God’s Own Country – Kerala
Whenever we think of beautiful places in India the places generally come to our mind are Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala. Kerala is a small state in India, very famous for its scenic beauty. Thiruvananthapuram is its Capital. Kankyakumari, which is in Tamil Nadu is very near to Thiruvananthapuram. Tourists visiting Thiruvanthapuram can take the opportunity to visit Vivekananda Rock and Gandhi Museum in Kanyakumari. Many tourists including foreigners love to visit Kerala time and again. It’s one of their favourite destinations. Malayalam is spoken here.
Kerala is simply a visual treat and the people are friendly. The train journey from Chennai to Thiruvananthapuram makes us feel the heaven is no where but here and right here. The typical houses with Mangalore tiles and plenty of coconut trees and greenery all around presents an immense joy. One only needs to get rid of the daily never ending work pressure and take the family on a trip to the Paradise. One has to simply enjoy the pleasure of sailing in Kerala backwaters and watch the very attractive snake boat race during the season.
The population of Kerala is 33 million, approximately 1.5 times the population of Mumbai. Its area is 38,863 square kilometres. The state is bordered by Karnataka on its north and north east, Tamil Nadu to the south and south east and Arabian Sea to the west. Thiruvananthapuram is its capital. Other major cities are Kochi, Kollam,Ernakulam and Kozhikode.
There is only one place in India which has the highest literacy,that is Kerala. The infrastructure of Kerala simply can’t meet the ever increasing demands for employment. There is maximum migration of people from this State to other States and Middle East mainly due to this and also due to other factors. The migration of people mainly to Middle East brought lot of wealth and concrete culture instead of the traditional houses in this State.
Classical and Folk Dances:
Kathakali is a spectacular classical dance. It’s the combination of dance, music, drama and ritual. ‘’Katha’’ means story and ‘’ Kali’’ means play. Kathakali literally means ‘’ Story – Play’’. The dancers need special skills and plenty of patience since the makeup of the artistes is a time consuming process. Kathakali is famous for the very attractive make-up and elaborate colourful costumes, detailed gestures and well defined body moments in tune with the music.
Mohini Attam :
Mohini Attam is a classical dance. Mohini means lady. Attam means graceful and sensuous body movements. Mohiniattam means dance of the enchantress. The dance depicts the story of the devathas( angels) and the asuras(devils) churning out amrut(nectar) from an ocean. Lord Vishnu transforms himself as Mohini and used her guile to lure away the asuras from nectar and gave it to the devathas. Another story is related with Mohini destroying Bhasmusara, the King of asuras. Lord Shiva was pleased with Bhasmasura’s penance. He granted Bhasmasura whatever he wanted. The demon king troubled everyone due to these powers. Lord Vishnu cunningly killed Bhasmasura by transforming himself as Mohini. This dance form is developed by Vadivelu,one of the Tanjavur quartet.
Theyyam is also known as Kaliyattam or Thirayattam. It is one of the most outstanding folk dances of Kerala. It’s a sacred ritual dance performed to glorify the goddess Kaali.
Kalaripayattu is a well known martial art in Kerala. It means learning exercise of war fight. It comprises strikes, grips, grappling, preset forms, weaponry and healing methods.
Nature Cure and Ayurveda therapy:
Kerala is also well known for Nature Cure and Ayurveda therapy. The treatment may comprise Yoga, Herbal medicine treatment, mud bath, Diet Therapy, Stress Management etc.
Kerala politics revolves around communism. The ruling parties are either right wing communist combination or left wing communist combination alternating between these combinations. The industrial development of Kerala is hampered mainly due to communist labour politics. As such Malayalis are forced to migrate everywhere in rest of India and Middle East.
Many Malayalam movies have won National and International awards. Neelakkuyil(1954), Chemmeen(1965), Swayamvaram(1972), Kodiyattam(1977), Thampu(1978) and Elippathayam(1981) are some of the award winning movies. Ramu Kariat and Adoor Gopalakrishnan are among Malayalam best film directors. Mohanlal and Mammootty are their popular actors. Telugu actress Sarada was one of the popular actresses of Malayalam industry. Sheela and Premnazir set up a world record for their romantic combination as lead pair. Adoor Basi was a well known actor. Yesudas, a classical Carnatic Musician is their most popular singer in Malayalam films. Yesudas is also a well known singer in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi films. Yesudas is a Christian. Carnatic Music is purely Hindu devotional music. He is a very popular Carnatic Musician. He had to face many problems in his religion due to his devotion towards Carnatic Music. Malayalam movies are famous for their song picturization and melody of songs. Adoor Gopalkrishnan and Ramu Kariat are very popular movie directors.
Yesudas is a well known Playback Singer not only in India but also outside India. He is also a very popular Carnatic Musician. Carnatic Music is purely Hindu devotional music, 90% of which is written in Telugu which is an unfamiliar language to him. Yesudas is Christian by faith. He had to face many problems from the Christian gurus due to his singing Carnatic Music. He had problems with orthodox Hindus as well being Christian.
Once he was not allowed to sing the praise of the Lord Ayyapan in the Sanctum Sanctorum of the temple by the priests. The then chief minister Sri Achutha Menon said on hearing the incident” Yesudas need not enter the premises, Lord Ayyappan Himself will appear in front of Yesudas when he sings His Praise.”
Anantha Padmanabh Swamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram has become internationally famous recently due to is new found treasure. Sabarimala, Ayyappa temple, and Guruvayyur, Sri Krishna temple are the other popular temples.
Snake Boat Race:
The Nehru trophy boat race is the popular boat race in Kerala. It’s called ‘’ Vallam Kali’’ in Malayalam. It means boat game. The race is conducted on the every second Saturday of August every year and it’s a major tourist attraction. The boat is about 40 metres(120 feet) long and comprises of about 120 rowers.
Idiyappam, Paal- Appam, Puttu and Aviyal are some of their popular food preparations. Coconuts are available in plenty. As such coconut is used in most of the food preparations.
Vishu is their new year. It falls in the month of April. They believe that their good luck will prevail if they see the Kani on this day. Coconuts,fruits, Konna flowers and cereals are kept in big pots to prepare the Kani. The other major festival is Onam. This festival is celebrated in the memory of the great philanthropic demon king Maha Bali. This festival is celebrated in the month of August/ September every year with great enthusiasm. They also celebrate other big festivals like Christmas, Easter, Navratri, Janmashtami, Maha Shivratri, Ramzan, Bakrid, Muharram etc. like rest of India.
Popular Malayalam Writers:
Thakazi Shivasankar Pillai, M.T.Vasudevan Nair, G.Shankara Kurup, Uroob, Kamala Das, S.K.Pottekatt, Balachandran Chullikkadu, M.Mukundan and Vaikom Muhammad Basheer are some of the famous writers of Malayalam language.
Hill Stations :
Idukki, Chembra Peak, Lakkidi,Chitirapuram and Devikulam are the hill stations here. Idukki is a well known hill station.
There are three National Parks located here i.e Periyar National Park, Eravikulam National Park and Silent Valley National Parks.
Wildlife Sanctuaries :
Some of them are Idukki, Periyar, Aralam, Chinnar, Rajamala, Munnar or Eravikulam etc.
Kovalam is a very popular beach in Thiruvananthapuram. It is famous for crystal clear water. Many tourists frequent this place. The other beaches are Alappuzha, Nattiga, Cherai, Kappad etc. Kerala tourism department is planning to develop 22 beaches including Kevalam to attract tourists.
Readers can have a visual treat of Kerala by watching the following Video by Kerala Tourism Department.
Courtesy: I thank Wikipedia for certain statistics and information.
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