Kerala is a
560-km long narrow stretch of land. At the widest, Kerala is
a mere 120-km from the sea to the mountains. Gracing one
side of Kerala, are the lofty mountains ranging high to kiss
the sky. And on the other side the land is washed by the
blue Arabian Sea waters. The land is covered with dense
tropical forest, fertile plains, beautiful beaches, cliffs,
rocky coasts, an intricate maze of backwaters, still bays
and an astounding 44 glimmering rivers. Kerala's exotic
spices have lured foreigners to her coast from time
Kerala is truly the undiscovered India. It is God's own
country and an enchantingly beautiful, emerald-green sliver
of land. It is a tropical paradise
the tourist trial at the southwestern peninsular tip,
sandwiched between the tall mountains and the deep sea.
Kerala is a long stretch of enchanting greenery. The tall
exotic coconut palm dominates the landscape.
There is a persistent legend which says that Parasuram, the
6th incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the Hindu
Trinity, stood on a high place in the mountains, threw an
axe far in to the sea, and commanded the sea to retreat. And
the land that emerged all from the waters became Kerala, the
land of plenty and prosperity.
Earlier, Kerala was made up of three distinct areas. Malabar
as far up the coast as Tellicherry, Cannanore and Kasargode
with the tiny pocket-handkerchief French possession of Mahe
nearby (it was returned to India in the early 1950 's and is
now administratively part of Pondicherry). This area
belonged to what was once called the Madras Presidency under
the British. The middle section is formed by the princely
State of Cochin; the third comprises Travancore, another
The Early History Archaeologists believe that the first
citizens of Kerala were the hunter-gatherers, the ting
Negrito people. These people still inhabit the mountains of
southern India today, consequently, they had a good
knowledge of herbal medicine and were skilled in
interpreting natural phenomena. The next race of people in
Kerala were believed to be the Austriches. The Austric
people of Kerala are of the same stock as the present-day
Australian Aborigines. They were the people who laid the
foundation of Indian civilizations and introduced the
cultivation of rice and vegetables, which are still part of
Kerala scene. They also introduced snake-worship in Kerala.
Traces of such worship and ancient rites have been found
Aboriginal tribes of Australia. Austric features can still
be seen fairly and clearly among the people of Kerala today.
Then came the Dravidians (The Mediterranean people).
Dravidian absorbed many of the beliefs of the Negrito and
Austric people, but they were strongly inclined to the
worship of the Mother Goddess in all her myriad forms:
Protector, Avenger, Bestower of wealth, wisdom and arts.
The Dravidians migrated to the southwards, carrying their
civilization with them, though leaving their considerable
cultural input on their successors, the Aryans (Indo -
Iranians). But Kerala is still strongly influenced by the
Dravidian culture: urbane, cash-crop and trade oriented, and
with strong maternalistic biases. The Aryans have made a
deep impression on Kerala in late proto-historic times.
Jewish and Arabs trade's were the first to come to Kerala
sailing in the ships to set up trading stations. The Apostle
of Christ, St. Thomas is believed to have come to Muziris in
AD 52 and established the first church in Kerala .
Portuguese discovered the sea route to India from Europe
when Vasco da gama landed with his ship near Kappad in
Calicut in AD 1498. Slowly the Kerala society became a mix
of people belonging to various sects of Christianity, Islam
and Hinduism. The arrival of Portuguese was followed by the
Dutch, the French and finally the British.The State of
Kerala was created on the 1st of November 1956. The
Keralites celebrate this day as 'Kerala piravi' meaning the
'Birth of Kerala'.