Kerala At A Glance
Location : Southwestern tip of
Area : 38, 863 sq km.
Population : 3,18,38,619
Capital : Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum)
Language : Malayalam;English is widely spoken.
Religion : Hinduism, Christianity, Islam
Time : GMT +5:30
Currency : Indian Rupee
Climate : Tropical.
Summer : February - May (24 - 330C)
Monsoon : June - September (22 - 280C)
Winter : October - January (22 - 320C)
Names of Districts
Major Cities : Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi (Ernakulam district)
Population : 318.39 lakhs as per the latest 2001 Census
Density of Population : 819 per sq kms
Kerala's Share in the National Population : 3.1 per cent
District Average : 22.74 lakhs (2.274 millions)
Sex Ratio : 1058 women for 1000 men
meaning 'the land of coconuts' lies at the southernmost tip of
India. It stretches along the coast of the Arabian Sea and is
separated from the rest of the sub continent by the steep
Kerala boasts a rich tradition rooted in a deep historical
backdrop. Long before Vasco Da Gama, the first European to
discover the sea route to India, landed on the shores of Kerala,
Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, and Chinese had been regularly
sailing to its coast to source spices, sandalwood and ivory.
The Chinese fishing nets and ancient synagogue remain
reminiscent of these ancient trade relationships. Kerala's
history is the synthesis of old tradition and new values,
assimilated over many centuries.
Today, Kerala is known all over the world as a unique
destination. The National Geographic Traveler calls it one of
the ten 'Paradises Found' in the world, for its diverse
geography and overwhelming greenery. It is a land much acclaimed
for the contemporary nature of its cultural ethos, and much
appreciated for the soothing, rejuvenating paradise that it is.
Socially, Kerala has many firsts to its credit. A hundred
percent literate state with high health care and health
awareness standards, it has the lowest infant mortality rate
among Indian states.
With the highest social development index in India and
comparable with that of developed countries, the women in the
state enjoy considerable social status mainly due to the
historical matrilineal system. Higher education and equal
opportunities have further strengthened the status of women in
Kerala is a microcosm of multi-religious India, cohabited by
Hindus, Christians and Muslims. Hinduism forms the principal
religion with considerable percentages of Muslims and
Christians, boasting a long tradition of harmonious
With its beautiful lagoons and lush landscape lined by tall
coconut palms and bright green paddy fields, Kerala is a visual
treat beyond comparison. But the real treasure of Kerala lies in
the cultural heritage of its people, in their ballads, their
songs and dances, their rituals and their intellectual pursuits.
Long months of monsoon and an agro based economy laid a strong
foundation for the evolution of distinctive festivals and
traditions of Kerala. These colorful occasions showcase Kerala's
legacy and more often are intertwined with the many religious
beliefs. Kerala's multi - culturalism is best reflected in the
various festivals of different faiths.
Onam is Malayali's favourite festival, heralding the harvest
season in the months of August - September. People celebrate
with flowers, lights, feasts, fireworks and games. The snake
boat races held in connection with Onam are the magnificent
fiestas that brings alive the tranquil backwaters. Scores of
long snake boats participate in these events. Hailed as the
largest team sport in the world, the snake boat races are
preceded by impressive water parades.
Other important festivals of Kerala are Eid, Easter, Muharram,
and other festivals that are traditionally celebrated all over
Among the temple festivals, Thrissur Pooram is the most popular,
where 30 caparisoned elephants, exhilarating percussion,
colorful umbrellas atop elephants and magnificent fireworks
combine to create a virtual feast for the senses.
The different religions that found roots in Kerala like Jainism
and Buddhism in the early centuries and Christianity, Islam and
Judaism in the later centuries became an integral part of the
social fabric of Kerala and naturally influenced its cultural
tradition. This synthesis has gifted Kerala with a bounty of art
forms and traditions incomparable in its diversity.
Kerala's legacy in art and culture dates back to centuries.
Ancient rulers of the State took special interest in promoting
the art and culture of the State. Now widely accepted as God's
own country, Kerala also prides itself for its repertoire of rich
cultural heritage. Kerala holds a place of honor among the
people of India who have enriched Indian Cultural Heritage and
helped the cause of national integration. Kerala's culture is in
fact, an integral part of Indian culture.
The culture of Kerala is also a composite and cosmopolitan
culture to which several people and races have made their
significant contributions. Kerala's population comprises of a
large number of the people from the Dravidians race, who also
inhibit most of the southern part of India. Hinduism is the
principal religion with considerable percentages of Christians
and Muslims. The gradual evolution of composite and cosmopolitan
culture led to the emergence of a spirit of tolerance and
catholicity of outlook, which still persist among the people of
Kerala is renowned for its varied martial arts. Amongst the many
forms of martial arts of Kerala are Kalaripayattu, Parisa Kali,
Velakali, and Njaninmel Kali. Woodcarving is an important craft
form that this state has developed. The craftsmen of Kerala can
pick up the humblest and meanest bits of material and imbue them
with magical mastery.
Kerala has a distinctive cuisine, very unusual and different
from the rest of India. Cooking in Kerala is all about
discoveries, aromas and colors. It's a melting pot of different
ingredients sprinkled by the various communities down the ages.
Thus, in its totality, the culture of Kerala represents the
quintessence of the collective achievements of a people in the
fields of religion and philosophy, language and literature, art
and architecture, education and learning and economic and social
- PROGRAM Kritya 2007