God's own country


Kerala regionally referred to as Keralam is a state in the south-westregion of India on the Malabar coast. It was formed on 1 November 1956 as per theStates Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam-speaking regions. Spread over 38,863 km2 (15,005 sq mi) it is bordered by Karnataka to the north and north east,Tamil Nadu to the east and south, and the Laccadive Sea to the west. With 33,387,677 inhabitants as per the 2011 census, Kerala is the twelfth largest state by population and is divided into 14 districts.


Kerala is home to a number of performance arts. These include five classical dance forms:Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Koodiyattom, Thullal and Krishnanattam, originated and developed in the temple theatres during the classical period under the patronage of royal houses. Kerala natanam, Kaliyattam, Theyyam, Koothu and Padayani are other dance forms associated with the temple culture of the region. Some traditional dance forms such as Margamkali,Parichamuttu and Chavittu nadakom are popular among the Christians,while oppana and Duffmuttu are popular among the Muslims of the state.


Development of classical music in Kerala is attributed to the contributions it received from the traditional performance arts associated with the temple culture of Kerala.Development of the indigenous classical music form, Sopana Sangeetham, illustrates the rich contribution that temple culture has made to the arts of Kerala.Carnatic music dominates Keralite traditional music. This was the result of Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma's popularisation of the genre in the 19th century.Raga-based renditions known as sopanam accompany kathakaliperformances.Melam; including the paandi and panchari variants, is a more percussive style of is performed at Kshetram-centered festivals using the chenda.Panchavadyam is a different form of percussion ensemble, in which artists use five types of percussion instrument.Kerala's visual arts range from traditional murals to the works of Raja Ravi Varma, the state's most renowned painter.Most of the castes and communities in Kerala have rich collections of folk songs and ballads associated with a variety of themes;Vadakkan Pattukal (Northern Ballads), Thekkan pattukal (Southern Ballads), Vanchi pattukal(Boat Songs), Mappila Pattukal (Muslim songs) and Pallipattukal (Church songs) are a few of them.


Malayalam films carved a niche for themselves in the Indian film industry with the presentation of social themes.Directors from Kerala, like Adoor Gopalakrishnan,Kamaland G. Aravindan, have made a considerable contribution to the Indian parallel cinema. Kerala has also given birth to numerous actors, such as Satyan, Bharath Gopi, Prem Nazir, Mammotty,Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi, Dileep, Murali, Oduvil Unnikrishnan, Cochin Haneefa, Thilakan and nedumudi Venu. Late Malayalam actor Prem Nazir holds the world record for having acted as the protagonist of over 720 movies.Since 1980s, actors Mammootty and Mohanlal have dominated the movie industry; Mammootty has won three national awards while Mohanlal has two to his credit.


Kerala cuisine has a multitude of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes prepared using fish, poultry and meat. Culinary spices have been cultivated in Kerala for millennia and they are characteristic of its cuisine.Rice is a dominant staple that is eaten at all times of day. Breakfast dishes are frequently based on the rice preparations idli, puttu Idiyappam, or pulse-based vada or tapioca.These may be accompanied by chutney, kadala, payasam, payar pappadam, Appam, egg masala and fish curry.Lunch dishes include rice and curry along with rasam, pulisherry and sambar. Sadhya is a vegetarian meal, often served on a banana leaf and followed with a cup of payasam.Popular snacks include banana chips, yam crisps, tapioca chips, unniyappam and kuzhalappam.Non-vegetarian dishes, including those with beef and pork, are popular in the state.Sea food specialities include karimeen, prawn, shrimp and other crustacean dishes.


The media, telecommunications, broadcasting and cable services are regulated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. The National Family Health Survey – 3, conducted in 2007, ranked Kerala as a state with the highest media exposure in India. Dozens of newspapers are published in Kerala, in nine major languages,but principally Malayalam and English. Most widely circulatingMalayalam-language newspapers are Malayala Manorama, Mathrubhumi, Madhyamam, Deshabhimani, Mangalam, Kerala Kaumudi,Chandrika, Thejas, Udaya keralam, Janayugam, Janmabhumi, Deepika and Siraj Daily. Major Malayalam periodicals includeMathrubhumi, India Today Malayalam, Madhyamam Weekly, Grihalakshmi, Vanitha, Dhanam, Chithrabhumi, and Bhashaposhini. The English reading population is slowly gaining strength in Kerala. The Hindu is the largest read newspaper in the State; followed by Deccan Chronicle, The New Indian Express and The Times of India.

Doordarshan is the state-owned television broadcaster. Multi system operators provide a mix of Malayalam, English and international channels via cable television. Some of the popular Malayalam television channels are Asianet, Surya TV, Kiran TV, Mazhavil Manorama,Manorama News, Indiavision, Kairali TV, Kairali WE, Kairali People, Yes Indiavision, Asianet News, Asianet Plus, Asianet Movies, Amrita TV, Reporter, Jaihind, Jeevan TV, Mathrubhumi News, Kaumudi, Shalom TV, Powervision, Goodness, Athmeyayathra and Media One TV. Television serials, reality shows and the Internet have become major sources of entertainment and information for the people of Kerala. A Malayalam version of Google News was launched in September 2008.A sizeable "people's science" movement has taken root in the state, and such activities as writers' cooperatives are becoming increasingly common.:2 BSNL, Reliance Infocomm,Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Tata Docomo and Aircel are the major cell phone service providers in the state.Broadband Internet services are widely available throughout the state; some of the major ISPs are BSNL, Asianet Satellite communications, Reliance Communications, Airtel and VSNL. According to the Telecom Regulatory Commission of India (TRAI) report, as of January 2012 the total number of wireless phone subscribers in Kerala is about 34.3 million and the wireline subscriber base is at 3.2 million, accounting for thetelephone density of 107.77.Unlike in many other States, the urban-rural divide is not visible in Kerala with respect to mobile phone penetration.


By 21st century, almost all of the native sports and games from Kerala have either disappeared or become just an art form performed during local festivals; including Poorakkali, Padayani, Thalappandukali, Onathallu, Parichamuttukali, Velakali, Kilithattukali etc. However, Kalaripayattu, regarded as "the mother of all martial arts in the world", as an exception was practised as indigenous martial sport.Another traditional sport of Kerala is the boat race, especially the race of Snake boats.

Cricket and football became popular in the state; both were introduced in Malabar during the British colonial period in the 19th century. Cricketers, like Tinu Yohannan,and Abey Kuruvilla,found places in the national cricket team. However, the Kerala cricket team had never won or performed well at the Ranji Trophy.A cricket club from Kerala, the Kochi Tuskers, played in the Indian Premier League's third season. However, the team was disbanded after the season because of conflict of interests among its franchises.Football is one of the most widely played and watched sport with huge support for club and district level matches.Kerala is one of the major footballing states in India along with West Bengal and Goa and has produced national players of the likes of I. M. Vijayan, C. V. Pappachan, V. P. Sathyan, and Jo Paul Ancheri. The Kerala state football team had won the Santhosh Trophyfive times; in 1973, 1992, 1993, 2001 and 2004. They were also the runner-ups for eight times.

Among the prominent athletes hailing from the state, P. T. Usha, Shiny Wilson and M.D. Valsamma are both Padma Shri as well asArjuna Award winners while K. M. Beenamol and Anju Bobby George are Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna as well as Arjuna Award winners. T. C. Yohannan, Suresh Babu, Sinimol Paulose, Angel Mary Joseph, Mercy Kuttan, K. Saramma, K. C. Rosakutty and Padmini Selvan are the other Arjuna Award winners from Kerala.Volleyball is another popular sport and is often played on makeshift courts on sandy beaches along the coast. Jimmy George was a notable Indian volleyball player, rated in his prime as among the world's ten best players.Other popular sports include badminton, basketball and kabaddi.


Its culture and traditions, coupled with its varied demographics, have made Kerala one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. National Geographic's Traveller magazine names Kerala as one of the "ten paradises of the world"and "50 must see destinations of a lifetime".Travel and Leisure names Kerala as "One of the 100 great trips for the 21st century".In 2012,it overtook Taj Mahal to be the number one travel destination in Google's search trends for India.Kerala's beaches, backwaters, mountain ranges and wildlife sanctuaries are the major attractions for both domestic and international tourists. The city of Kochi ranks first in the total number of international and domestic tourists in Kerala.Varkala beach in Thiruvananthapuram is rated as 9th best bargain adventures 2013 in the world by The Guardian, UK. It also referred Varkala as new Goa.

Until the early 1980s, Kerala was a relatively unknown destination to other states of the country.In 1986 the government of Kerala declared tourism as an industry and it was the first state in India to do so. Marketing campaigns launched by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, the government agency that oversees tourism prospects of the state, resulted in the growth of the tourism industry. Many advertisements branded Kerala with a catchy tagline Kerala, God's Own Country.Today, Kerala tourism is a global brand and regarded as one of the destinations with highest recall.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.In 2011, tourist inflow to Kerala crossed the 10-million mark.

Done by Shiraz ali