My Kerala-gods Own Country

By: Dev Sri

My Kerala, also known as God's own Country for its unique geography, climate and Cultural diversity. My Kerala is a small piece of land on the southwestern tip of peninsular India, lying in North-South direction and occupying 1% of the total land of India.

MyKerala, blessed with some of the most ideal landforms like backwaters, 900 km long coastline on the west and almost equally long hills called Western Ghats with only three passes to connect with neighboring states Tamil Nadu and Karnataka in the east. Kerala houseboat journey through Kerala backwaters from southern Kollam district through Venice of the East, Alappuzha to commercial capital Ernakulam is the most tranquilizing experience for any Kerala traveler. In that journey one can enjoy the soothing effect of nature.

My Kerala is also home to three National Parks, among them Eravikulam National Park, located in Anamudi, the tallest mountain in India after the Himalayas, where the rare Nilgiri Tahr is protected is the most special treat for travelers. Other National Parks are Thekkady and Silent Valley.

No other place in the world exhibits as much diversity as My-Kerala. Food, costumes, festivals, and even language are different at two places separated by just 30 kms. Although Malayalam is the language of Kerala, there are more than a handful of dialects in the 600 km stretch.

Colorful Kathakali a dance form of Kerala and Kalari Payattu, the martial art form of Kerala boast world acclaim. Another ritual dance form, Koodiyattam is recognized as Human Heritage Art. There are also various dance forms yet to be recognized- Arjuna dance, Nangyar Koothu are two among them.

Kerala Temple festivals and rituals are also much diverse- from the biggest gathering of women at Attukal for Pongala, Garudan Thookkam, a special ritual in which little children are taken around the temples on a vehicle called 'Villu', Nareepooja means worshiping women on a special occasion and much more special rituals are worth the seeing. Thrissur Pooram is one occasion where you can see 100 elephants in two rows with an ocean of people between the two rows, with colourful umbrella transit, thousands of percussionists performing the same tune and full-night display of fireworks.

Apart from the various seafood delicacies, the daily food items like Poottu, Appam, Dosa, Vada, Pathiri, Upmav and side dishes like sambar are also diverse in various parts of my Kerala.

Among this endless diversity there is something common also. They include the lush greenery, and coconut palms shadowing almost the whole land of Kerala and the pleasant faces and the most literate people of India.

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