Information About Kerala
Kerala’s history is closely linked with its commerce, which until recent times revolved around its spice trade. Celebrated as the Spice Coast of India, ancient Kerala played host to travellers and traders from across the world including the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, French and the British. Almost all of them have left their imprint on this land in some form or the other – architecture, cuisine, literature..
|State Bird||Hornbill (Bensyrus bicemis)|
|State Tree||Coconut Tree (Cocos nucifera)|
|State flower||Kanikonna (Cassia fistula)|
The state has an area of 38,863 km2 (15,005 sq mi) and is bordered by Karnataka to the north, Tamil Nadu to the south and the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. The major cities in Kerala are Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode. Kerala is also known for its many small towns that are scattered across the state, thus creating a higher density of population.
Stone age carving in Edakkal Caves had pictorial writings believed to be dating to at least 5000 BC, from the Neolithic man, indicating the presence of a prehistoric civilization or settlement in this region. From as early as 3000 BC, Kerala had established itself as a major spice trade center. Kerala had direct contact across the Arabian Sea with all the major Red Sea ports and the Mediterranean ports as well as extending to ports in the Far East. The spice trade between Kerala and much of the world was one of the main drivers of the world economy. For much of history, ports in Ker
Kerala is wedged between the Lakshadweep sea and the Western Ghats. Lying between north latitudes 8°18′ and 12°48′ and east longitudes 74°52′ and 77°22′, Kerala experiences the humid equatorial tropic climate. The state has a coast of length 590 km (367 mi) and the width of the state varies between 35 and 120 km (22–75 miles). Geographically, Kerala can be divided into three climatically distinct regions: the eastern highlands (rugged and cool mountainous terrain), the central midlands (rolling hills), and the western lowlands (coastal plains).
Kerala’s western coastal belt is relatively flat, and is criss-crossed by a network of interconnected brackish canals, lakes, estuaries, and rivers known as the Kerala Backwaters. Lake Vembanad—Kerala’s largest body of water—dominates the Backwaters; it lies between Alappuzha and Kochi and is more than 200 km in area. Around 8% of India’s waterways (measured by length) are found in Kerala. The most important of Kerala’s forty-four rivers include the Periyar (244 km), the Bharathapuzha (209 km), the Pamba (176 km), the Chaliyar (169 km), the Kadalundipuzha River (130 km), the Valapattanam (129 km) and the Achankovil (128 km). The average length of the rivers of Kerala is 64 km. Many of the rivers are small and entirely fed by monsoon rains.
With 120–140 rainy days per year, Kerala has a wet and maritime tropical climate influenced by the seasonal heavy rains of the southwest summer monsoon. In eastern Kerala, a drier tropical wet and dry climate prevails. Kerala’s rainfall averages 3,107 mm annually. Some of Kerala’s drier lowland regions average only 1,250 mm; the mountains of eastern Idukki district receive more than 5,000 mm of orographic precipitation, the highest in the state.
Kerala’s economy depends on emigrants working in foreign countries (mainly in the Persian Gulf countries such as UAE or Saudi Arabia) and remittances annually contribute more than a fifth of GSDP. The service sector (including tourism, public administration, banking and finance, transportation, and communications—63.8% of GSDP in 2002–2003) and the agricultural and fishing industries (together 17.2% of GSDP) dominate the economy. Nearly half of Kerala’s people are dependent on agriculture alone for income.
Flora and fauna
Much of Kerala’s notable biodiversity is concentrated and protected in the Western Ghats. Almost a fourth of India’s 10,000 plant species are found in the state. Among the almost 4,000 flowering plant species (1,272 of which are endemic to Kerala and 159 threatened) are 900 species of medicinal plants.
Eastern Kerala’s windward mountains shelter tropical moist forests and tropical dry forests, which are common in the Western Ghats. Here, sonokeling (Dalbergia latifolia), anjili, mullumurikku (Erythrina), and Cassia number among the more than 1,000 species of trees in Kerala. Other plants include bamboo, wild black pepper, wild cardamom, the calamus rattan palm (a type of climbing palm), and aromatic vetiver grass (Vetiveria zizanioides). Living among them are such fauna as Elephant, Bengal Tiger, Leopard, Nilgiri Tahr, Common Palm Civet, and Grizzled Giant Squirrel. 174–175 Reptiles include the King Cobra, viper, python, and Mugger Crocodile . Kerala’s birds are legion—Malabar Trogon, the Great Hornbill, Kerala Laughingthrush, Darter, and Southern Hill Myna are several emblematic species. In lakes, wetlands, and waterways, fish such as kadu (stinging catfish) and Choottachi (Orange chromide—Etroplus maculatus) are found.