KERALA

God's Own Country, The etymology of Kerala is widely disputed, and is in fact, a matter of conjecture. It may derive from Sanskrit keralam, means the land added on, with reference to its mythical and geographical origins. Another prevailing theory states that it is an imperfect Malayalam portmanteau that fuses kera (coconut palm tree) and alam (land or location or 'abode of' ). Natives of Kerela — Keralites — thus refer to their land as Keralam. Kerela is a state on the Western Coast of south-western India . To its east and north-east, Kerala borders Tamil Nadu and Karnataka; to its west lies the Arabian Sea; and to its south the Indian Ocean, islands of Lakshadweep and the Maldives . Kerala is one of four states that compose the linguistic-cultural region known as South India . Kerala has some of the pristine hill stations in India , with the entire Western Ghats dotted with evergreens, rolling grasslands, sholas and stretches of rejuvenating fragrance of tea and coffee plantations. The wilder side of Kerala has in store some of the best wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in the country with a variety of plant and animal life unique to Kerala. Glistening brooks and cascades that interstice the hills finally roll down to the coastal plains of Kerala where they laze through verdant stretches of paddy fields, coconut trees and feeds some of the splendorous expanse of backwaters and lakes.

 
The Places To Visit

Kerala View

  Munnar
Munnar, a hill station on the Western Ghats has lakes, reservoirs, forests and tea estates. It is called the Nature-Lovers's Paradise . Munnar is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathani & Kundala. 1600 meter above sea level this hill station was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India . Sprawling Tea plantations, picture book towns, winding lanes, and holiday facilities make this a popular resort town. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji. This flower which bathes the hills in the blue every twelve years. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India - Anamudi, which towers over 2695 m. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking.
 
  Sabarimala
The hill shrine of Sabarimala and its deity Lord Ayyappan is matchless in Hindu religion and peculiar to the Kerala State in South India . This forest abode of Lord Ayyappan is in the Western Ghats of India. Lord Ayyappan is a symbol of religious unity and communal harmony. Being born out of Mohini (the female incarnation of Lord Vishnu) and Lord Shiva, he is also known as Bhuthanatha, Dharmasastha, Hariharan, Ayyanar and Manikanta. Sabarimala ( Mount Sabari - about 3000 feet above sea level) is the most favourite and significant temple in Kerala. Pilgrimage to this temple symbolises the journey to heaven. The journey of spiritual candidate to Sabarimala is difficult and adventurous. The pilgrims observe severe austerities, wearing rudraksha or tulsi beads strings in the neck and trek up the forest to reach the temple. The feeling of delight and spiritual elevation one gets when devotees have the darshan (when devotee sees) of the deity is remarkable and significant. The magnetic charm is so high, it makes any devotee, who undertakes the yatra (pilgrimage) once, to revisit the shrine every year in quest of spiritual solace. Sabarimala temple is open to all, irrespective of caste, creed, religion, social status or nationality. The pilgrims undergo 41 days of fast to cleanse the mind. He carries on his head, the holy ghee for the Lord's Abisheka filled in coconut in "Irumudi" (two compartment cloth bag). The temple is open only to males and menopaused females (beyond 50 years of age) and little girls below 10 years of age. This is because the Lord is a chaste yogi in Sabarimala. The male pilgrims are called 'Ayyappan' and the female pilgrims are called 'Malikappuram'. Only young girls who have not attained womanhood and old women who have reached menopause are allowed to worship at this time.
The men must vow to walk bare foot, not cut their nails and hair, sleep on the floor and practise absolute abstinence during the period of their penance. .
  GURUVAYUR

Guruvayur, the abode of Lord Sree Guruvayurappan, is located 29 kms north west to the cultural capital of the 'God's own country', Kerala. A temple, famous all over India as a pilgrim centre, dedicated to Lord Krishna popularly known as Guruvayoorappan. The Sreekrishna idol of this temple is believed to have been worshipped by Vasudevar and Devaki at Dwaraka. This shrine popularly known as ‘Dakshina Dwaraka' (Dwaraka of south) is in the form of a rectangle. There are a lot of mural paintings around the ‘Shrikovil' (Shrine). n Kerala, this is probably the only temple that hosts the maximum number of marriages and rice feeding ceremonies (the ritual first meal for infants). It was also the hub of the 'Guruvayoor Sathyagraha' , a historic movement demanding temple entry rights for the 'so called' lower castes. The town where this temple is located is known by the name of Thrissur Guruvayoor. The temple of Guruvayur in Trichur, Kerala is worth a visit and just a mere sight of the Lord's idol in its grandeur is enough to make you feel pure and blessed. The temple follows a strict decorum and only Hindus are allowed inside. The temple is said to have been built by Guru (preceptor of Gods) and Vayu (God of winds). The idol is built out of a rare stone called Patala Anjana.

 

  Thekkady

Thekkady, located in central Kerala, is a popular hill station and a wildlife centre. This town, which is an important plantation centre, conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice scented plantations. Thekkady is a hill station at an altitude ranging from 700 m to 1900 m in the Idukki district. It lies on the Western Ghats in the state of Kerala. Thekkady (Idukki District) is the location of the Periyar National Park , which is an important tourist attraction in Kerala state, India , close to the Kerala -Tamil Nadu border town Kumily, located about 257 km (160 miles) from Trivandrum . The sanctuary is famous for its dense evergreen, semievergreen, moist deciduous forests and savannah grass lands. It is home to herds of elephants, sambar, tigers, gaur, lion-tailed macaques and Nilgiri langurs.

 
  Kumarakom
Kumarakom, an unbelievably beautiful paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals adorned with white lilies. Situated on the Vembanad lake, in this small water world you'll come across plenty of traditional country Crafts, boats and canoes which will take you into the heart of the scenic lake. The resorts nearby offer comfortable accommodation and exclusive leisure options like an Ayurvedic massage, yoga, meditation, boating, fishing, angling and swimming. Kumarakom offers nature's best with its virgin forest backwaters. Slumbers on the banks of Vembanad Lake , which weaves an enchanting web with its canals, streams and distributaries, Kumarakom is a place fit for those quiet and intimate moments when you just want to be with yourself in tranquility and peace. Kumarakom, located on the Southern coast of India enjoys a well-balanced tropical climate. Nature has composed its magic to perfection here. A million verdant coconut palms lining the rivers lean to examine its reflections on the glassy rivers. Everywhere, nature is at its best. Blooming forth in perfumes of flowers. In the riot of colours of multi-hued birds. In the fresh, succulent and bountiful freshwater fishes.
 

 

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