Kerala is a green strip of land, in the South West corner of Indian peninsula. It has only 1.1 8 per cent of the total area of the country but houses 3.43% of the the country's population.



In 1956, when the states were reorganized, Kerala was formed after tying the princely states of Travancore and Cochin with Malabar, a province under Madras state.

Kerala may be divided into three geographical regions: (1) High lands, (2) Midlands and (3) Lowlands. The Highlands slope down from the Western Ghats which rise to an average height of 900 m, with a number of peaks well over 1,800 m in height. This is the area of major plantations like tea, coffee, rubber, cardamom and other spices.



The Midlands, lying between the mountains and the lowlands, is made up of undulating hills and valleys. This is an area of intensive cultivation. Cashew, coconut, areca nut, cassava (tapioca), banana, rice, ginger, pepper, sugarcane and vegetables of myriad varieties are grown in this area.

It is a purified world in Kerala, the land of trees. A big, spreading tree purifies as much air as a room air-conditioner. And the former is never switched off. The prolific, bustling, vegetation acts like a massive, biological, air-filtration plant working round the clock, round the year. Hence spending days in Kerala countryside is as if spending in an air- purified environ; some times better than it. So is the rejuvenating effect of the lush greenery of the state.

The wanton growth of trees makes Kerala a herbarium. The four month-long, copious monsoon and recurrent flurry make this land a perfect nursery for all living beings. Loitering under the canopy of the foliage, you will feel blossoming the dreams. Thus, on a sojourn in Kerala, away from the rough and tumble of cities, you're breathing freshly purified air all the time.


Another piece de resistance of Kerala is the meandering rivers which criss-cross the state physique like blood veins. Besides, water bodies tucked away in thick forests also enhance the amazing beauty of the state. They fertilize the' land, turn waste into the wealth of the rich, black, alluvial soil on which the agrarian state thrive.

The Lowlands or the coastal area, made up of river deltas, backwaters and the Arabian coast, is essentially a land of coconuts and rice. Fisheries and coif industry constitute the major industries of this area.



Kerala is a land of rivers and backwaters. Forty-four rivers (41 west-flowing and 3 east-flowing} criss-cross the state physique along with countless runlets. During summer, these monsoon-fed rivers will turn into rivulets especially in the upper parts of Kerala.


Backwaters are an attractive, economically valuable feature of Kerala. These include lakes and ocean in lets which stretch irregularly along the Kerala coast. The biggest among these backwaters is the Vembanad lake, with an area of 200 sq km, which opens out into the Arabian Sea at Cochin port.

The Periyar, Pamba, Manimala, Achenkovil, Meenachil and Moovattupuzha rivers drain into this lake.The other important backwaters are Veli, Kadhinam kulam, Anjengo (Anju Thengu),Edava, Nadayara, Paravoor. Ashtamudi (Quilon)



Flora: Kerala has over 25% of India's 15,000 plant species. Among them include endangered and rare species, flowering plants, fungies, lichens and mosses. The state's forest wealth include tropical wet evergreen, semi-green and tropical most deciduous. Teak, Mahagoney, Rosewood and Sandalwood are common, the forests abound with orchids, anthirium, balsam, and medicinal plants. banyan figs, bamboo as well as 40,000 years old grasslands. Mangroves are seen in coastal areas and low, morass lands. So fertile is the state, thanks to rivers and dams that are replenished by copious rain in Western Ghats.

Kerala? If you haven’t, make sure you do. This one’s really an absolutely wonderful, unforgettable experience!


The houseboats of today - huge, slow moving, exotic barge used for leisure trips - are the reworked kettuvalloms of olden times. The original kettuvalloms were used to carry tonnes of rice and spices - a standard kettuvallom can hold up to 30 tonnes - from Kuttanad to the Kochi port.

The kettuvallam or ‘boat with knots’- was so called because the entire boat was held together with coir knots only - not even a single nail is used during the construction. The boat is made of planks of jack-wood joined together with coir. This is then coated with a caustic black resin made from boiled cashew kernels. With careful maintenance, a kettuvallom can last for generations.

A portion of the kettuvallom was covered with bamboo and coir to serve as a restroom and kitchen for the crew. Meals would be cooked on board and supplemented with fresh fish from the backwaters. Today, the tradition is still continued and the food from the local cuisine is served by the Kuttanad localites, on board.



When the modern trucks replaced this system of transport, some one found a new way that would keep these boats, almost all of which were more than 100 years old, in the market. By constructing special rooms to accommodate travelers, these boats cruised forward from near- extinction to enjoy their present great popularity.

Now these are a familiar sight on the backwaters and in Alleppey alone, there are as many as 120 houseboats. While converting kettuvallams into houseboats, care is taken to use only natural products. Bamboo mats, sticks and wood of the aracanut tree are used for roofing, coir mats and wooden planks for the flooring and wood of coconut trees and coir for beds. For lighting though, solar panels are used.


Today, the houseboats have all the creature comforts of a good hotel including furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, cozy living rooms, a kitchen and even a balcony for angling. Parts of the curved roof of wood or plaited palm open out to provide shade and allow uninterrupted views. While most boats are poled by local oarsmen, some are powered by a 40 HP engine. Boat-trains - formed by joining two or more houseboats together - are also used by large groups of sight-seers.

What is truly magical about a houseboat ride is the breathtaking view of the untouched and otherwise inaccessible rural Kerala that it offers - while you float! Now, wouldn’t that be something?



The Legend about Kerela



One of the persistent beliefs about the origin of Kerela is an ancient lore. Lord Vishnu, the protector in his 6th incarnation as Parashurama slayed 21 evil warriors and after the ferocious battle he prayed to Gods for a secluded place to perform his penance. The Gods designed to give him the land he chose. On hearing that, Parashurama threw his axe into the sea in a wide arc and commanded the water in the area to retreat. The land that rose dripping from the sea became Kerela, the land of prosperity and land of God's.


The eventful history of this city began when a major flood in AD 1341 threw open the estuary at Kochi, till then a land locked region, turning it into one of the finest natural harbours in the world. Kochi thus became a haven for seafaring visitors from all over the world and became the first European township in India when the Portuguese settled here in the 15th century.

The Dutch wrested Fort Kochi from the Portuguese in AD 1663 and later in the last phase of the colonial saga, the British took over, the town in 1795. During 1660's, Fort Kochi peaked in stature as a prime commercial centre and its fame spread far and wide - variously as a rich trade centre, a major military base, a vibrant cultural hub, a great ship building centre, a centre for Christianity and so on. Today, centuries later, the city is home to nearly thirteen communities.


A few interesting sites included in the tour are the Chinese fishing nets along the Vasco Da Gama Square, Santa Cruz Basilica, St.Francis Church, VOC Gate, Bastion Bungalow etc. Apart from these architectural splendors, an array of restaurants serving fresh seafood are also popular among tourists. The Chinese fishing nets erected on teak wood and bamboo poles work on the principle of balance. Records say they were first set up here between AD 1350 and 1450. Vasco Da Gama Square, the narrow promenade that parallels the beach, is the best place to watch the nets being lowered and pulled out of the sea.



The Santa Cruz Basilica, a church built originally by the Portuguese and elevated to a Cathedral by Pope Paul 1V in 1558, was spared by the Dutch conquerors who destroyed many Catholic buildings. Later the British demolished the structure and Bishop Dom Gomez Vereira commissioned a new building in 1887. Consecrated in 1905, Santa Cruz was proclaimed a Basilica by the Pope John Paul II in 1984.



Fort Kochi is also home to one of India's oldest churches - the St.Francis Church. This was a Roman Catholic Church during the Portuguese rule from 1503 to 1663, then a Dutch Reformist Church from 1664 to 1804, and Anglican church from 1804 to 1947. Today it is governed by the Church of South India (CSI). Another important fact about the church is that Vasco Da Gama, who died in 1524, was buried here before his mortal remains were returned to Portugal 14 years later... Each and every structure, street, door, window and brick in Fort Kochi has several stories to tell.

Fort Kochi is accessible by bus or ferry. The bus ride from Ernakulam town, which is nearly 13 km away, takes about an hour and the ferry ride from Main boat jetty at Ernakulam about 20 minutes.






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