We present 101 things that tourists to Kerala must see, do and experience in order to make their journey a memorable and worthwhile one. More than one trip might be required to try out them all but one can choose according to interests, aptitudes and time.
“…But what truly distinguishes this book is the ‘human touch’ imparted to the concept which stays with you long after you have turned the last of it. Now let Invis lead you to discover your excerpt from foreword by T.K.A. Nair.
Kerala — the land of pepper, the most popular and indispensable spice in the world. A land, where not only pepper, but other kinds of spices too are grown in abundance. These spice-scented shores have attracted traders from ancient times. We present 101 things that tourists to Kerala must see, do and experience in order to make their journey a memorable and worthwhile one. More than one trip might be required to try out them all but one can choose according to interests, aptitudes and time.
This is an abridged edition of the Rendezvous Book of Kerala. We have made every effort to provide accurate and up-to-date information in this publication as far as possible. However, some details such as timings, holidays and activities are liable to change. We request the readers to verify such information prior to their visit. We would be happy to receive your suggestions and feedback. Also please do feel free to contact us for any additional information.
“The good, supreme, divine poetry of nature is above all rules and reason,
Whoever discerns its beauty with a firm, sedate gaze does not see it,
any more than he sees God Incarnate,
Such inherent beauty does not persuade our judgement,
it ravishes and overwhelms it.”
Legend has it that standing on the mountains Lord Parashurama threw an axe far into the sea and commanded the sea to retreat and a land richly endowed by nature emerged from the waters — a land that came to be called Kerala and more aptly,’ God’s Own Country.
Flanked by the Arabian Sea on the west and the towering Western Ghats on the east, Kerala is a long stretch of enchanting greenery with tall exotic coconut palms, dense tropical forests, ‘arms, fertile plains, rocky coasts, beaches, an intricate maze of backwaters, still bays and an, incredible network of forty-four rivers. Spread over 2,491 sq. kms this land of spices, tea, cashew nuts and rubber has attracted people from time immemorial resulting in an exotic history that merges with the epic Ramayana. The history of Kerala is replete with visits from ne Far East, from ancient Persia as well as from the Roman Empire — it is believed that St. Thomas, one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ set foot on this land at the ancient port of Muziris present — day Kodungalloor) — by Marco Polo, the Arab traders and later by the Portuguese vasco da Gama who landed at Kappad in Calicut in AD 1498, followed by the Dutch and then tie British. They came to the shores of Kerala after hearing of its rich treasures of spices and Ivory, leaving behind a part of their customs and culture that the people assimilated and made their own. Little wonder then that this ancient haven so sought after by travellers is still a favourite destination for tourists from all over the world.
But travel, tourism and natural beauty are not reasons why people have been attracted to this magic land. Great learning in ancient scriptures, the ancient science of healing and rejuvenation, Ayurveda, the socio-religious reforms that were far ahead of their time and the post-independence achievements in the fields of education — Kerala boasts an almost 100 per cent literacy rate — public health and land reforms have drawn people to study what has come to be known as the ‘Kerala Model: A modern, vibrant, democratic State where women outnumber men (male to female ratio is 1:1.07). Kerala is repeatedly cited by many economists, and political scientists, Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen included, as a classic example of how socio-economic reforms coupled with equitable land reforms, stress on education, public health and a good public distribution system can bring forth the latent energies of the entire populace to push the pace of socio-economic development.
Another fascinating facet of this land is the character of the people that populate it. The hard working Keralites are highly adaptable and have often migrated in large numbers to the West and South East Asia — first to South East Asia and to Burma (present-day Myanmar), then to what is today Iran and then to the Middle East in search of employment, income and fortune, braving the risks of leaving the safety and comfort of their homeland for the rigours of a foreign environment, Today the professionals of Kerala are among the most wanted in the fields of medicine, information technology, tourism, teaching and nursing the world over. History has helped Keralites to develop a cosmopolitan outlook and their entrepreneurial skills and a can do attitude that has seen them prosper in the harshest environment. A visible sign of the highly mobile population is the presence of three international airports — at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode — a fairly developed and extensive network of motor able roads connecting different parts of the state, a railway system that passes through almost all of its fourteen districts and a large network of inland waterways.
A land of rivers, backwaters, coconut trees and blessed by a wide variety of flora and fauna, Kerala harbours significant biodiversity which includes tropical wet evergreen and semi- evergreen forests, tropical moist and dry deciduous forest, and montane subtropical and temperate (sholay) forests. Living in these lush green forests are the Asian elephant, Bengal tiger, leopard, nilgiri tahr, common palm civet, grizzled giant squirrel and a variety of reptiles including the king cobra, viper, python and crocodile? Kerala’s birds are legion — Peafowl, the Great Hornbill (Buyers bicornis), Indian Grey Hornbill, Indian Cormorant, and Jungle Myna are several emblematic species. This diverse and delicate eco-system enjoys a climate that is mainly wet and maritime tropical, heavily influenced by the seasonal heavy rains brought by the Southwest Summer Monsoon and the North/west rains in winter months, As a result Kerala averages 120-140 rainy days a year with the rains feeding its several rivers and streams that are the mainstay of its cash-crop agriculture.
Kerala is the land of Kalarippayattu, the ancient martial art said to be the precursor of Karate, Ju Jitsu and Kung fu, that was carried to the Far East by Buddhist monks and which Is still kept alive by enthusiasts from all over the world, The variety and the richness of the culture of Kerala are reflected in the many forms of dance and performing arts like Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Thiruvathirakali, Kolkali, Oppana, Velakali, Chavittunatakom and Tholpavakoothu.
Despite its varied and colourful history and socio-cultural changes through the ages, modern-day Kerala still retains its traditions and customs, its cuisine and its culture, while it steps boldly into the 21st century, proud of its past and confident of its future. No wonder then that this most acclaimed destination of the Millennium and one of the top fifty must- visit-in-a-lifetime place according to the National Geographic Magazine continues to entice and charm all those who visit it.
INVIS Multimedia, the pioneers in digital content creation on Kerala and Indian heritage and systems of knowledge provides in the pages that follow in this beautifully brought out product invaluable insights into the IJSP of Kerala. Extracting the essence of the legendary Kerala is indeed a daunting task, yet this endeavour of INVIS deserves a hearty pat on the jack for its authenticity, its textual and visual richness and its absorbing ethnic flavour. But what truly distinguishes this book is the ‘human touch’ imparted to the concept which stays with you long after you have turned the last leaf of it.
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