanad District
    Wayanad District in the north-east of Kerala, India, was formed on November 1, 1980 as the 12th district by carving out areas from Kozhikode and Kannur districts. Kalpetta is the district headquarters as well as the only municipal town in the district. The region was known as Mayakshetra in the...

     except Mananthavady
    Mananthavady
    Mananthavady is a small town on the banks of Mananthavady Puzha a tributary of the Kabini River in the Wayanad district of Kerala, India.This area was once ruled by the Pazhassi dynasty and the tomb of Pazhassi Raja is an important heritage site located in the heart of the town. This is also the...

     Taluk, Kozhikode
    Kozhikode district
    Kozhikode District , formerly Calicut, is a district of Kerala state, situated on the southwest coast of India. The city of Kozhikode, also known as Calicut, is the district headquarters. The district is 38.25% urbanised...

     except Vadakara and Koyilandy
    Koyilandy
    Koyilandy is a city and a municipality in Kozhikode district in North Malabar region of the Indian state of Kerala. This town is between Calicut and Badagara and is on NH 17. It can be identified with Tyndis in Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. The freedom fighter K...

     Taluks, Malappuram, Palakkad District
    Palakkad district
    Palakkad District is one of the 14 districts of the Indian state of Kerala. The city of Palakkad is the district headquarters. Palakkad is bordered on the northwest by the Malappuram District, on the southwest by the Thrissur District and on the east by Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu. The...

     except Chittur
    Chittur
    Chittur is a small town in Palakkad district of Kerala, South India.-Politics:Chittur assembly constituency is part of Alathur .It contains 16 panchayats.-Demographics:...

     and Alathur
    Alathur
    Alathur is a small town in the Palakkad district of Kerala, South India. It is the headquarters of the Alathur Taluk and is situated at the south west end of the district 24 km from the district headquarters at Palakkad. Alathur Taluk is predominantly rural and has an agricultural economy...

     Taluks and a part of Thrissur
    Thrissur district
    Thrissur is a revenue district of Kerala situated in the central part of that state. Spanning an area of about 3,032 km2, Thrissur district is home to over 10% of Kerala’s population. Thrissur district was formed on July 1, 1949, with the headquarters at Thrissur City. Thrissur is known as...

  • Kochi
    Kingdom of Cochin
    Kingdom of Cochin was a late medieval Hindu kingdom and later Princely State on the Malabar Coast, South India...

    : A part of Ernakulam
    Ernakulam district
    -Economy:Agriculture constitutes the most important segment of the district’s economy and it is the biggest source of employment. Of the geographical 235319 hectares, crops are grown in 0 hectares. Coconut is the principal crop followed by rubber, paddy, and tapioca...

    , Chittur Taluk
    Chittur
    Chittur is a small town in Palakkad district of Kerala, South India.-Politics:Chittur assembly constituency is part of Alathur .It contains 16 panchayats.-Demographics:...

     and Alathur Taluk
    Alathur
    Alathur is a small town in the Palakkad district of Kerala, South India. It is the headquarters of the Alathur Taluk and is situated at the south west end of the district 24 km from the district headquarters at Palakkad. Alathur Taluk is predominantly rural and has an agricultural economy...

    s of Palakkad
    Palakkad district
    Palakkad District is one of the 14 districts of the Indian state of Kerala. The city of Palakkad is the district headquarters. Palakkad is bordered on the northwest by the Malappuram District, on the southwest by the Thrissur District and on the east by Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu. The...

    , and a majority part of Thrissur
    Thrissur district
    Thrissur is a revenue district of Kerala situated in the central part of that state. Spanning an area of about 3,032 km2, Thrissur district is home to over 10% of Kerala’s population. Thrissur district was formed on July 1, 1949, with the headquarters at Thrissur City. Thrissur is known as...

    .
  • Northern Travancore
    Northern Travancore
    The Northern Travancore, Kerala, consists of a part of Ernakulam district, and a part of Idukki district. These places were the part of Travancore kingdom before the Indian Independence.-Important Cities and Towns in Travancore:Ernakulam District...

    : Part of Ernakulam
    Ernakulam district
    -Economy:Agriculture constitutes the most important segment of the district’s economy and it is the biggest source of employment. Of the geographical 235319 hectares, crops are grown in 0 hectares. Coconut is the principal crop followed by rubber, paddy, and tapioca...

    , and Idukki
    Idukki district
    Idukki district is one among the 14 districts of Kerala state, India. The district headquarters is located at in Painavu.It is the second least populous district in Kerala, after Wayanad .-Etymology:...

    .
  • Central Travancore
    Central Travancore
    The Central Travancore, Kerala, consists of the South-Central districts of Kottayam, Alapuzha, Pathanamthitta, and parts of Idukki, and parts of Kollam...

    : Southern part of Idukki
    Idukki district
    Idukki district is one among the 14 districts of Kerala state, India. The district headquarters is located at in Painavu.It is the second least populous district in Kerala, after Wayanad .-Etymology:...

    , Kottayam
    Kottayam district
    Kottayam is one of the 14 districts in the state of Kerala, India. The district has its headquarters at Kottayam town, located at 9.36° N and 76.17° E. According to the 1991 census, it is the first district to achieve highest literacy rate in the whole of India...

    , Alappuzha
    Alappuzha district
    Alappuzha is one of the 14 districts in the state of Kerala in India. It was formed as Alleppey District on August 17, 1957. The name of the district was officially changed to Alappuzha in 1990. The district is a widely known tourist destination, and is well known for its coir factories. Most of...

    , Pathanamthitta
    Pathanamthitta district
    Pathanamthitta district is the youngest district located in the southern part of the state of Kerala, India. The district headquarters is in Pathanamthitta town. The district is surrounded by Kottayam, Idukki, Alappuzha and Kollam districts. It has a border with the state of Tamil Nadu in the east...

     and northern part of Kollam
    Kollam district
    -Climate:Kollam's temperature is almost steady throughout the year. The average temperature ranges from 25 to 32 degrees Celsius. Summer usually runs from March until May; the monsoon begins by June and ends by September. Kollam receives an annual average rainfall of around...

    .
  • Southern Travancore
    Southern Travancore
    The Southern Travancore, Kerala, consists of a part of Kollam district, Thiruvananthapuram district, and Kanyakumari district that is now in the state of Tamil Nadu...

    : Southern part of Kollam
    Kollam district
    -Climate:Kollam's temperature is almost steady throughout the year. The average temperature ranges from 25 to 32 degrees Celsius. Summer usually runs from March until May; the monsoon begins by June and ends by September. Kollam receives an annual average rainfall of around...

    , Thiruvananthapuram
    Thiruvananthapuram district
    Thiruvananthapuram District is the southernmost district of the Indian state of Kerala. It came into existence in the year 1957. The headquarters is the city of Thiruvananthapuram which is also the capital city of Kerala....

    . Nanchinad in Kanyakumari
    Kanyakumari
    Kanyakumari is a town in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. It is also sometimes referred to as Cape Comorin. Located at the southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula, it is the geographical end of the Indian mainland. The district in Tamil Nadu where the town is located is called Kanyakumari...

    , which is now in the state of Tamil Nadu
    Tamil Nadu
    Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

    , was also part of southern Travancore before formation of Kerala.


Kerala's 14 districts, which serve as the administrative regions for taxation purposes, are further subdivided into 63 taluks
Tehsil
A Tehsil or Tahsil/Tahasil , also known as Taluk and Mandal, is an administrative division of some country/countries of South Asia....

; these have fiscal and administrative powers over settlements within their borders, including maintenance of local land records.Taluks of kerala
Taluks of Kerala
In Kerala the administrative divisions below the district are called taluk. There are 63 taluks.There is a huge demand for Thiruvambady and Angamaly Taluk recently....

 are further divided into 1453 revenue villages and 1007 Gram panchayat
Gram panchayat
Gram panchayats are local self-governments at the village or small town level in India. As of 2002 there were about 265,000 gram panchayats in India. The gram panchayat is the foundation of the Panchayat System. A gram panchayat can be set up in villages with minimum population of 300...

s.

Mahé, a part of the Indian union territory of Pondicherry (Puducherry), is a coastal exclave surrounded by Kerala on all of its landward approaches.

Government

Kerala's Government is based on rules and regulations determined by the Government of India. The State is governed via a parliamentary system
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

 of representative democracy
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

; universal suffrage
Universal suffrage
Universal suffrage consists of the extension of the right to vote to adult citizens as a whole, though it may also mean extending said right to minors and non-citizens...

 is granted to state residents. There are three branches of government. The unicameral
Unicameralism
In government, unicameralism is the practice of having one legislative or parliamentary chamber. Thus, a unicameral parliament or unicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of one chamber or house...

 legislature, the Kerala Legislative Assembly
Kerala Legislative Assembly
The Kerala Legislative Assembly more popularly known as Niyamasabha , is the law making body of Kerala, one of the 28 States in India. The Assembly is formed by 140 elected representatives and one nominated member from the Anglo-Indian community...

, comprises elected members and special office bearers (the Speaker and Deputy Speaker) elected by the members from among themselves. Assembly meetings are presided over by the Speaker and in the Speaker's absence, by the Deputy Speaker. Kerala has 140 Assembly constituencies. The state sends 20 members to the Lok Sabha
Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha or House of the People is the lower house of the Parliament of India. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by direct election under universal adult suffrage. As of 2009, there have been fifteen Lok Sabhas elected by the people of India...

 and 9 to the Rajya Sabha
Rajya Sabha
The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the Parliament of India. Rajya means "state," and Sabha means "assembly hall" in Sanskrit. Membership is limited to 250 members, 12 of whom are chosen by the President of India for their expertise in specific fields of art, literature,...

, the Indian Parliament
Parliament of India
The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body in India. Founded in 1919, the Parliament alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all political bodies in India. The Parliament of India comprises the President and the two Houses, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha...

's upper house.

The Governor of Kerala
Governors of Kerala
-Governors of Kerala:-External links:*...

 is the constitutional head of state, and is appointed by the President of India
President of India
The President of India is the head of state and first citizen of India, as well as the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. President of India is also the formal head of all the three branches of Indian Democracy - Legislature, Executive and Judiciary...

. The executive authority
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

 is headed by the Chief Minister of Kerala
Chief Minister of Kerala
The Chief Minister of Kerala is the elected head of government of the state of Kerala, India. By the Constitution of India, the Chief minister is appointed by the Governor of the state....

, who is the de facto head of state and is vested with extensive executive powers; the Legislative Assembly's majority party leader is appointed to this position by the Governor. The Council of Ministers, which answers to the Legislative Assembly, has its members appointed by the Governor on advice of the Chief Minister. Auxiliary authorities known as panchayats, for which local body elections
Local Body Election in Kerala
Elections in Kerala are regularly held to fill government officials at all levels of government in both Kerala and India as a whole. These range from national elections to regional local body or panchayat elections...

 are regularly held, govern local affairs.

The judiciary
Judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

 comprises the Kerala High Court
Kerala High Court
High Court of Kerala is the highest court in the Indian state of Kerala and in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep. The High Court of Kerala is headquartered at Kochi...

 (Located at Ernakulam has a Chief Justice combined with 26 permanent and two additional (pro tempore) justices) as the apex court in the state and a system of lower courts. Kerala High Court also hears cases from the Union Territory of Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep , formerly known as the Laccadive, Minicoy, and Amindivi Islands, is a group of islands in the Laccadive Sea, 200 to 440 km off the coast of the South West Indian state of Kerala...

.

The state's 2005–2006 budget was 219 billion INR
Indian rupee
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....

. The state government's tax revenues (excluding the shares from Union tax pool) amounted to 111,248 million INR
Indian rupee
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....

 in 2005, up from 63,599 million in 2000. Its non-tax revenues (excluding the shares from Union tax pool) of the Government of Kerala as assessed by the Indian Finance Commissions reached 10,809 million INR in 2005, nearly double the 6,847 million INR revenues of 2000. However, Kerala's high ratio of taxation to gross state domestic product (GSDP) has not alleviated chronic budget deficits and unsustainable levels of government debt, impacting social services.

Kerala hosts two major political alliances: the United Democratic Front (India)
United Democratic Front (India)
United Democratic Front is an alliance of political parties of Kerala state in India. This alliance is led by the Indian National Congress....

 (UDF—led by the Indian National Congress
Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is the largest and one of the oldest democratic political parties in the world. The party's modern liberal platform is largely considered center-left in the Indian...

)and the Left Democratic Front (Kerala) (LDF—led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Communist Party of India (Marxist)
The Communist Party of India is a political party in India. It has a strong presence in the states of Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura. As of 2011, CPI is leading the state government in Tripura. It leads the Left Front coalition of leftist parties in various states and the national parliament of...

 (CPI(M)). At present, the UDF is the ruling coalition in government; Oommen Chandy
Oommen Chandy
Oommen Chandy is an Indian politician and the current Chief Minister of Kerala. He has held the Chief Minister of Kerala position earlier from 2004 to 2006, and was the Leader of the Opposition in the Kerala Legislative Assembly from 2006 to 2011.-Early life:Oommen Chandy or 'Kunjoonju' was born...

 of the INC
Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is the largest and one of the oldest democratic political parties in the world. The party's modern liberal platform is largely considered center-left in the Indian...

 is the Chief Minister of Kerala and V.S. Achuthanandan of the LDF is the Chief Opposition leader. Strikes, protests and marches are ubiquitous in Kerala due to the comparatively strong presence of labour unions.

Economy

Since independence, Kerala was managed as a democratic socialist
Democratic socialism
Democratic socialism is a description used by various socialist movements and organizations to emphasize the democratic character of their political orientation...

 welfare economy. Since the 1990s, liberalisation
Neoliberalism
Neoliberalism is a market-driven approach to economic and social policy based on neoclassical theories of economics that emphasizes the efficiency of private enterprise, liberalized trade and relatively open markets, and therefore seeks to maximize the role of the private sector in determining the...

 of the mixed economy
Mixed economy
Mixed economy is an economic system in which both the state and private sector direct the economy, reflecting characteristics of both market economies and planned economies. Most mixed economies can be described as market economies with strong regulatory oversight, in addition to having a variety...

 allowed onerous Licence Raj
Licence Raj
Licence Raj, the Permit Raj, refers to the elaborate licenses, regulations and accompanying red tape that were required to set up and run businesses in India between 1947 and 1990....

 restrictions against capitalism and foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment or foreign investment refers to the net inflows of investment to acquire a lasting management interest in an enterprise operating in an economy other than that of the investor.. It is the sum of equity capital,other long-term capital, and short-term capital as shown in...

 to be lightened, leading to economic expansion and job creation. In fiscal year 2007–2008, nominal gross state domestic product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 (GSDP) was . Recent GSDP growth (9.2% in 2004–2005 and 7.4% in 2003–2004) has been robust compared to historical averages (2.3% annually in the 1980s and between 5.1% and 5.99% in the 1990s). The state clocked 8.93% growth in enterprises from 1998 to 2005 compared with 4.80% nationally. Relatively few such enterprises are major corporations or manufacturers. Kerala's Human Development Index
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate "very high human development", "high human development", "medium human development", and "low human development" countries...

 rating is the highest in India. This apparently paradoxical "Kerala phenomenon" or "Kerala model of development
Kerala model
The Kerala model based on the development experience of the southern Indian state of Kerala, refers to the state's achievement of significant improvements in material conditions of living, reflected in indicators of social development that are comparable to that of many developed countries, even...

" of very high human development and not much high economic development results from the strong service sector.

Kerala's economy depends on emigrants working in foreign countries (mainly in the Persian Gulf countries
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

 such as United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

 or Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

) and remittances annually contribute more than a fifth of GSDP. As of 2008, the Gulf countries altogether have a Keralite population of more than 2.5 million, who send home annually a sum of USD 6.81 billion, which is more than 15.13% of Remittance to India in 2008.
The service sector (including tourism, public administration, banking and finance, transportation, and communications—63.8% of GSDP in 2002–2003) and the agricultural and fishing industries (together 17.2% of GSDP) dominate the economy. Nearly half of Kerala's people are dependent on agriculture alone for income. Some 600 varieties of rice (Kerala's most important staple food
Staple food
A staple food is one that is eaten regularly and in such quantities that it constitutes a dominant portion of a diet, and that supplies a high proportion of energy and nutrient needs. Most people live on a diet based on one or more staples...

 and cereal crop) are harvested from 3105.21 km² (a decline from 5883.4 km² in 1990) of paddy field
Paddy field
A paddy field is a flooded parcel of arable land used for growing rice and other semiaquatic crops. Paddy fields are a typical feature of rice farming in east, south and southeast Asia. Paddies can be built into steep hillsides as terraces and adjacent to depressed or steeply sloped features such...

s; 688,859 tonne
Tonne
The tonne, known as the metric ton in the US , often put pleonastically as "metric tonne" to avoid confusion with ton, is a metric system unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms. The tonne is not an International System of Units unit, but is accepted for use with the SI...

s are produced per annum. Other key crops include coconut (899,198 ha), tea, coffee (23% of Indian production, or 57,000 tonnes), rubber, cashews, and spices—including pepper
Black pepper
Black pepper is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately in diameter, dark red when fully mature, and, like all drupes, contains a single seed...

, cardamom
Cardamom
Cardamom refers to several plants of the genera Elettaria and Amomum in the ginger family Zingiberaceae. Both genera are native to India and Bhutan; they are recognised by their small seed pod, triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped, with a thin papery outer shell and small black seeds...

, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Around 1.050 million fishermen haul an annual catch of 668,000 tonnes (1999–2000 estimate); 222 fishing villages are strung along the 590 km coast. Another 113 fishing villages dot the hinterland.

Kerala's coastal belt of Karunagappally is known for high background radiation from thorium-containing monazite
Monazite
Monazite is a reddish-brown phosphate mineral containing rare earth metals. It occurs usually in small isolated crystals. There are actually at least four different kinds of monazite, depending on relative elemental composition of the mineral:...

 sand. In coastal panchayats, median outdoor radiation levels are more than 4 mGy/yr and, in certain locations on the coast, it is as high as 70 mGy/yr.

Traditional industries manufacturing such items as coir
Coir
Coir is a natural fibre extracted from the husk of coconut and used in products such as floor mats, doormats, brushes, mattresses etc. Technically coir is the fibrous material found between the hard, internal shell and the outer coat of a coconut. Other uses of brown coir are in upholstery...

, handlooms, and handicraft
Handicraft
Handicraft, more precisely expressed as artisanic handicraft, sometimes also called artisanry, is a type of work where useful and decorative devices are made completely by hand or by using only simple tools. It is a traditional main sector of craft. Usually the term is applied to traditional means...

s employ around one million people. Around 180,000 small-scale industries employ around 909,859 Keralites; 511 medium and large scale manufacturing firms are located in Kerala. A small mining sector (0.3% of GSDP) involves extraction of ilmenite
Ilmenite
Ilmenite is a weakly magnetic titanium-iron oxide mineral which is iron-black or steel-gray. It is a crystalline iron titanium oxide . It crystallizes in the trigonal system, and it has the same crystal structure as corundum and hematite....

, kaolin, bauxite
Bauxite
Bauxite is an aluminium ore and is the main source of aluminium. This form of rock consists mostly of the minerals gibbsite Al3, boehmite γ-AlO, and diaspore α-AlO, in a mixture with the two iron oxides goethite and hematite, the clay mineral kaolinite, and small amounts of anatase TiO2...

, silica, quartz
Quartz
Quartz is the second-most-abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz,...

, rutile
Rutile
Rutile is a mineral composed primarily of titanium dioxide, TiO2.Rutile is the most common natural form of TiO2. Two rarer polymorphs of TiO2 are known:...

, zircon
Zircon
Zircon is a mineral belonging to the group of nesosilicates. Its chemical name is zirconium silicate and its corresponding chemical formula is ZrSiO4. A common empirical formula showing some of the range of substitution in zircon is 1–x4x–y...

, and sillimanite
Sillimanite
Sillimanite is an alumino-silicate mineral with the chemical formula Al2SiO5. Sillimanite is named after the American chemist Benjamin Silliman . It was first described in 1824 for an occurrence in Chester, Middlesex County, Connecticut, USA....

. Home gardens
Home gardens
Home gardens, also known as forest gardens, are found in humid areas. They use inter-cropping to cultivate trees, crops, and livestock on the same land...

 and animal husbandry also provide work for hundreds of thousands of people. Other major sectors are tourism
Tourism in Kerala
Kerala, a state situated on the tropical Malabar Coast of southwestern India, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Named as one of the ten paradises of the world by the National Geographic Traveler, Kerala is famous especially for its ecotourism initiatives...

, manufacturing, and business process outsourcing
Business process outsourcing
Business process outsourcing is a subset of outsourcing that involves the contracting of the operations and responsibilities of specific business functions to a third-party service provider. Originally, this was associated with manufacturing firms, such as Coca Cola that outsourced large segments...

. As of March 2002, Kerala's banking sector comprised 3341 local branches; each branch served 10,000 persons, lower than the national average of 16,000; the state has the third-highest bank penetration among Indian states. On 1 October 2011, Kerala became the first state in the country to have banking facility in every village. Unemployment in 2007 was estimated at 9.4%; underemployment
Underemployment
Underemployment refers to an employment situation that is insufficient in some important way for the worker, relative to a standard. Examples include holding a part-time job despite desiring full-time work, and overqualification, where the employee has education, experience, or skills beyond the...

, low employability of youths, and a 13.5% female participation rate
Labor force
In economics, a labor force or labour force is a region's combined civilian workforce, including both the employed and unemployed.Normally, the labor force of a country consists of everyone of working age In economics, a labor force or labour force is a region's combined civilian workforce,...

 are chronic issues. By 1999–2000, the rural and urban poverty rates dropped to 10.0% and 9.6% respectively.

The state treasury has suffered loss of thousands of millions of rupees thanks to the state staging over 100 hartal
Hartal
Hartal is a term in many Indian languages for strike action, used often during the Indian Independence Movement. It is mass protest often involving a total shutdown of workplaces, offices, shops, courts of law as a form of civil disobedience...

s annually in recent times. A record total of 223 hartals were observed in 2006, resulting in a revenue loss of over 2000 crore.

Transport

Roads

Kerala has 145704 kilometres (90,536.5 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 all India average of 2.59 kilometres (1.61 mi). Virtually all of Kerala's villages are connected by road.

Roads in Kerala includes 1,524 km of National highway (2.6% of 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
National Highway 17 (India)
National Highway 17, commonly referred to as NH 17, now renamed as NH 66, is a busy National Highway in India that runs roughly north-south along the western coast of India, parallel to western ghats. It connects Panvel, near Mumbai to Kochi, passing through the states of Maharashtra, Goa,...

 and eastern side is accessible through various State Highways. There is also a Hill Highway (Kerala)
Hill Highway (Kerala)
The Hill Highway or State Highway 59 is the longest state highway in Kerala. The proposed highway extends from Nandarapadvu in Kasaragod district to Parassala in Thiruvananthapuram district, will have a length of 1332.16 km...

 proposed, to make easy access to eastern hills.

NH 17 connects Edapally (Kochi) to Panavel (near Mumbai) and is the longest stretch of national highway through the state. The other major national highway passing through the state is National Highway 47 which connects Salem to Kanyakumari and passes through the major towns and cities like Palakkad
Palakkad
Palakkad , formerly known as Palghat, is a municipality and a town in the state of Kerala in southern India, spread over an area of 26.60 km2.The city is situated about north of state capital Thiruvananthapuram. It is the administrative headquarters of Palakkad District...

, Thrissur
Thrissur
This article is about the city in India. For the district, see Thrissur district. For the urban agglomeration area of Thrissur see Thrissur Metropolitan Area...

, Kochi
Kochi
-Places:* Kochi, a city in the state of Kerala, India, formerly known as Cochin* Kingdom of Cochin, a former feudal city-state on Malabar Coast, India** Fort Kochi, one of the three main urban components which constitute the present day city of Kochi, Kerala, India...

, Alappuzha
Alappuzha
Alappuzha , also known as Alleppey, is a town in Alappuzha District of Kerala state of southern India. As per 2001 census Alleppey is the sixth largest city in Kerala with an urban population of 177,029. Alleppey is situated to the south of Kochi and north of Trivandrum...

, Kollam
Kollam
Kollam , often anglicized as ', is a city in the Indian state of Kerala. The city lies on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake on the Arabian sea coast and is situated about north of the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram...

 and Thiruvananthapuram
Thiruvananthapuram
Thiruvananthapuram , formerly known as Trivandrum, is the capital of the Indian state of Kerala and the headquarters of the Thiruvananthapuram District. It is located on the west coast of India near the extreme south of the mainland...

. 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)
NH 47
National Highway 47, commonly referred to as NH 47, is a long highway connecting the city of Salem to Kanyakumari town in southern India...

 through Kerala is 416.8 km. 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
Department of Public Works (Kerala)
Kerala Public Works Department is a department under the Government of Kerala, India. It manages the construction and maintenance of civil structures owned by the government viz; government buildings, government owned hospitals , roads, bridges etc...

 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 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
Roads in Kerala
Kerala, southern most state of India has a good network of roads. It has eight National Highways, number of State Highways and many district roads.-Agency Wise Distribution of Road Length during 2009-10:...

 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 result of the narrow roads and irresponsible driving.

Railways

The Indian Railways
Indian Railways
Indian Railways , abbreviated as IR , is a departmental undertaking of Government of India, which owns and operates most of India's rail transport. It is overseen by the Ministry of Railways of the Government of India....

' Southern Railway
Southern Railway (India)
The Southern Railway is the earliest of the 16 zones of the Indian Railways created in independent India. It was created on April 14, 1951 by merging three state railways namely Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway, the South Indian Railway, and the Mysore State Railway. The South Indian Railway...

 line runs through the state, connecting most major towns and cities except those in the highland districts of Idukki and Wayanad. The railway network in the state is controlled by three divisions of Southern Railway, namely Trivandrum Railway Division, Palakkad Railway Division
Palakkad Railway Division
Palakad Railway Division is one of the 6 divisions of the Southern Railway Zone of India, and is the oldest in Kerala. It is headquartered in Palakkad. Palakkad Division was one of the biggest railway divisions in Southern Railway...

 and Madurai Railway Division. Trivandrum Central
Trivandrum Central
Trivandrum Central is the main railway station in the city of Thiruvananthapuram in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the largest and busiest railway station in Kerala in terms of passenger movement and the second most important rail hub in South India. It is also the most profitable station...

 is the busiest railway station in the state and second busiest in the Southern Railway Zone after Chennai Central
Chennai Central
Chennai Central , erstwhile Madras Central, is the main railway terminus in the city of Chennai . It is the home of the Southern Railway and the most important rail hub in South India. The other major railway hub stations in the city are Chennai Egmore and Tambaram...

. Kerala's major railway stations are Kannur
Kannur Railway Station
Kannur, also known as Cannanore, is one of the busiest railway station in Kerala located in the Kannur City. It is operated by the Southern Railway of the Indian Railways. There are many trains operating towards Southern Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Mumbai and North India...

, Kozhikode
Kozhikode
Kozhikode During Classical antiquity and the Middle Ages, Kozhikkode was dubbed the "City of Spices" for its role as the major trading point of eastern spices. Kozhikode was once the capital of an independent kingdom of the same name and later of the erstwhile Malabar District...

, Shornur Junction, Palakkad Junction
Palakkad Junction
Palakkad Junction is one of the biggest railway junction station in Kerala state, India situated in the city of Palakkad. It is located at 4 km from Palakkad Municipal Bus Terminus...

, Thrissur
Thrissur Railway Station
Thrissur Railway Station is the busiest railway station in Kerala in terms of number of trains, located in Thrissur, India. As of 2006, 55 pairs of trains passed through the station on an average day...

, Ernakulam Junction
Ernakulam Junction
Ernakulam Junction is the largest railway station in the city of Kochi. The station has six platforms and two terminals...

, Kottayam
Kottayam
Kottayam is a city in the Indian state of Kerala, spread over an area of 55.40 km2. It is the administrative capital of the Kottayam district. Kottayam Kottayam (Malayalam: കോട്ടയം) is a city in the Indian state of Kerala, spread over an area of 55.40 km2. It is the administrative...

, Kayamkulam Junction
Kayamkulam
Kayamkulam is a town and a municipality in Alappuzha district of the Indian state of Kerala. It is an ancient maritime trading centre. One of the largest power plants in Kerala, run by the NTPC, is located in Kayamkulam. Krishnapuram Palace is located nearby and an old cashew factory.Kayamkulam is...

, Kollam Junction
Kollam
Kollam , often anglicized as ', is a city in the Indian state of Kerala. The city lies on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake on the Arabian sea coast and is situated about north of the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram...

 and Thiruvananthapuram Central.

Airports

Kerala has major international airports in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode
Calicut International Airport
Calicut International Airport , also known as Karipur Airport, is an International Airport serving the city of Kozhikode , Kerala, India. The airport is located in Karipur, Malappuram district about from the Kozhikode Railway Station and from the city of Malappuram, with the closest railway...

. A fourth international airport is proposed at Kannur
Kannur
Kannur , also known as Cannanore, is a city in Kannur district in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the administrative headquarters of the District of Kannur and 518km north of state capital Trivandrum. During British rule in India, Kannur was known by its old name Cannanore, which is still in...

. Thiruvananthapuram's Trivandrum International Airport  is the first International airport in an Indian non-metro city. The Cochin International Airport
Cochin International Airport
Cochin International Airport is an international airport located in Nedumbassery, a suburb on the outskirts of the city of Kochi about northeast of downtown Kochi, in the state of Kerala, India. It is the busiest and largest airport in the state of Kerala...

 is the busiest and largest in the state, and was the first Indian airport to be incorporated as a public limited company
Public limited company
A public limited company is a limited liability company that sells shares to the public in United Kingdom company law, in the Republic of Ireland and Commonwealth jurisdictions....

; funded by nearly 10,000 Non Resident Indians from 30 countries.

Inland Water Transport in Kerala

Kerala, with numerous backwaters, is one of the States in India, where waterways are successfully used for commercial Inland Water Transport. The transportation is mainly done with country craft and passenger vessels. There are 41 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 Water transport in the State 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 cargo handling system.
A 205 km canal, National Waterway 3
National Waterway 3 (India)
The West Coast Canal or National Waterway No 3 is located in Kerala, India and runs from Kollam to Kottapuram and was declared a National Waterway in 1993.The dredging of this canal has been finished. The National waterway 3 is one of the most navigable and tourism potential area in India and has...

, runs between Kottapuram and Kochi.

Demographics

The 31.8 million Keralites are predominantly of Malayali
Malayali
Malayali is the term used to refer to the native speakers of Malayalam, originating from the Indian state of Kerala...

 descent, while the rest is mostly made up of Jewish and Arab elements in both culture and ancestry. Kerala's 321,000 indigenous tribal Adivasi
Adivasi
Adivasi is an umbrella term for a heterogeneous set of ethnic and tribal groups claimed to be the aboriginal population of India. They comprise a substantial indigenous minority of the population of India...

s, 1.10% of the population, are concentrated in the east. Malayalam is Kerala's official language
Official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...

; Konkani
Konkani language
KonkaniKonkani is a name given to a group of several cognate dialects spoken along the narrow strip of land called Konkan, on the west coast of India. This is, however, somewhat an over-generalisation. Geographically, Konkan is defined roughly as the area between the river Damanganga to the north...

, Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

, Tulu
Tulu language
The Tulu language |?]]]) is a Dravidian language spoken by 1.95 million native speakers mainly in the southwest part of Indian state Karnataka known as Tulu Nadu. In India, 1.72 million people speak it as their mother tongue , increased by 10 percent over the 1991 census...

, Kannada
Kannada language
Kannada or , is a language spoken in India predominantly in the state of Karnataka. Kannada, whose native speakers are called Kannadigas and number roughly 50 million, is one of the 30 most spoken languages in the world...

, Hindi and various Adivasi (Tribal) languages are also spoken by ethnic minorities especially in the south-western region.
Kerala is home to 3.44% of India's population; at 819 persons per km², its land is nearly three times as densely settled as the rest of India, which is at a population density of 325 persons per km². Kerala's rate of population growth is India's lowest, and Kerala's decadal growth (9.42% in 2001) is less than half the all-India average of 21.34%. Whereas Kerala's population more than doubled between 1951 and 1991 by adding 15.6 million people to reach 29.1 million residents in 1991, the population stood at less than 32 million by 2001. Kerala's coastal regions are the most densely settled, leaving the eastern hills and mountains comparatively sparsely populated.
Females comprise 51.42% of the population; males form the remaining 48.58% of the population. Kerala's principal religions are Hinduism
Hinduism in Kerala
Hinduism is the indigenous religion of Kerala and Hindus make up about 57% population of the state according to the 2001 census. Hindus in Kerala usually have a lower birth rate and a higher death rate compared to the general population....

 (56.2%), Islam
Islam in India
Islam is the second-most practiced religion in the Republic of India after Hinduism, with more than 13.4% of the country's population ....

 (24.70%), and Christianity
Christianity in Kerala
Christianity is the third-most practiced religion in Kerala with 19% of the population according to the Indian census. Although a minority, Christians represent a much larger percentage of the population of Kerala than of India considered as a whole...

 (19.00%). In comparison with the rest of India, Kerala experiences relatively little sectarianism.

According to 2001 Census of India figures, 56% of Kerala's residents are Hindus, 24% are Muslims, 19% are Christians, and the remaining 1% follows other religions. The major Hindu castes are Ezhavas, Nairs, Nambudiri and Dalits. Notably, steps taken by many progressive and tolerant Hindu kings over the years and movements like that of Vaikunda Swami
Ayya Vaikundar
Ayya Vaikundar , according to Akilattirattu Ammanai , a scripture of the Ayyavazhi, was a Manu Avatar of Narayana, incarnated as Muthukutty or Mudisoodum Perumal, a Nadar of Swamithoppe, Tamil Nadu Ayya Vaikundar , according to Akilattirattu Ammanai (or Akilam), a scripture of the Ayyavazhi, was...

  and Narayana Guru
Narayana Guru
Sri Nārāyana Guru , also known as Sree Nārāyana Guru Swami, was a Hindu saint, sadhuand social reformer of India. The Guru was born into an Ezhava family, in an era when people from backward communities like the Ezhavas faced much social injustices in the caste-ridden Kerala society...

 for social reform and tolerance helped to establish Kerala as one of the most socially progressive states in India. The Abrahamic religions
Abrahamic religions
Abrahamic religions are the monotheistic faiths emphasizing and tracing their common origin to Abraham or recognizing a spiritual tradition identified with him...

 attest to Kerala's prominence as a major trade centre. Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 and Judaism arrived in Kerala through Arab traders. Muslims of Kerala, known as Moplah
Mappila
Mappila or Moplah refers to a Muslim community of Kerala, primarily in the northern region called Malabar, which arose in Malabar as a result of the pre and post Islamic Arab contacts. Significant numbers of the community are also present in the southern districts of Karnataka and western parts of...

s, mostly follow the Shafi'i
Shafi'i
The Shafi'i madhhab is one of the schools of fiqh, or religious law, within the Sunni branch of Islam. The Shafi'i school of fiqh is named after Imām ash-Shafi'i.-Principles:...

 Madh'hab under Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

. The major Moplah denominations are Sunni, Mujahid
Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen
Kerala Nadwathul Mujahideen is a Salafi Islamic organization and movement within Sunni Islam in Kerala, India. One faction of the organization is working in co-operation with Ahl al-Hadith , an all-Subcontinental Islahi outfit...

 and Jama'at
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind is one of the influential and hardline Islamic organization and movement within Sunni Islam in India...

. A significant Jewish community
Cochin Jews
Cochin Jews, also called Malabar Jews , are the oldest group of Jews in India, with roots claimed to date to the time of King Solomon, though historically attested migration dates from the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE. Historically, they lived in the Kingdom of Cochin in South India, now part of the...

 existed in Kerala until the 20th century when most of them migrated
Emigration
Emigration is the act of leaving one's country or region to settle in another. It is the same as immigration but from the perspective of the country of origin. Human movement before the establishment of political boundaries or within one state is termed migration. There are many reasons why people...

 to Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 leaving only a handful of families. The Paradesi Synagogue at Kochi is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth. Christianity is believed to have reached the shores of Kerala in 52 CE with the arrival of St Thomas
Thomas the Apostle
Thomas the Apostle, also called Doubting Thomas or Didymus was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is best known for questioning Jesus' resurrection when first told of it, then proclaiming "My Lord and my God" on seeing Jesus in . He was perhaps the only Apostle who went outside the Roman...

, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ The major Christian denominations are Catholic, Oriental Orthodox and Protestant. Jainism has a considerable following in the Wayanad district
Wayanad District
Wayanad District in the north-east of Kerala, India, was formed on November 1, 1980 as the 12th district by carving out areas from Kozhikode and Kannur districts. Kalpetta is the district headquarters as well as the only municipal town in the district. The region was known as Mayakshetra in the...

. Buddhism was dominant at the time of Ashoka the Great but vanished by the 8th century CE.

Kerala has witnessed significant migration of its people, especially to the Persian Gulf countries
Persian Gulf States
Persian Gulf States can refer to:* Countries in the Middle East bordering the Persian Gulf and sometimes known as the Gulf States: Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates....

, starting with the Kerala Gulf boom
Kerala Gulf boom
The Kerala Gulf diaspora refers to the people of Kerala living in the Middle eastern Arab states of the Persian Gulf. They number more than 2.5 million as of 2008.- The Gulf Boom :...

, and is uniquely dependent on remittances
Remittances
A remittance is a transfer of money by a foreign worker to his or her home country. Note that in 19th century usage a remittance man was someone exiled overseas and sent an allowance on condition that he not return home....

 from its large Malayali expatriate community.

Kerala government states gender relations are among the most equitable in India , despite discrepancies among low caste men and women. Certain Hindu communities such as the Nair
Nair
Nair , also known as Nayar , refers to "not a unitary group but a named category of castes", which historically embody several castes and many subdivisions, not all of whom bore the Nair title. These people historically live in the present-day Indian state of Kerala...

s, some Ezhava
Ezhava
The Ezhavas are a community with origins in the region presently known as Kerala. They are also known as Ilhava, Irava, Izhava and Erava in the south of the region; as Chovas, Chokons and Chogons in Central Travancore; and as Tiyyas, Thiyas and Theeyas in Malabar...

s and the Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s around North Malabar
North Malabar
North Malabar , is a historic as well as geographic distinction in India used to refer the area covering; present Kasaragod and Kannur Districts, Mananthavady taluk of Wayanad District and Koyilandy & Vatakara taluks of Kozhikode District in modern Kerala and the entire Mahé sub-Division of...

 used to follow a traditional matrilineal system known as marumakkathayam
Marumakkathayam
Marumakkathayam is a matrilinear system of inheritance which was followed by all Nair castes including of Royal Families, some of the Ambalavasis, Arayars, Ezhava, some tribal groups and Mappilas in North Malabar of Kerala state, South India. Unlike other Brahmin families, Payanoor Nambootiris...

, although this practice ended in the years after Indian independence. Other Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s, Christians, and some Hindu castes such as the Namboothiris and the Ezhavas follow makkathayam, a patrilineal system. Owing to the former matrilineal system, women in Kerala enjoy a high social status.

Kerala's human development indices— primary level education, health care and elimination of poverty—are among the best in India. According to a 2005–2006 national survey, Kerala has one of the highest literacy rates (94.59%) among Indian states and life expectancy (74 years) was among the highest in India in 2011. Kerala's rural poverty rate fell from 69% (1970–1971) to 19% (1993–1994); the overall (urban and rural) rate fell 36% between the 1970s and 1980s. By 1999–2000, the rural and urban poverty rates dropped to 10.0% and 9.6% respectively. These changes stem largely from efforts begun in the late 19th century by the kingdoms of Cochin and Travancore to boost social welfare. This focus was maintained by Kerala's post-independence government.

Kerala has the highest life expectancy in the country which is nearly 75 years and 78 years respectively for males and females. The life expectancy of Kerala is similar to developed nations in the world that shows the facilities for treatment and health. Kerala's healthcare system has garnered international acclaim. The United Nations Children's Fund
United Nations Children's Fund
United Nations Children's Fund was created by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 1946, to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries that had been devastated by World War II...

 (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation designated Kerala the world's first "baby-friendly
Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative
The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative , also known as “Baby Friendly Initiative” , is a worldwide programme of the World Health Organization and UNICEF, launched in 1991 following the adoption of the Innocenti Declaration on breastfeeding promotion in 1990...

 state" because of its effective promotion of breast-feeding over formulas For example, more than 95% of Keralite births are hospital-delivered. Aside from ayurveda
Ayurveda
Ayurveda or ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional medicine native to India and a form of alternative medicine. In Sanskrit, words , meaning "longevity", and , meaning "knowledge" or "science". The earliest literature on Indian medical practice appeared during the Vedic period in India,...

 (both elite and popular forms), siddha
Siddha
A Siddha सिद्ध in Sanskrit means "one who is accomplished" and refers to perfected masters who, according to Hindu belief, have transcended the ahamkara , have subdued their minds to be subservient to their Awareness, and have transformed their bodies into a different kind of body dominated by...

, and many endangered and endemic modes of traditional medicine
Traditional medicine
Traditional medicine comprises unscientific knowledge systems that developed over generations within various societies before the era of modern medicine...

, including kalari, marmachikitsa and vishavaidyam, are practiced. These propagate via gurukula discipleship, and comprise a fusion of both medicinal and supernatural treatments, and are partly responsible for drawing increasing numbers of medical tourist
Medical tourism
Medical tourism is a term initially coined by travel agencies and the mass media to describe the rapidly-growing practice of travelling across international borders to obtain health care...

s.

A steadily aging population (11.2% of Keralites are over age 60) and low birthrate (18 per 1,000) make Kerala one of the few regions in the developing world to have undergone the "demographic transition
Demographic transition
The demographic transition model is the transition from high birth and death rates to low birth and death rates as a country develops from a pre-industrial to an industrialized economic system. The theory is based on an interpretation of demographic history developed in 1929 by the American...

" characteristic of such developed nations as Canada, Japan, and Norway. In 1991, Kerala's total fertility rate
Total Fertility Rate
The total fertility rate of a population is the average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime if she were to experience the exact current age-specific fertility rates through her lifetime, and she...

 (children born per women) was the lowest in India. Hindus had a TFR of 1.66, Christians 1.78, and Muslims 2.97. Kerala's female-to-male ratio
Sex ratio
Sex ratio is the ratio of males to females in a population. The primary sex ratio is the ratio at the time of conception, secondary sex ratio is the ratio at time of birth, and tertiary sex ratio is the ratio of mature organisms....

 (1.058) is significantly higher than that of the rest of India. sub-replacement fertility
Sub-replacement fertility
Sub-replacement fertility is a total fertility rate that leads to each new generation being less populous than the previous one in a given area. In developed countries sub-replacement fertility is any rate below approximately 2.1 children born per woman, but the threshold can be as high as 3.4...

 level and infant mortality rate is lower compared to other states (estimated at 12 to 14 deaths per 1,000 live births).

However, Kerala's morbidity rate is higher than that of any other Indian state—118 (rural Keralites) and 88 (urban) per 1,000 people. The corresponding all India figures are 55 and 54 per 1,000, respectively.Yet this is likely explained by the fact that, as mentioned above, Kerala has a higher ratio of senior citizens than India. Kerala's 13.3% prevalence
Prevalence
In epidemiology, the prevalence of a health-related state in a statistical population is defined as the total number of cases of the risk factor in the population at a given time, or the total number of cases in the population, divided by the number of individuals in the population...

 of low birth weight
Birth weight
Birth weight is the body weight of a baby at its birth.There have been numerous studies that have attempted, with varying degrees of success, to show links between birth weight and later-life conditions, including diabetes, obesity, tobacco smoking and intelligence.-Determinants:There are...

 is substantially higher than that of First World
First World
The concept of the First World first originated during the Cold War, where it was used to describe countries that were aligned with the United States. These countries were democratic and capitalistic. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the term "First World" took on a...

 nations. Outbreaks of water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, dysentery
Dysentery
Dysentery is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and/or blood in the faeces with fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal.There are differences between dysentery and normal bloody diarrhoea...

, hepatitis
Hepatitis
Hepatitis is a medical condition defined by the inflammation of the liver and characterized by the presence of inflammatory cells in the tissue of the organ. The name is from the Greek hepar , the root being hepat- , meaning liver, and suffix -itis, meaning "inflammation"...

, and typhoid among the more than 50% of Keralites who rely on 3 million water well
Water well
A water well is an excavation or structure created in the ground by digging, driving, boring or drilling to access groundwater in underground aquifers. The well water is drawn by an electric submersible pump, a trash pump, a vertical turbine pump, a handpump or a mechanical pump...

s is a problem worsened by the widespread lack of sewer
Sanitary sewer
A sanitary sewer is a separate underground carriage system specifically for transporting sewage from houses and commercial buildings to treatment or disposal. Sanitary sewers serving industrial areas also carry industrial wastewater...

s.

Education

Kerala has highest literacy among the states of India. State topped the Education Development Index (EDI) among 21 major states in India in year 2006–2007.

More than 94% of the rural population has access to primary school within 1 km, while 98% of population benefits one school within a distance of 2 km.
An upper primary school within a distance of 3 km is available for more than 96% of the people, whose 98% benefit the facility for secondary education within 8 km. The access for rural students to higher educational institutions in cities is facilitated by widely subsidised transport fares.

Kerala's educational system has been developed by institutions owned or aided by the government.In the educational system prevailed in the state schooling is for 10 years which is subdivided into lower primary, upper primary and high school, After 10 years of secondary schooling, students typically enroll in Higher Secondary Schooling
Junior college
The term junior college refers to different educational institutions in different countries.-India:In India, most states provide schooling through 12th grade...

 in one of the three major streams—liberal arts
Liberal arts
The term liberal arts refers to those subjects which in classical antiquity were considered essential for a free citizen to study. Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic were the core liberal arts. In medieval times these subjects were extended to include mathematics, geometry, music and astronomy...

, commerce
Commerce
While business refers to the value-creating activities of an organization for profit, commerce means the whole system of an economy that constitutes an environment for business. The system includes legal, economic, political, social, cultural, and technological systems that are in operation in any...

 or science. Upon completing the required coursework, students can enroll in general or professional under graduate programmes.

Schools and colleges are run by the government, private trusts, or individuals. Many of the schools owned by private sector are aided by government. Most of the public schools are affiliated to Kerala State Education Board
Kerala State Education Board
The State Council Educational Research and Training , Kerala is a board of school education in India, conducted by the Government of the state of Kerala, India. The board prepares the syllabus for schools affiliated with it...

. Other familiar educational boards are Indian Certificate of Secondary Education
Indian Certificate of Secondary Education
The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education or ICSE examination is an examination conducted by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, a private, non-governmental board of school education in India, for class 10, i.e., grade 10...

 (ICSE), the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE), or the National Institute of Open Schooling
Nios
Nios may refer to:*National Institute of Open Schooling, Board of Education for school level in India *Nios embedded processor*Nios II*Lake Nyos, a crater lake in the Northwest Province of Cameroon in Africa...

 (NIOS). English is the language of instruction in most self financing schools, while government and government aided schools offer English or Malayalam.

No fees (or a nominal fees) are required in schools run by or aided by government.
Fees concerning the higher and technical education are very low; the ratio of recovery of government's revenue expenditure was 2.6% in 2006–2007. However, the lacking of fees or low fees does not imply low educational cost, as the students incur other costs of several types (examination fees, special fees, material costs, clothing travelling, private tuition). In fact, according to the 61st round of National Sample Survey (2004–2005), per capita spending on education by the rural households resulted to be more than twice the national average ( 41 for Kerala, 18 for India).Urban India spending, on the contrary, resulted to be greater than Kerala's ( 74 for India, 66 for Kerala). However, the survey reveals that the rural-urban difference in expenditure on education by households was much less in Kerala than in the rest of India.

The few universities in Kerala are Kannur University
Kannur University
Kannur University was established in 1996 to provide development of higher education in Kasaragod, Kannur, and Wayanad districts of Kerala, India.It was established after the promulagation of Act No. 22 of 1996 of Kerala Legislative Assembly...

, Mahatma Gandhi University
Mahatma Gandhi University
Mahatma Gandhi University, also known as M G University, was established on 2 October 1983 in Kottayam. The University Grants Commission of India does not believe that the names of Indian universities should be unique, so another UGC-recognized government-run Mahatma Gandhi University was...

, University of Calicut
University of Calicut
The University of Calicut is an affiliating university in the southern state of Kerala in India. It is situated in Thenjipalam, in the district of Malappuram with a number of off-campus centres in neighbouring districts. The University conducts courses and examinations for the students of the...

, University of Kerala, Cochin University of Science and Technology
Cochin University of Science and Technology
Cochin University of Science and Technology is a government owned autonomous university in Kochi , Kerala, India. Founded in 1971, the university consists of three campuses, two in Kochi and one in Kuttanad, Alappuzha, 66 km inland. The university awards degrees in engineering and allied...

, Kerala Agricultural University
Kerala Agricultural University
Kerala Agricultural University is the primary and the principal instrumentality of the Kerala state in providing human resources, and skills and technology, required for the sustainable development of its agriculture, defined broadly encompassing all production activities based on land and water,...

, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit
Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit
Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit is a Ph.D. granting government university located at Kalady in Kerala. The university is named after the sage and philosopher Adi Sankaracharya and was established in the year 1993...

. Premiere educational institutions in Kerala are Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode
Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode
The Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode is one of the 13 Indian Institutes of Management set up by the Government of India. The Institute founded in 1996 in collaboration with the State Government of Kerala was the 5th IIM to be established....

, one of the thirteen Indian Institutes of Management
Indian Institutes of Management
The Indian Institutes of Management , are graduate business schools in India. They were set up with the objective of providing management education and to assist the industry through research and consulting services. The IIMs award diplomas and not degrees.- Institutes :Indian Institute of...

, National Institute of Technology Calicut
National Institute of Technology Calicut
The National Institute of Technology Calicut is a federally funded technical university and an institute of national importance governed by an act passed by the Parliament of India. The campus is situated 22 km north-east of Kozhikode city on the Calicut – Mukkam Road. It was established in 1961...

 (NITC), Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology
Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram
The Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology is India's national institute for the study and development of space science, located at Valiamala, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. It was inaugurated on 14 September 2007 by Dr. G. Madhavan Nair, the then Chairman ISRO...

 (IIST). Kerala also has a National law school which is known as the National University of Advanced Legal Studies
National University of Advanced Legal Studies
National University of Advanced Legal Studies is a university located at Kochi, India for under-graduate, graduate and post-graduate legal education....

.

A widespread Arabic educational system has also become a channel for employment in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 in modern times. Originating in 8th century madrasahs for primary children, Islamic and Arabic schooling was patronized and funded by the British colonial government. Today, the system of Islamic and Arabic primary education has grown and further integrated with government administration. In 2005, an estimated 6,000 Muslim Arabic teachers taught in Kerala government schools, with over 500,000 Muslim students.

The Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics flourished between the 14th and 16th centuries. In attempting to solve astronomical problems, the Kerala school independently created a number of important mathematics concepts including results—series expansion for trigonometric functions.

Culture

Kerala's culture is derived from both a Tamil-heritage region known as Tamilakam
Ancient Tamil country
The Sangam period is the classical period in the history of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and other parts of South India, spanning about the 3rd century BCE to the 3rd century CE...

 and southern coastal Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

. Later, Kerala's culture was elaborated upon through centuries of contact with neighboring and overseas cultures. Native performing arts
Performing arts
The performing arts are those forms art which differ from the plastic arts insofar as the former uses the artist's own body, face, and presence as a medium, and the latter uses materials such as clay, metal or paint which can be molded or transformed to create some physical art object...

 include koodiyattom (a 2000-year-old Sanskrit theatre tradition, officially recognised by UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity), kathakali
Kathakali
Kathakali is a highly stylized classical Indian dance-drama noted for the attractive make-up of characters, elaborate costumes, detailed gestures and well-defined body movements presented in tune with the anchor playback music and complementary percussion...

—from katha ("story") and kali ("performance")—and its offshoot Kerala natanam
Kerala Natanam
Kerala Natanam is a new style of dance that is now recognised as a distinct art form evolved from Kathakali a form of Indian dance-drama...

, Kaliyattam -(North Malabar
North Malabar
North Malabar , is a historic as well as geographic distinction in India used to refer the area covering; present Kasaragod and Kannur Districts, Mananthavady taluk of Wayanad District and Koyilandy & Vatakara taluks of Kozhikode District in modern Kerala and the entire Mahé sub-Division of...

 special), koothu
Koothu
Koothu , means dance or performance in Tamil language, is a folk art originated from the early Tamil country. But more precisely Koothu refers Therukoothu that is street dance or street play since it will be performed village squares. At early age the art of entertainment reached its peak in...

 (akin to stand-up comedy), mohiniaattam
Mohiniaattam
Mohiniyattam, also spelled Mohiniattam , is a traditional South Indian dance from Kerala, developed by the Tamil nattuvanar Vadivelu,one of the Thanjavur Quartet. It is one of the eight Indian classical dance forms. It is considered a very graceful dance meant to be performed as a solo recital by...

 ("dance of the enchantress"), Theyyam
Theyyam
Theyyam or Theyyattam or Thira is a popular Hindu ritual form of worship of North Malabar in Kerala state, India, predominant in the Kolathunadu area Theyyam or Theyyattam or Thira is a popular Hindu ritual form of worship of North Malabar in Kerala state, India, predominant in the Kolathunadu...

, thullal NS padayani
Padayani
Padayani, also called Padeni, is a traditional folk dance from the central portion of the Indian state of Kerala. A ceremonial dance involving masks, it is an ancient ritual performed in Bhagavati temples...

. Kathakali and Mohiniattam are widely recognized Indian Classical Dance traditions from Kerala.

Other forms of art are more religious or tribal in nature. These include chavittu nadakom and oppana
Oppana
Oppana is a popular form of social entertainment among the Mappila community of Kerala, south India, prevalent all over, especially in the northern district of Malappuram.. The Oppana Pattu might have come from Tamil culture. The Malayalam word Oppana Pattu is the derivation of Tamil word 'Oppanai...

 which combines dance, rhythmic hand clapping, and ishal vocalisations. Margam Kali
Margam Kali
Margam Kali is one of the ancient group dance of Kerala practiced by Saint Thomas Christians. It is difficult to trace the exact origin of the dance form and the compilation of the lyrics, but the dance form was practiced by the Saint Thomas Christians before the arrival of Portuguese missionaries...

 is a traditional group dance form traceable back to 17th century, originally performed during Syrian Christian
Saint Thomas Christians
The Saint Thomas Christians are an ancient body of Christians from Kerala, India, who trace their origins to the evangelical activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. They are also known as "Nasranis" because they are followers of "Jesus of Nazareth". The term "Nasrani" is still used by St...

 festivals. However, many of these art forms are largely performed for tourists or at youth festivals, and are not as popular among most Keralites. Contemporary art and performance styles including those employing mimicry and parody are more popular.

Kerala's music
Music of Kerala
The Music of Kerala has a long and rich history.It is not the same as malayalam poetry although most of it is poetry driven. Kerala has a rich tradition in Carnatic music.Songs formed a major part of early Malayalam literature, which traces its origin to the 9th century CE...

 also has ancient roots. Carnatic music
Carnatic music
Carnatic music is a system of music commonly associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent, with its area roughly confined to four modern states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu...

 dominates Keralite traditional music. This was the result of Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma
Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma
Sri Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma was the Maharaja of the state of Travancore , in India. He reigned under the regency of his mother Maharani Gowri Lakshmi Bayi from 1813 till 1815 and henceforth under the regency of his aunt Maharani Gowri Parvati Bayi from 1815 till 1829...

's popularisation of the genre in the 19th century. Raga-based renditions known as sopanam accompany kathakali performances. Melam (including the paandi and panchari variants) is a more percussive style of music; it is performed at Kshetram centered festivals using the chenda
Chenda
The Chenda is a cylindrical percussion instrument used widely in the state of Kerala, and Tulu Nadu of Karnataka State in India. In Tulu Nadu it is known as Chande....

. Melam ensembles comprise up to 150 musicians, and performances may last up to four hours. Panchavadyam is a different form of percussion ensemble, in which up to 100 artists use five types of percussion instrument. Kerala has various styles of folk and tribal music. The popular music of Kerala is dominated by the filmi
Filmi
Filmi is Indian popular music as written and performed for Indian cinema. Music directors make up the main body of composers; the songs are performed by playback singers and it makes up 72% of the music sales in India....

 music of Indian cinema. Kerala's visual arts range from traditional murals to the works of Raja Ravi Varma
Raja Ravi Varma
Raja Ravi Varma was an Indian painter from the princely state of Travancore who achieved recognition for his depiction of scenes from the epics of the Mahabharata and Ramayana...

, the state's most renowned painter.

Kolla Varsham or Malayalam Era, which is assumed to have been established by King Udaya Marthanda Varma in 825 CE, serves as the official calendar of Kerala. The Malayalam calendar
Malayalam calendar
Malayalam calendar is a solar and sidereal Hindu calendar used in Kerala, India. The origin of the calendar has been dated as 825 CE....

 is used to plan agricultural and religious activities. Kerala's most popular dish is Rice and curry
Rice and curry
Rice and curry is a popular dish in Sri Lanka and the Southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.Rice and curry dinner comprises the following:* A large bowl of rice, most often boiled, but frequently fried...

. The sadhya
Sadhya
Sadya means banquet in Malayalam. It is a typical feast of the people of KeralaSadya is a big feast associated with special occasions like wedding,childbirth or birthday. Sadya is traditionally a vegetarian meal served on a banana leaf. People are seated cross-legged on the floor on a mat. All the...

 (feast) is traditionally served on green banana leaves. Such dishes as idli, payasam, pulisherry, puttukadala, or PuttuPayarPappadam, puzhukku, rasam
Rasam
Rasam is a South Indian soup. Traditional preparation involves tamarind juice as base in addition to tomato, chili pepper and other spices as seasonings. Steamed lentils are added by some along with any preferred vegetables. Nowadays all the seasonings required are combined and ground beforehand...

, and sambar are typical. Keralites—both men and women alike—traditionally don flowing and unstitched garments. These include the mundu
Mundu
The mundu is a garment worn around the waist in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka, Kerala and Maldives. This garment is closely related to the Dhoti, Sarong, and Lungi. In South Kanara, a district of Karnataka state, the Tulu speaking folk and Beary community also wear the mundu. It is...

, a loose piece of cloth wrapped around men's waists. Women typically wear the sari
Sari
A sari or sareeThe name of the garment in various regional languages include: , , , , , , , , , , , , , is a strip of unstitched cloth, worn by females, ranging from four to nine metres in length that is draped over the body in various styles. It is popular in India, Bangladesh, Nepal,...

, a long and elaborately wrapped banner of cloth, wearable in various styles. Presently, North Indian dresses such as Salwar kameez are also popular among women in Kerala.

Elephants are an integral part of daily life in Kerala. Indian elephant
Indian Elephant
The Indian Elephant is one of three recognized subspecies of the Asian elephant, and native to mainland Asia. Since 1986, Elephas maximus has been listed as endangered by IUCN as the population has declined by at least 50% over the last three generations, estimated to be 60–75 years...

s are loved, revered, groomed and given a prestigious place in the state's culture. They are often referred to as the 'sons of the sahya.' Elephant is the state animal of Kerala and is featured on the emblem of the Government of Kerala
Government of Kerala
The Government of Kerala is a democratically elected body that governs the State of Kerala, India for a period of 5 years. The state government is headed by the Governor of Kerala as the nominal head of state, with a democratically elected Chief Minister as real head of the executive. The state...

.

Malayalam literature
Malayalam literature
The term Malayalam literature refers to Literature written in Malayalam language. Malayalam is the language spoken by around 35 million people, mainly the inhabitants of the state of Kerala and the union territory of Lakshadweep Islands in India. Malayalam is a Dravidian language and thus has close...

 is medieval in origin and includes such figures as the 14th century Niranam poets
Niranam poets
Niranam is a small village in Southern Kerala in India near Mannar town. In 14th century Niranam gave birth to three poets who became well-known as the Niranam Poets. They were Madhava Panikkar, Sankara Panikkar and Rama Panikkar of the Kannassa family. The first two were uncles of Rama Panikkar...

 (Madhava Panikkar, Sankara Panikkar and Rama Panikkar), and the 17th century poet Thunchaththu Ezhuthachan whose works mark the dawn of both modern Malayalam language and indigenous Keralite poetry. Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar
Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar
Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar is the author of Varthamanapusthakam , the first ever travelogue in an Indian language . He was Administrator of the Archdiocese of Cranganore from 1786 till his death....

 and Kerala Varma Valiakoi Thampuran are noted for their contribution to Malayalam prose. The "triumvirate of poets
Triumvirate poets of modern Malayalam
N.Kumaran Asan, Vallathol Narayana Menon and Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer are regarded as the triumvirates of modern Malayalam literature....

" (Kavithrayam), Kumaran Asan
Kumaran Asan
N. Kumaran Asan , also known as Mahakavi Kumaran Asan , was one of the triumvirate poets of Kerala, South India...

, Vallathol Narayana Menon
Vallathol Narayana Menon
Vallathol Narayana Menon , popularly known as Mahakavi, was one of the celebrity poets in Malayalam language, spoken in the South Indian state of Kerala. Vallathol was born in Chennara, near Tirur, in Malappuram District of Kerala state, southern India. Up to his 27 years he lived in Chennara and...

, and Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer
Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer
Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer , commonly known as Ulloor was a famous Malayalam poet and a noted historian. Ulloor was one of the famous triumvirate poets of Kerala, South India in the first half of the 20th century....

, are recognised for moving Keralite poetry away from archaic sophistry and metaphysics, and towards a more lyrical
Lyrics
Lyrics are a set of words that make up a song. The writer of lyrics is a lyricist or lyrist. The meaning of lyrics can either be explicit or implicit. Some lyrics are abstract, almost unintelligible, and, in such cases, their explication emphasizes form, articulation, meter, and symmetry of...

 mode.

In the second half of the 20th century, Jnanpith awardees like G. Sankara Kurup
G. Sankara Kurup
G. Sankara Kurup, , better known as Mahakavi G , was the first winner of the Jnanpith Award, India's highest literary award...

, S. K. Pottekkatt
S. K. Pottekkatt
Sankaran Kutty Pottekkatt , popularly known as S. K. Pottekkatt, was a famous Malayalam writer from Kerala state, South India...

, Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai
Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai
Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai was a novelist and short story writer of Malayalam language, spoken in Kerala state, South India. He is popularly known as Thakazhi, after his place of birth. He focused on the oppressed classes as the subject of his works, which are known for their attention to...

, M. T. Vasudevan Nair
M. T. Vasudevan Nair
Madathil Thekkepaattu Vasudevan Nair , popularly known as MT, is an Indian author, screenplay writer and film director. He was born in Kudallur, a small village in the present day Palakkad District, which was under the Malabar District in the Madras Presidency of the British Raj...

 and O. N. V. Kurup
O. N. V. Kurup
Ottaplakkal Nambiyadikkal Velu Kurup , popularly known as O. N. V. Kurup or simply O. N. V., is a Malayalam poet and lyricist from Kerala, India, who won Jnanpith Award,the highest literary award in India for the year 2007. He is considered one of the finest living lyrical poets in India. O. N....

 have made valuable contributions to the Malayalam literature. Later, such Keralite writers as O. V. Vijayan
O. V. Vijayan
Ootupulackal Velukkuty Vijayan was an Indian author and cartoonist, who was an important figure in modern Malayalam literature. Best known for his first novel Khasakkinte Itihasam , Vijayan has six novels, nine short-story collections, and nine collections of essays, memoirs and reflections.-...

, Kamaladas, M. Mukundan
M. Mukundan
M. Mukundan is one of the pioneers of modernity in Malayalam literature, belonging to Mahe, part of Pondicherry Union Territory in South India. He was born on 10 September 1942 at Mayyazhi , a one-time French territory in India...

, and Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy is an Indian novelist. She won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, The God of Small Things, and has also written two screenplays and several collections of essays...

, whose 1996 semi-autobiographical
Autobiography
An autobiography is a book about the life of a person, written by that person.-Origin of the term:...

 bestseller The God of Small Things
The God of Small Things
The God of Small Things is the debut novel of Indian author Arundhati Roy. It is a story about the childhood experiences of fraternal twins whose lives are destroyed by the "Love Laws" that lay down "who should be loved, and how. And how much." The book is a description of how the small things in...

 is set in the Kottayam
Kottayam
Kottayam is a city in the Indian state of Kerala, spread over an area of 55.40 km2. It is the administrative capital of the Kottayam district. Kottayam Kottayam (Malayalam: കോട്ടയം) is a city in the Indian state of Kerala, spread over an area of 55.40 km2. It is the administrative...

 town of Ayemenem, have gained international recognition.

Malayalam cinema carved a niche for itself in the Indian film industry. It has been producing both parallel and mainstream cinema of great acclaim for years. Directors like Adoor Gopalakrishnan
Adoor Gopalakrishnan
Moutatthu "Adoor" Gopalakrishnan Unnithan is an Indian film director, script writer, and producer. Adoor Gopalakrishnan had a major role in revolutionizing Malayalam cinema and is regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers of India.. Adoor's first film Swayamvaram pioneered the new wave cinema...

, John Abraham, G. Aravindan
G. Aravindan
Govindan Aravindan who was popularly known as G. Aravindan was a national award winning film director, screenwriter, musician and cartoonist from Kerala, India. He was known for his unorthodox way of film-making; he changed his cinematic forms consistently and experimented in story telling without...

 have been some of the great names in the Indian parallel cinema
Parallel Cinema
The Indian New Wave, commonly known in India as Art Cinema or Parallel Cinema as an alternative to the mainstream commercial cinema, is a specific movement in Indian cinema, known for its serious content, realism and naturalism, with a keen eye on the sociopolitical climate of the times...

. Kerala has also given birth to numerous acclaimed actors such as Bharat Gopi, Prem Nazir
Prem Nazir
Abdul Khader , better known by his stage name Prem Nazir , was an Indian film actor. He is considered one of the all time super stars in Malayalam cinema...

, Mammotty, Mohanlal
Mohanlal
Mohanlal Vishwanathan Nair , known mononymously as Mohanlal , is a National Award-winning Indian actor, producer, singer and writer who is well known for his versatile and natural acting in Indian cinema & hence widely known as the Universal Star...

, Suresh Gopi
Suresh Gopi
Suresh Gopinathan Nair , often credited as Suresh Gopi , is an Indian film actor who works mainly in Malayalam cinema; he is famous for his roles in police dramas. He is noted for his leading roles as much as his character roles...

, Murali, Oduvil Unnikrishnan
Oduvil Unnikrishnan
Oduvil Unnikrishnan was an award winning Malayalam movie actor known for his versatile acting skills, known for his portrayal of classical ancient aristocratic personalities in Malayalam cinema with his unique provincial linguistic style, expressions and dialect. He was noted as a serious as well...

, Cochin Haneefa
Cochin Haneefa
Mohammed Haneefa, better known by his stage name Cochin Haneefa was an Indian film actor, director, and screenwriter. He started his career in the 1970s mainly portraying villainous roles, before going on to become one of the most popular comedians of Malayalam cinema...

, Thilakan
Thilakan
Surendranatha Thilakan , known mononymously as Thilakan, is an Indian actor who works in Malayalam cinema and theatre. He was awarded Padma Shri on 25 January 2009.- Theatre:...

 and Nedumudi Venu
Nedumudi Venu
Nedumudi Venu is a popular Malayalam film actor from Kerala, India. He has also written screenplays and has directed one film.- Early life :...


Media

The National Family Health Survey – 3, conducted in 2007 ranked Kerala as a state with the highest media exposure in India
Indian states ranking by media exposure
This is a list of the States of India ranked in order of percentage of people exposed to the media. This information was compiled from NFHS-3. National Family health survey is a large-scale, multi round survey conducted by the International Institute of Population Sciences , Mumbai designated by...

. Dozens of newspapers are published in Kerala, in nine major languages, but principally Malayalam and English. The most widely circulating Malayalam-language newspapers are Malayala Manorama
Malayala Manorama
Malayala Manorama is a daily news paper, in Malayalam language, published in the state of Kerala, India. It was first published as a weekly on 14 March 1890, and currently has a readership of over 16 million . The Malayalam word "manorama" roughly translates to "entertainer"...

, Mathrubhumi
Mathrubhumi
Mathrubhumi is a Malayalam language newspaper that is published from Kerala, India. Mathrubhumi was founded by K. P. Kesava Menon, an active volunteer in the Indian freedom struggle against the British.-History:...

, Madhyamam
Madhyamam
Madhyamam is a Malayalam daily newspaper published from Kerala, India, since 1987.. It was founded in 1987 by the initiatives of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. It has 10 editions in India and its Gulf edition Gulf Madhyamam has 9 in the Middle East...

, Mangalam
Mangalam
Mangalam Publications Private Limited, is a publishing company in Kottayam, Kerala in India. It publishes daily newspaper and weekly magazines such as Mangalam Weekly and Cinema Mangalam in Malayalam language.- History :...

, Chandrika
Chandrika
This article is about a Malayalam newspaper. For the soap brand, see Chandrika .Chandrika is a Malayalam newspaper run by the Indian Union Muslim League, Kerala. It is published from Kozhikode and was the first attempt to have a newspaper from Malabar Muslims to support the political party...

, Deepika, Kerala Kaumudi
Kerala Kaumudi
Kerala Kaumudi is a popular Malayalam newspaper, founded in 1911 by C. V. Kunhiraman with K. Sukumaran B.A. as the founder editor. Printed from Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Kochi, Kozhikode, Kannur in Kerala and Bangalore, Kerala Kaumudi is the third most circulated Malayalam daily. The...

 and Deshabhimani. Major Malayalam periodicals include Mathrubhumi
Mathrubhumi
Mathrubhumi is a Malayalam language newspaper that is published from Kerala, India. Mathrubhumi was founded by K. P. Kesava Menon, an active volunteer in the Indian freedom struggle against the British.-History:...

, India Today Malayalam
India Today
India Today is an Indian weekly news magazine published by Living Media India Limited, in publication since 1975 based in Mumbai. India Today is also the name of its sister-publication in Hindi...

, Madhyamam weekly, Grihalakshmi
Grihalakshmi
Gruhalakshmi was a 1938 Telugu film produced and directed by H. M. Reddy. It was the maiden film for Rohini Pictures and Chittor V. Nagaiah. The film was adaptation of the popular stage play Rangoon Rowdy written by Somaraju Ramanuja Rao.-The plot:The social film is about a decadent dancer,...

, Vanitha
Vanitha
Vanitha is an Indian magazine published fortnightly by the Malayala Manorama group. Although its name translates to "woman" in Malayalam, it includes articles on a variety of topics, and is not strictly a women's magazine. Published in Malayalam and Hindi, it is the largest selling magazine in...

, Dhanam
Dhanam (Business Magazine)
Dhanam is a fortnightly business and investment magazine in Malayalam language, published in the state of Kerala, India by Dhanam Publications Pvt. Ltd.. It was first published in 1987, and currently has a readership of over 4 lakhs with a circulation base of 1 lakh copies...

, Chithrabhumi
Chithrabhumi
Chithrabhumi is a film magazine in Malayalam published from Kerala. It is a publication from the Mathrubhumi group. It was started in 1982....

, and Bhashaposhini
Bhashaposhini
Bhashaposhini is an Indian monthly magazine. It is one of the oldest Malayalam literary review magazines.Bhashaposhini was first published in 1892. After a long break, this publication has been revived by the Malayala Manorama group of Publications...

.

Doordarshan
DoorDarshan
Doordarshan is an Indian public service broadcaster, a division of Prasar Bharati. It is one of the largest broadcasting organizations in India in terms of the infrastructure of studios and transmitters. Recently, it has also started Digital Terrestrial Transmitters. On September 15, 2009,...

 is the state-owned television broadcaster. Multi system operator
Multi system operator
A Multiple System Operator or Multi System Operator is an operator of multiple cable television systems. A cable system in the United States, by Federal Communications Commission definition, is a facility serving a single community or a distinct governmental entity, each with its own franchise...

s provide a mix of Malayalam, English and international channels via cable television. The major Malayalam television channels are Asianet
Asianet
Asianet Communications Limited is an Indian media conglomerate jointly owned by STAR TV and Jupiter Entertainment. Formed in 1991 and headquartered in the city of Thiruvananthapuram in the south Indian state of Kerala, the company owns several television channels including Asianet, the first...

, Surya TV
Surya TV
Surya TV is a Malayalam television channel in India. Established in 1998 October 7, Surya TV is the first digital channel of India and now the channel is telecasted in MPEG4 format. The channel is in the second position among Malayalam channels. The channel is part of Sun Network and telecast...

, Indiavision
Indiavision
Indiavision is an Indian news channel in Malayalam language based at Kochi, Kerala state. Founded in 2003, it was the first exclusive news channel in Malayalam. It has its registered office at Edappally in Kochi and its telecasting studio is located at Padivattom, Kochi. Indiavision started...

, Kairali TV
Kairali TV
Kairali TV is an Indian television channel broadcasting in the Malayalam language catering to the Malayalam speaking population in Kerala as well as abroad . The channel, headquartered in Trivandrum, has studio facilities in Trivandrum as well as Kochi. Malayalam Communications Limited is the...

, Manorama News, Amrita TV
Amrita TV
Amrita TV, launched in 2005, as a 24-hour Malayalam, general entertainment & news satellite channel with a global footprint, has been honoured with 54 State Awards for Excellence in Television—the only channel in India to be bestowed with such a recognition in just two years since inception...

, and Jeevan TV
Jeevan TV
Jeevan TV is a 24 hour Malayalam television channel, with its headquarters at Palarivattom, Kochi, India. It uses the slogan "The complete family channel". Further it is a semi news channel. It is promoted by Syro-Malabar Catholic Archdiocese of Thrissur. Andrews Thazhath, Metropolitan Arch Bishop...

. All India Radio
All India Radio
All India Radio , officially known since 1956 as Akashvani , is the radio broadcaster of India and a division of Prasar Bharati. Established in 1936, it is the sister service of Prasar Bharati's Doordarshan, the national television broadcaster. All India Radio is one of the largest radio networks...

, the national radio service, reaches much of Kerala via its Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Thrissur, Alappuzha, Kozhikode and Kannur Malayalam-language broadcasts. Television serials, reality shows and the Internet have become a major source of entertainment and information for the people of Kerala. A Malayalam version of Google News
Google News
Google News is a free news aggregator provided by Google Inc, selecting recent items from thousands of publications by an automatic aggregation algorithm....

 was launched in September 2008. Regardless, Keralites maintain high rates of newspaper and magazine subscriptions. A sizeable "people's science" movement has taken root in the state, and such activities as writers' cooperatives are becoming increasingly common.

BSNL, Reliance Infocomm, Airtel, Vodafone
Vodafone
Vodafone Group Plc is a global telecommunications company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the world's largest mobile telecommunications company measured by revenues and the world's second-largest measured by subscribers , with around 341 million proportionate subscribers as of...

, Idea
Idea
In the most narrow sense, an idea is just whatever is before the mind when one thinks. Very often, ideas are construed as representational images; i.e. images of some object. In other contexts, ideas are taken to be concepts, although abstract concepts do not necessarily appear as images...

, Tata Docomo
Tata DoCoMo
TATA DoCoMo, referred to as DoCoMo , is a Tata Teleservices Limited owned cellular service provider on the GSM and CDMA platform-arising out of the Tata Group's strategic joint venture with Japanese telecom giant NTT Docomo in November 2008...

 and Aircel
Aircel
Aircel group is a mobile phone service provider in India. It offers both prepaid and postpaid GSM cellular phone coverage throughout India. The Aircel group is a joint venture between Maxis Communications Berhad of Malaysia and Sindya Securities & Investments Private Limited, whose current...

 are some of the major cell phone providers in the state. Broadband
Broadband
The term broadband refers to a telecommunications signal or device of greater bandwidth, in some sense, than another standard or usual signal or device . Different criteria for "broad" have been applied in different contexts and at different times...

 internet services are widely available throughout the state; some of the major ISPs are BSNL, Asianet Satellite communications
Asianet
Asianet Communications Limited is an Indian media conglomerate jointly owned by STAR TV and Jupiter Entertainment. Formed in 1991 and headquartered in the city of Thiruvananthapuram in the south Indian state of Kerala, the company owns several television channels including Asianet, the first...

, Reliance Communications
Reliance Communications
Reliance Communications Ltd. is an Indian broadband and telecommunications company headquartered in Navi Mumbai, India. RCOM is the world's 16th largest mobile phone operator with over 144 million subscribers. Established on 2004, a subsidiary of the Reliance Group...

, Airtel and VSNL.

Malayalam films
Malayalam cinema
The Cinema of Kerala or Malayalam cinema refers to the film industry in the Indian state of Kerala, which makes films in the Malayalam language. Malayalam movies typically portray social or family issues and are considered more realistic than films from other parts of India. Malayalam cinema has...

 are known for their realistic portrayal of characters and being socially oriented without giving a lot of importance to glitz and glamour. Movies produced in Hindi, Tamil and English (Made in Hollywood) are popular among Keralites. Late Malayalam actor Prem Nazir
Prem Nazir
Abdul Khader , better known by his stage name Prem Nazir , was an Indian film actor. He is considered one of the all time super stars in Malayalam cinema...

 holds the world record for having acted as the protagonist of over 720 movies. Since 1980s, actorsMammootty
Mammootty
Mammootty is an Indian film actor and producer who works mainly in Malayalam cinema. He has also acted in a few Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, and Kannada films. During a career spanning more than three decades, he has acted in more than 360 films, and is only next to Prem Nazir in the number of lead roles...

 and Mohanlal
Mohanlal
Mohanlal Vishwanathan Nair , known mononymously as Mohanlal , is a National Award-winning Indian actor, producer, singer and writer who is well known for his versatile and natural acting in Indian cinema & hence widely known as the Universal Star...

 have dominated the movie industry; They have won several National and State awards and are considered among the greatest actors in India.

Sports

Several ancient ritualised arts are Keralite in origin. These include kalaripayattu—kalari
Kalari
The word Kalari means battle ground in Tamil and translates as "threshing floor" or "battlefield" in Malayalam. Training for Kalarippayattu, a martial art of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, is traditionally done inside the Kalari....

 ("place", "threshing floor", or "battlefield") and payattu ("exercise" or "practice"). Among the world's oldest martial arts, oral tradition attributes kalaripayattus emergence to Parasurama. Other ritual arts include theyyam
Theyyam
Theyyam or Theyyattam or Thira is a popular Hindu ritual form of worship of North Malabar in Kerala state, India, predominant in the Kolathunadu area Theyyam or Theyyattam or Thira is a popular Hindu ritual form of worship of North Malabar in Kerala state, India, predominant in the Kolathunadu...

 and poorakkali
Poorakkali
Poorakkali is a traditional dance ritual performed by men during the nine-day Pooram festival in Bhagavathy temples across North Malabar in Kerala State of south India....

.

Cricket and football are the most popular sports in the state.
Kochi Tuskers Kerala is the franchise cricket team that plays in the Indian Premier League (IPL)
Indian Premier League
The Indian Premier League is a professional league for Twenty20 cricket competition in India. It was initiated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India , headquartered in Mumbai, and is supervised by BCCI Vice President Rajeev Shukla, who serves as the league's Chairman and Commissioner...

. Two Kerala Ranji Trophy
Ranji Trophy
The Ranji Trophy is a domestic first-class cricket championship played in India between different city and state sides, equivalent to the County Championship in England and the Sheffield Shield in Australia...

 players gained test selection in recent years. Sreesanth has represented India since 2005. Among other Keralite cricketers is Tinu Yohannan
Tinu Yohannan
Tinu Yohannan is an Indian cricketer. He is a right-handed fast medium bowler. He plays first class cricket for Kerala. He is the first Kerala Ranji player to play Test and one day cricket for India....

, son of Olympic long jump
Long jump
The long jump is a track and field event in which athletes combine speed, strength, and agility in an attempt to leap as far as possible from a take off point...

er T. C. Yohannan
T. C. Yohannan
Thadathuvila Chandapillai Yohannan , better known as T. C. Yohannan, is a former Indian long jumper who held the national record in long jump for nearly 3 decades and represented India in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada. He hails from the state of Kerala...

. Notable Kerala footballers include I. M. Vijayan
I. M. Vijayan
Inivalappil Mani Vijayan is one of the leading Indian football players of modern times. Playing in the striker position, he formed a successful attacking partnership with Baichung Bhutia for the Indian national team in the late nineties and early 2000's...

, C. V. Pappachan, V. P. Sathyan
V. P. Sathyan
Vatta Parambath Sathyan , known popularly as V. P. Sathyan, was a captain of the Indian national football team who played in the centre back position. He was named the AIFF player of the year in 1995.- Career :...

, and Jo Paul Ancheri
Jo Paul Ancheri
Jo Paul Ancheri is a leading Indian football player and was the former Indian Football team Captain. He was named the AIFF Player of the Year by the All India Football Federation in 1994 and 2001.-Career:...

.

Other popular sports include badminton, volleyball and kabaddi
Kabaddi
Kabaddi is a South Asian team sport...

. Among Kerala athletes are P. T. Usha, T. C. Yohannan
T. C. Yohannan
Thadathuvila Chandapillai Yohannan , better known as T. C. Yohannan, is a former Indian long jumper who held the national record in long jump for nearly 3 decades and represented India in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada. He hails from the state of Kerala...

, Suresh Babu
Suresh Babu
Suresh Babu was an Indian long jumper from Kerala who had held the national titles in the long, triple, and high jump events, in addition to the decathlon...

, Shiny Wilson, K. M. Beenamol
K. M. Beenamol
Kalayathumkuzhi Mathews Beenamol, popularly known as K M Beenamol is an international athlete from India. She became the third Indian women to reach an Olympics semi-final since P. T. Usha Kalayathumkuzhi Mathews Beenamol, popularly known as K M Beenamol (born August 15, 1975, Kombidinjal, a...

, M. D. Valsamma
M. D. Valsamma
Manathoor Devasia Valsamma , was an Indian athlete. She was the third Indian woman to win an individual Gold medal at the Asian Games and the first to win it on Indian soil.-Early life:...

 and Anju Bobby George
Anju Bobby George
Anju Bobby George is an Indian athlete. Anju Bobby George made history when she won the bronze medal in Long Jump at the 2003 World Championships in Athletics in Paris. With this achievement, she became the first Indian athlete ever to win a medal in a World Championships in Athletics jumping...

. Volleyball is another popular sport and is often played on makeshift courts on sandy beaches along the coast. Jimmy George
Jimmy George
Jimmy George is often considered one of the greatest Indian volleyball players of all time...

 was a notable Indian volleyball player, rated in his prime as among the world's ten best players.

Tourism

Kerala is situated on the lush and tropical Malabar Coast
Malabar Coast
The Malabar Coast is a long and narrow coastline on the south-western shore line of the mainland Indian subcontinent. Geographically, it comprises the wettest regions of southern India, as the Western Ghats intercept the moisture-laden monsoon rains, especially on their westward-facing mountain...

. Kerala is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Its unique culture and traditions
Culture of Kerala
The culture of Kerala is a synthesis of Dravidian and Aryan cultures, developed and mixed for centuries, under influences from other parts of India and abroad. It is defined by its antiquity and the organic continuity sustained by the Malayali people. Modern Kerala society took shape owing to...

, coupled with its varied demographics
Demographics of Kerala
Kerala is a state in south-western India. Most of Kerala's 31.8 million people are of Malayali ethnicity. Malayali Hindus derive their ancestry from Dravidian and Aryan communities that settled in Kerala and intermixed. Additional ancestries derive from several centuries of contact with...

, has made Kerala one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. National Geographic's Traveller
National Geographic Traveler
National Geographic Traveler is a magazine published by the National Geographic Society in the United States. It was launched in 1984. Local-language editions of National Geographic Traveler are published in Armenia, Belgium/the Netherlands, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Indonesia, Latin America,...

 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".

Until the early 1980s, Kerala was a relatively unknown destination; most tourist circuits focused on North India
North India
North India, known natively as Uttar Bhārat or Shumālī Hindustān , is a loosely defined region in the northern part of India. The exact meaning of the term varies by usage...

. Aggressive marketing campaigns launched by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation
Kerala Tourism Development Corporation
The Kerala Tourism Development Corporation is a public sector undertaking that conducts and regulates the tourism activities of the Indian state of Kerala. The KTDC is headquartered at Thiruvanathapuram and has offices across all the districts of Kerala. The agency also operates hotels, resorts,...

, 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. The tagline Kerala- God's Own Country
God's Own Country
God’s Own Country, often abbreviated to Godzone or less often Godzown, is a phrase that has been used for more than 100 years by New Zealanders to describe their homeland. It has subsequently been adopted by some other countries, notably Australia, but this has declined as the phrase has become...

 has been widely used in Kerala's tourism promotions and soon became synonymous with the state. 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.

The state's tourism industry is a major contributor to the state's economy
Economy of Kerala
Culture | Economy | Geography | History |People | Politics | SocietyService industry dominates the Kerala economy . Kerala leads many other Indian states and territories in terms of per capita GDP and economic productivity and Kerala's Human Development Index is the best in India.kerala's Human...

 which is currently growing at a rate of 13.31%.

Kerala is known for its ecotourism
Ecotourism
Ecotourism is a form of tourism visiting fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas, intended as a low impact and often small scale alternative to standard commercial tourism...

 initiatives. The most popular tourist attractions in the state are beaches, backwaters and hill stations. These include the beaches at Kovalam
Kovalam
Kovalam is a beach town on the Arabian Sea in Thiruvananthapuram city, Kerala, India. It is located around 13 km from the down town of Trivandrum.-Etymology:...

, Cherai
Cherai
Cherai is a region in the island of Vypin, a suburb of the city of Kochi, in the state of Kerala, India. It is at a distance of about 25km from the High Court Junction, Kochi. Cherai has the longest beach in Kochi - the Cherai beach. The beach is located towards the centre-north of the Vypin...

, Varkala
Varkala
Varkala is a coastal town and municipality in Thiruvananthapuram district situated in the Indian state of Kerala. It is located 50 kilometres north-west of Thiruvananthapuram and 37 km south-west of Kollam city.Varkala is the only place in southern Kerala where cliffs are found adjacent to...

, Kappad
Kappad
Kappad, or Kappakadavu locally, is famous as the beach near Kozhikode , India, where the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama landed on May 20, 1498. His voyage established the sea route from Europe to India...

, Muzhappilangad
Muzhappilangad
Muzhappilangad is a small coastal village in Kannur district in the Indian state of Kerala. This village is renowned for its 5 km long pristine Muzhappilangad beach. Dharmadam island is visible from here and Anjarakandy river enters in Arabian sea near this place.The nearest town to...

 and Bekal
Bekal
-References:* *...

; the hill station
Hill station
A hill station is a town located at a higher elevation than the nearby plain or valley. The term was used mostly in colonial Asia , but also in Africa , for towns founded by European colonial rulers as refuges from the summer heat, up where temperatures are cooler...

s of Munnar
Munnar
Munnar is one of the most popular hill station in Kerala and in southern India. Munnar is located on the Western Ghats, situated in the Idukki district....

, Wayanad, Wagamon
Wagamon
Vagamon is a hill station located in Kottayam-Idukki border of Idukki district of Kerala, India. It has a cool climate with the temperature between 10-23°C during a summer midday. It is situated 1,100 metre above sea level....

, Peermade
Peermade
Peermade, also transliterated as Perumade, Peerumed, Peerumade or Peermede, is a hill station in the state of Kerala, India...

, Nelliampathi
Nelliampathi
Nelliampathi is a popular hill station 60 km away from Palakkad in Kerala, a small state in south India. It is surrounded by tea and coffee plantations and has excellent weather conditions. The journey to Nelliampathi itself is an experience. The only route is from Nemmara, from where the...

 and Ponmudi
Ponmudi
Ponmudi is a hillstation in the Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala in South India. Its located 61 km north-east of Trivandrum city at an altitude of 1100 m. It is a part of the Western Ghats mountain range that runs parallel to the Arabian Sea.-Tourism:Ponmudi is connected to...

; and national parks and wildlife sanctuaries at Periyar
Thekkady
Thekkady is the location of the Periyar National Park, which is an important tourist attraction in the Kerala state of India.- Overview :...

, Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary and Eravikulam National Park
Eravikulam National Park
Eravikulam National Park is a 97 km² national park located along the Western Ghats in the Idukki district of Kerala in India, between 10º05'N - 10º20'N latitude and 77º0'E - 77º10'E longitude...

. The "backwaters
Kerala Backwaters
The Kerala backwaters are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast of Kerala state in southern India. The network includes five large lakes linked by canals, both manmade and natural, fed by 38 rivers, and extending virtually half the length of Kerala state...

" is an extensive network of interlocking rivers, lakes, and canals that center around Alleppey, Kumarakom
Kumarakom
Kumarakom is a popular tourism destination located near the city of Kottayam , in Kerala, India, famous for its backwater tourism. It is set in the backdrop of the Vembanad Lake which is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Kerala.-Environment:...

, Kollam
Kollam
Kollam , often anglicized as ', is a city in the Indian state of Kerala. The city lies on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake on the Arabian sea coast and is situated about north of the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram...

 and
Punnamada (where the annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held in August). Heritage sites, such as the Padmanabhapuram Palace
Padmanabhapuram Palace
Padmanabhapuram Palace complex is located in at Padmanabhapuram Fort, close to the town of Thuckalay in Kanyakumari District, Tamilnadu, in India. It is about 20 km from Nagercoil, and about 50 kilometers from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The palace complex is inside an old granite...

 and the Mattancherry Palace
Mattancherry Palace
The Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace, in Mattancherry, Kochi, in the Indian state of Kerala features Kerala murals depicting Hindu temple art, portraits and exhibits of the Rajas of Kochi.-History:...

, are also visited. Cities such as Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode are popular centres for their shopping and traditional theatrical performances respectively. During early summer, the Thrissur Pooram
Thrissur Pooram
Pooram is one of the nakshatras or star in the Hindu panchangam. There are 27 Nakshatras in the Hindu panchangam and a million or more temples in Kerala, and this combination creates numerous possibilities for auspicious occasions, with each temple having varying importance for the different stars...

 is conducted, attracting foreign tourists who are largely drawn by the festival's elephants and celebrants. The main pilgrim tourist spots of Kerala are Sabarimala Temple, Padmanabhaswamy Temple (Thiruvananthapuram), Padanilam
Padanilam
Padanilam is a small town located near Nooranad in the Alappuzha district of Kerala. The word Padanilam means "land of war" .It is located on the banks of river Achankovil. The Padanilam temple is one of the important centres of worship in Kerala...

 Parabrahma Temple(Mavelikkara
Mavelikkara
Mavelikara is a town in Alappuzha district of Kerala, India, spread over an area of 12.65 km2. It is in the southern part of Alappuzha district on the banks of the Achankovil River. Mavelikara is located 8km east of National Highway. Mavelikara is known as the capital of...

), Chettikulangara Temple, Vadakumnathan Temple, Guruvayoor Temple, Sarkara Devi Temple, Malayattor Church and Parumala
Parumala
Parumala is a small village and island on the Pampa River in Pathanamthitta district in Kerala, India.Parumala is renowned for the presence of the Tomb of St. Gregorios , the Greatest Saint of India belonging to the Indian Orthodox Church and Syriac Orthodox Church, so it is a pilgrimage site...

 Church.

See also



External links

Government
Other
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