The ever-green, picturesque Kerala - the land of kera, the coconut - is a coastal strip bordered by the Arabian sea on the west and the Western Ghats on the east. The main attractions in this state are world famous beaches, back- waters, hill stations, tropical forests, waterfalls, wildlife, Ayurvedic health centres, yoga and meditation, monuments, art forms like Kathakali and Kalarippayattu, festivals like Onam, Pooram and fairs like the Christian Perunals. Kerala is 100 per cent literate and easily the cleanest state. It has India's highest Physical Quality of Life Index (PQLI), highest life expectancy and the lowest infant mortality rate.
How Kerala was created from the sea: The legend is that Parasurama received it as a gift from the sea. He had wanted it for donating to Brahmins for dissolution of his sins in killing all Kshatriya kings, one of whom had murdered his father,
the sage, Jamadagni. Parasurama, the legend says, threw his weapon, an axe, and asked the sea to withdraw up to the point where it fell. Legend apart, there is irrefutable
evidence that long ago the land strip was under Arabian sea.
Climate: Tropical. In April-May temp range is 25 to 35 deg
C; Dec-Mar 23 deg C to 28 deg C; June-Aug and the second half of Oct are periods of rains. Non-stop, very heavy rains and floods can be expected during the monsoon. Humidity
is very high round the year, except for brief periods.
Language: Malayalam is the local language, English is an additional official language and used in towns.
Shopping: Sandalwood sculptures, brasswares, spices.
Food: Rice is the staple diet. Kerala recipe is entirely different in content and preparation from that of north India. Common items include idli, dosa, sambar, coconut-vegetable dishes, fish, pappad. Banana leaves are used traditionally as plates.
Agriculture: Special crops include coconut, tapiocca, cashew, pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, cocoa, rubber