Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Kerala a.k.a. God’s Own Country

Nick-named God’s Own Country, Kerala truly is a unique place on earth, with rich variety in geography, culture, festivals, cuisine… Anyone happened to be here will say Kerala is not just a strip of land on the South-end of India. I’m privileged to live in this wonderland.

Kerala Geography
Kerala is a narrow strip of land bordered on the east by high mountain ranges, Western Ghats and on the east by Arabian Sea. I doubt the parallel running of seashore and high mountains exists somewhere else. A Sixty KM journey from any of the exotic Kerala beaches can take you to a misty hill station. There are only three major gaps in the Western Ghats and the most important one is Palakkad Gap, where Kerala is connected to neighboring Tamil Nadu.

Between the beaches and hill stations there are Kerala backwaters. Plenty of them concentrated mainly to the south of Central Kerala. From Thiruvallam backwaters to Kuttanad backwaters, these all are places of tranquility and pristine charm. Time seems to standstill at these places.

Kerala Culture
Culture of Kerala is simply the most diverse in the whole world. In this small land there are people of all religious faiths who have different dress code, food habits, festivals and dance forms. Hindus, Muslims, Christians live here in unison. (Even Jews were here at Mattancheri in Kochi, who have left for their homeland recently.)

Kerala Festivals
Festivals of Kerala are also much diverse. The important of them are Kerala temple festivals. They all display color and grandiose.

National Festival of Kerala, Onam rouses the passion of every Malayalee and from different parts of the world they reach their homes to celebrate Onam with their dear and near ones. This is a harvest festival and is the carnival of Kerala.

Other major festivals are Thrissur Pooram, full night grand display of fireworks, lining up of 60 sacred elephants, thousand percussionists’ performance in unison and much more. Attukal Pongala a religious sacrifice exclusively for women, where they offer Pongala on earthen pots to the Idol of Attukal temple.

Kerala Cuisine
Cuisine of Kerala is so diverse that you can’t taste every item in Kerala menu even in a year. The local tastes change as we travel just 30km. Neighboring districts Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam tastes are different, the snacks items prevalent in one place may not be seen elsewhere. Again Onam festival and wedding occasions bring out the famous Sadya, a vegetarian meal rich with a variety of side dishes.

I will post my experiences at different places of Kerala in this blog. If you want a reminder, do email me at

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