Kerala locally known as Keralam, is a state on the southwestern, Malabar Coast of India. It was formed on 1 November 1956, following passage of the States Reorganisation Act, by combining Malayalam-speaking regions. Spread over 38,863 km2(15,005 sq mi), Kerala is the twenty-second largest Indian state by area. It is bordered by Karnataka to the north and northeast, Tamil Nadu to the east and south, and the Lakshadweep Sea and Arabian Sea to the west. With 33,387,677 inhabitants as per the 2011 Census, Kerala is the thirteenth-largest Indian state by population. It is divided into 14 districts with the capital being Thiruvananthapuram. Malayalam is the most widely spoken language and is also the official language of the state.
The economy of Kerala is the 12th-largest state economy in India .Kerala has the lowest positive population growth rate in India, 3.44%; the highest Human Development Index (HDI), 0.712 in 2015; the highest literacy rate, 93.91% in the 2011 census; the highest life expectancy, 77 years; and the highest sex ratio, 1,084 women per 1,000 men. The production of pepper and natural rubber contributes significantly to the total national output. In the agricultural sector, coconut, tea, coffee, cashew and spices are important. The coastline extends for 595 kilometres (370 mi), and around 1.1 million people in the state are dependent on the fishery industry which contributes 3% to the income of the state. The state has the highest media exposure in India with newspapers publishing in nine languages, mainly English and Malayalam. Kerala is one of the prominent tourist destinations of India, with backwaters, hill stations, beaches, Ayurvedic tourism and tropical greenery as its major attractions.
According to Tamil classic Purananuru, Chera king Senkuttuvan conquered the lands between Kanyakumari and the Himalayas. Lacking worthy enemies, he besieged the sea by throwing his spear into it. According to the 17th century Malayalam work Keralolpathi, the lands of Kerala were recovered from the sea by the axe-wielding warrior sage Parasurama, the sixth avatar of Vishnu ;hence, Kerala is also called Parasurama Kshetram (The Land of Parasurama). Parasurama threw his axe across the sea, and the water receded as far as it reached. According to legend, this new area of land extended from Gokarna to Kanyakumari. The land which rose from sea was filled with salt and unsuitable for habitation; so Parasurama invoked the Snake King Vasuki, who spat holy poison and converted the soil into fertile lush green land. Out of respect, Vasuki and all snakes were appointed as protectors and guardians of the land. Another much earlier Puranic character associated with Kerala is Mahabali, an Asura and a prototypical just king, who ruled the earth from Kerala. He won the war against the Devas, driving them into exile. The Devas pleaded before Lord Vishnu, who took his fifth incarnation as Vamana and pushed Mahabali down to Patala (the netherworld) to placate the Devas. There is a belief that, once a year during the Onam festival, Mahabali returns to Kerala. The Matsya Purana, uses the Malaya Mountains of Kerala (and Tamil Nadu) as the setting for the story of Matsya, the first incarnation of Vishnu, and Manu, the first man and the king of the region.
A substantial portion of Kerala may have been under the sea in ancient times. Marine fossils have been found in an area near Changanacherry, thus supporting the hypothesis.Kerala has been a major spice exporter since 3000 BCE, according to Sumerian records and it is still referred to as the Garden of Spices.Spices of Kerala attracted ancient Babylonians, Assyrians and Egyptians to the Malabar Coast in the 3rd and 2nd millennia BCE. Phoenicians established trade with Kerala during this period. The Land of Keralaputra was one of the four independent kingdoms in southern India during time of Ashoka, the others being Chola, Pandya, and Satiyaputra.
After India was partitioned in 1947 into India and Pakistan, Travancore and Kochi, part of the Union of India were merged on 1 July 1949 to form Travancore-Cochin. On 1 November 1956, the taluk of Kasargod in the South Kanara district of Madras, the Malabar district of Madras, and Travancore-Cochin, without four southern taluks (which joined Tamil Nadu), merged to form the state of Kerala under the States Reorganisation Act.
The winter season in Kerala begins with the end of the northeast monsoons (see below) and lasts from the end of November until the middle of February. During the winter months, temperatures near the coast are still extremely high and are not very different from those experienced in the summer months.
Summer in Kerala does not fall in the same period of the year as it does in temperate regions in the Northern Hemisphere. Instead, the season starts toward the end of February and the beginning of March and lasts until May or June.Summer usually welcomes higher temperatures, slightly humid weather and low rainfall in the region. Kerala sees high temperatures of 32°C to 33°C. Average temperatures are lower, at just 29°C and low temperatures can fall to 24°C.
The end of summer sees erratic rain accompanied by some lightning and thunder as the start of the monsoon season arrives.
Kerala has two rainy seasons. The main one, known as the southwest monsoon season begins around May or June and lasts until the end of September. During this time, southwestern monsoon winds result in periods of torrential rain which usually last for around three months on average. Because of its location on the windward side of the Western Ghats, Kerala is always the first Indian state that is hit by the monsoon winds and receives profuse rainfall this time of year.
June is the wettest month of the season, with a huge 341mm of rainfall and 26 wet days, which means that most days receive a drenching. July and August see a little less, with 28 and 24 wet days respectively.
The monsoon season continues from September with the so-called northeast monsoon season, or the retreating monsoons seeing heavy rainfall continue into October and November.October is the second wettest month of the year, with 268mm of rainfall and 23 wet days, while it starts to let up in November, which sees just 13 wet days.
The cuisine of Kerala, a state in the south of India, is linked to its history, geography, demography and culture. Kerala cuisine offers a multitude of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes prepared using fish, poultry and red meat with rice a typical accompaniment. Chillies, curry leaves, coconut, mustard seeds, turmeric, tamarind, and asafoetida are all frequently used.
One of the traditional Kerala dishes is vegetarian and is called the Kerala Sadya, which is an elaborate banquet prepared for festivals and ceremonies. A full-course Sadya, which consists of rice with about twenty different accompaniments and desserts is the ceremonial meal of Kerala eaten usually on celebratory occasions including marriages, Onam and Vishu. It is served on a plantain leaf.
Syrian Christians of Kerala have their own cuisine. Particularly well-developed are the snacks and savouries of Syrian Christians such as achappam and kuzhalappam. A favourite dish of Kerala Christians is mappas, or chicken stew. For this dish, chicken, potatoes and onions are simmered gently in a creamy white sauce flavoured with black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, green chillies, lime juice, shallots and coconut milk.Lamb and duck can replace chicken in the stew recipe.Other dishes include piralen (chicken stir-fries), meat thoran (dry curry with shredded coconut), sardine and duck curries, and meen molee (spicy stewed fish).This is eaten with another dish known as appam. Appam, kallappam, or vellayappam are rice flour pancakes which have soft, thick white spongy centres and crisp, lace-like edges.Meen Mulakittathu or Meen vevichathu (fish in fiery red chilly sauce) is another favourite item.