is isolated from the deccan plateau by the mountanious belt of
the Western Ghats, but with a long coastline open to foreign influences,
Kerala has evolved a unique culture. It is a highly politicized
region, but has a long tradition of religious amity. It is an
educationally advanced state with its own language, Malayalam,
and has the highest rate of literacy (100%) among Indian states.
in Kerala enjoy a high social status, thanks perhaps to its historic
matrilineal system. Art forms of Kerala range from Kalaripayattu,
the martial art believed to be the origin of various other oriental
ones, to Kathakali, one of the dance forms of Kerala considered
to be amongst the oldest indian dance styles. The elegant snake
boat races have always been the favorite of tourists visiting
Kerala.Kathakali is a fascinating traditional Kerala danceform.
the variety of life in the state are religious as well as secular
festivals which abound in Kerala. They form an integral part of
the cultural heritage of the state. Only during the months of
June to August there are no rituals, ceremonies or festivals taking
place. Although the non- hindus are not usually permitted to enter
a temple and witness the most sacred rites, temples festivals
are accessible to all. In central Kerala, the use of elephants
brings a fairy tale quality to the festivals.
can be few sights to beat to beat that of the 30 caparisoned tuskers
bedecked with gold ornaments assembled in the precincts of Vadakkunthan
temple on the day of the Trichurpooram at Trichur in April-May.
From January 9 to 12 each year a procession of 101 exclusively
decked elephants marches down the streets of Thissur and Alapuzza
and ends at Thiruvanathapuram. The ceremonial feeding of elephants
make a unique experience.
Kerala village fair held between 14 to 23 January every year features
recreated traditional houses, attire, food, crafts, etc., while
the Nishagandhi dance
festivals from 21 to 27 February brings together connoisseurs
of five Indian classical dance forms to perform in an open air
auditorium in Thiruvanathapuram.
back water of Allapuza is the venue of the spectacular Nehru Trophy
snake boat race on the second Saturday of August. It is excitement
all around as magnificently decorated snake boats and Chandan
Vallamms with raised stems resembling the hood of a cobra, each
manned by over a hundred oarsmen, cut through the waters like
boat race is held on the last day of Onam festival at Aranmula
where the Parthasarthy (Lord Krishna) was installed in the ancient
Krishna temple, on this day called Uttirittathy. Held in August/
September, the actual day of the race depends on when Uttirittathy
falls as per the local calender.
People of Kerala also has considerable ethnic diversity. The Malayali
majority belong to the Dravidian group (local race) of early Indian
peoples. There is a small population of descendants of Indo-European
migrants from the north. Certain hill tribes exhibit affinities
with the Negrito peoples of Southeast Asia.
Keralites are Hindus, but there are also large Christian and Islamic,
and lesser Jain and Jewish, minorities. The official language
is Malayalam. A long contact with the outside world has led to
an intriguing blend of cultures and given Keralites a cosmopolitan