Kerala (/ˈkɛrələ/) is a state on the southwestern, Malabar Coast of India. It was formed on 1 November 1956, following passage of the States Reorganisation Act, by combining Malayalam-speaking regions. Spread over 38,863 km2 (15,005 sq mi), Kerala is the twenty-second largest Indian state by area. It is bordered by Karnataka to the north and northeast, Tamil Nadu to the east and south, and the Lakshadweep Sea and Arabian Sea to the west. With 33,387,677 inhabitants as per the 2011 Census, Kerala is the thirteenth-largest Indian state by population. It is divided into 14 districts with the capital being Thiruvananthapuram. Malayalam is the most widely spoken language and is also the official language of the state.
The Chera Dynasty was the first prominent kingdom based in Kerala. The Ay kingdom in the deep south and the Ezhimala kingdom in the north formed the other kingdoms in the early years of the Common Era (CE or AD). The region had been a prominent spice exporter since 3000 BCE. The region's prominence in trade was noted in the works of Pliny as well as the Periplus around 100 CE. In the 15th century, the spice trade attracted Portuguese traders to Kerala, and paved the way for European colonisation of India. At the time of Indian independence movement in the early 20th century, there were two major princely states in Kerala-Travancore State and the Kingdom of Cochin. They united to form the state of Thiru-Kochi in 1949. The Malabar region, in the northern part of Kerala had been a part of the Madras province of British India, which later became a part of the Madras State post-independence. After the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, the modern-day state of Kerala was formed by merging the Malabar district of Madras State (excluding Gudalur taluk of Nilgiris district, Topslip, the Attappadi Forest east of Anakatti), the state of Thiru-Kochi (excluding four southern taluks of Kanyakumari district, Shenkottai and Tenkasi taluks), and the taluk of Kasaragod (now Kasaragod District) in South Canara (Tulunad) which was a part of Madras State.
The economy of Kerala is the 12th-largest state economy in India with ₹7.73 lakh crore (US$110 billion) in gross domestic product and a per capita GDP of ₹163,000 (US$2,300). Kerala has the lowest positive population growth rate in India, 3.44%; the highest Human Development Index (HDI), 0.712 in 2015; the highest literacy rate, 93.91% in the 2011 census; the highest life expectancy, 77 years; and the highest sex ratio, 1,084 women per 1,000 men. The state has witnessed significant emigration, especially to Arab states of the Persian Gulf during the Gulf Boom of the 1970s and early 1980s, and its economy depends significantly on remittances from a large Malayali expatriate community. Hinduism is practised by more than half of the population, followed by Islam and Christianity. The culture is a synthesis of Aryan, Dravidian, Arab, and European cultures, developed over millennia, under influences from other parts of India and abroad.
The production of pepper and natural rubber contributes significantly to the total national output. In the agricultural sector, coconut, tea, coffee, cashew and spices are important. The state's coastline extends for 595 kilometres (370 mi), and around 1.1 million people in the state are dependent on the fishery industry which contributes 3% to the state's income. The state has the highest media exposure in India with newspapers publishing in nine languages, mainly English and Malayalam. Kerala is one of the prominent tourist destinations of India, with backwaters, hill stations, beaches, Ayurvedic tourism and tropical greenery as its major attractions.
God's Own Country, Spice Garden of India, Land of Coconuts
Location of Kerala
|Coordinates (Thiruvananthapuram): Coordinates:|
|Statehood||November 1956, 1|
|• Body||Government of Kerala|
|• Governor||P. Sathasivam|
|• Chief Minister||Pinarayi Vijayan (CPI (M))|
|• Legislature||Unicameral (141 seats)†|
|• Parliamentary constituencies||Rajya Sabha 9|
Lok Sabha 20
|• High Court||Kerala High Court Kochi|
|• Total||38,863 km2 (15,005 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||2,695 m (8,842 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||−2.2 m (−7.2 ft)|
|• Density||860/km2 (2,200/sq mi)|
|• Total||₹7.73 lakh crore (US$110 billion)|
|• Per capita||₹162,718 (US$2,300)|
|• Additional official||English|
|Time zone||UTC+05:30 (IST)|
|ISO 3166 code||IN-KL|
|HDI (2018)||0.784 (High) · 1st|
|Sex ratio (2011)||1084 ♀/1000 ♂|
|Emblem||Seal of Kerala|
The name Kerala has an uncertain etymology. One popular theory derives Kerala from Kera ("coconut tree" in Malayalam) and alam ("land"); thus "land of coconuts", which is a nickname for the state, used by locals, due to abundance of coconut trees. The word Kerala is first recorded as Keralaputra in a 3rd-century BCE rock inscription left by the Maurya emperor Ashoka (274–237 BCE), one of his edicts pertaining to welfare. The inscription refers to the local ruler as Keralaputra (Sanskrit for "son of Kerala"); or "son of Chera[s]". This contradicts the theory that Kera is from "coconut tree". At that time, one of three states in the region was called Cheralam in Classical Tamil: Chera and Kera are variants of the same word. The word Cheral refers to the oldest known dynasty of Kerala kings and is derived from the Proto-Tamil-Malayalam word for "lake".
The earliest Sanskrit text to mention Kerala is the Aitareya Aranyaka of the Rigveda. Kerala is also mentioned in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the two Hindu epics. The Skanda Purana mentions the ecclesiastical office of the Thachudaya Kaimal who is referred to as Manikkam Keralar, synonymous with the deity of the Koodalmanikyam temple. Keralam may stem from the Classical Tamil cherive-alam ("declivity of a hill or a mountain slope") or chera alam ("Land of the Cheras"). The Greco-Roman trade map Periplus Maris Erythraei refers to Keralaputra as Celobotra.
According to Tamil classic Purananuru, Chera king Senkuttuvan conquered the lands between Kanyakumari and the Himalayas. Lacking worthy enemies, he besieged the sea by throwing his spear into it. According to the 17th century Malayalam work Keralolpathi, the lands of Kerala were recovered from the sea by the axe-wielding warrior sage Parasurama, the sixth avatar of Vishnu (hence, Kerala is also called Parasurama Kshetram ("The Land of Parasurama")). Parasurama threw his axe across the sea, and the water receded as far as it reached. According to legend, this new area of land extended from Gokarna to Kanyakumari. The land which rose from sea was filled with salt and unsuitable for habitation; so Parasurama invoked the Snake King Vasuki, who spat holy poison and converted the soil into fertile lush green land. Out of respect, Vasuki and all snakes were appointed as protectors and guardians of the land. P. T. Srinivasa Iyengar theorised, that Senkuttuvan may have been inspired by the Parasurama legend, which was brought by early Aryan settlers.
Another much earlier Puranic character associated with Kerala is Mahabali, an Asura and a prototypical just king, who ruled the earth from Kerala. He won the war against the Devas, driving them into exile. The Devas pleaded before Lord Vishnu, who took his fifth incarnation as Vamana and pushed Mahabali down to Patala (the netherworld) to placate the Devas. There is a belief that, once a year during the Onam festival, Mahabali returns to Kerala. The Matsya Purana, among the oldest of the 18 Puranas, uses the Malaya Mountains of Kerala (and Tamil Nadu) as the setting for the story of Matsya, the first incarnation of Vishnu, and Manu, the first man and the king of the region.
A substantial portion of Kerala may have been under the sea in ancient times. Marine fossils have been found in an area near Changanacherry, thus supporting the hypothesis. Pre-historical archaeological findings include dolmens of the Neolithic era in the Marayur area of the Idukki district. They are locally known as "muniyara", derived from muni (hermit or sage) and ara (dolmen). Rock engravings in the Edakkal Caves, in Wayanad date back to the Neolithic era around 6000 BCE. Archaeological studies have identified Mesolithic, Neolithic and Megalithic sites in Kerala. The studies point to the development of ancient Kerala society and its culture beginning from the Paleolithic Age, through the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Megalithic Ages. Foreign cultural contacts have assisted this cultural formation; historians suggest a possible relationship with Indus Valley Civilization during the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age.
Kerala has been a major spice exporter since 3000 BCE, according to Sumerian records and it is still referred to as the "Garden of Spices" or as the "Spice Garden of India".:79 Kerala's spices attracted ancient Babylonians, Assyrians and Egyptians to the Malabar Coast in the 3rd and 2nd millennia BCE. Phoenicians established trade with Kerala during this period. The Land of Keralaputra was one of the four independent kingdoms in southern India during Ashoka's time, the others being Chola, Pandya, and Satiyaputra. Scholars hold that Keralaputra is an alternate name of the Cheras, the first dominant dynasty based in Kerala. These territories once shared a common language and culture, within an area known as Tamilakam. Along with the Ay kingdom in the south and the Ezhimala kingdom in the north, the Cheras formed the ruling kingdoms of Kerala in the early years of the Common Era (CE). It is noted in Sangam literature that the Chera king Uthiyan Cheralathan ruled most of modern Kerala from his capital in Kuttanad, and controlled the port of Muziris, but its southern tip was in the kingdom of Pandyas, which had a trading port sometimes identified in ancient Western sources as Nelcynda (or Neacyndi) in Quilon. The lesser known Ays and Mushikas kingdoms lay to the south and north of the Chera regions respectively.
In the last centuries BCE the coast became important to the Greeks and Romans for its spices, especially black pepper. The Cheras had trading links with China, West Asia, Egypt, Greece, and the Roman Empire. In foreign-trade circles the region was known as Male or Malabar. Muziris, Berkarai, and Nelcynda were among the principal ports at that time. The value of Rome's annual trade with the region was estimated at around 50,000,000 sesterces; contemporary Sangam literature describes Roman ships coming to Muziris in Kerala, laden with gold to exchange for pepper. One of the earliest western traders to use the monsoon winds to reach Kerala was Eudoxus of Cyzicus, around 118 or 166 BCE, under the patronage of Ptolemy VIII, king of the Hellenistic Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt. Roman establishments in the port cities of the region, such as a temple of Augustus and barracks for garrisoned Roman soldiers, are marked in the Tabula Peutingeriana; the only surviving map of the Roman cursus publicus.
Merchants from West Asia and Southern Europe established coastal posts and settlements in Kerala. The Israeli (Jewish) connection with Kerala started in 573 BCE. Arabs also had trade links with Kerala, starting before the 4th century BCE, as Herodotus (484–413 BCE) noted that goods brought by Arabs from Kerala were sold to the Israelis [Hebrew (Jews)] at Eden. Israelis intermarried with local (Cheras Dravidian) people, resulting in formation of the Mappila community. In the 4th century, some Christians also migrated from Persia and joined the early Syriac Christian community who trace their origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. Mappila (Semitic) was an honorific title that had been assigned to respected visitors from abroad; Israelite (Jewish), Syrian (Aramaic) Christian, and Muslim immigration account for later names of the respective communities: Juda Mappilas, Nasrani Mappilas, and Muslim Mappilas. The earliest Saint Thomas Christian Churches, Cheraman Jumu'ah Masjid (traditionally dated to "629 CE" by the Mappilas)—regarded as "the first mosque of India"—and Paradesi Synagogue (1568 CE)—the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations—were built in Kerala.
A second Chera Kingdom (c. 800–1102), also known as Kulasekhara dynasty of Mahodayapuram (present-day Kodungallur), was established by Kulasekhara Varman, which ruled over a territory comprising the whole of modern Kerala and a smaller part of modern Tamil Nadu. During the early part of the Kulasekara period, the southern region from Nagercoil to Thiruvalla was ruled by Ay kings, who lost their power in the 10th century, making the region a part of the Kulasekara empire. Under Kulasekhara rule, Kerala witnessed a developing period of art, literature, trade and the Bhakti movement of Hinduism. A Keralite identity, distinct from the Tamils, became linguistically separate during this period around the seventh century. For local administration, the empire was divided into provinces under the rule of Naduvazhis, with each province comprising a number of Desams under the control of chieftains, called as Desavazhis.
The inhibitions, caused by a series of Chera-Chola wars in the 11th century, resulted in the decline of foreign trade in Kerala ports. In addition, Portuguese invasions in the 15th century caused two major religion Buddhism and Jainism to disappear from the land. It is known that the Menons in the Malabar region of Kerala were originally strong believers of Jainism. The social system became fractured with divisions on caste lines. Finally, the Kulasekhara dynasty was subjugated in 1102 by the combined attack of Later Pandyas and Later Cholas. However, in the 14th century, Ravi Varma Kulashekhara (1299–1314) of the southern Venad kingdom was able to establish a short-lived supremacy over southern India. After his death, in the absence of a strong central power, the state was divided into thirty small warring principalities; the most powerful of them were the kingdom of Samuthiri in the north, Venad in the south and Kochi in the middle. In the 18th Century, Travancore King Sree Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma annexed all the kingdoms up to Northern Kerala through military conquests, resulting in the rise of Travancore to pre-eminence in Kerala. The Kochi ruler sued for peace with Anizham Thirunal and Malabar came under direct British rule until India became independent.
The maritime spice trade monopoly in the Indian Ocean (Indu Maha Samundr) stayed with the Arabs during the High and Late Middle Ages. However, the dominance of Middle East traders was challenged in the European Age of Discovery. After Vasco Da Gama's arrival in Kappad Kozhikode in 1498, the Portuguese began to dominate eastern shipping, and the spice-trade in particular. The Zamorin of Kozhikode permitted the new visitors to trade with his subjects such that Portuguese trade in Kozhikode prospered with the establishment of a factory and a fort. However, Portuguese attacks on Arab properties in his jurisdiction provoked the Zamorin and led to conflicts between them. The Portuguese took advantage of the rivalry between the Zamorin and the King of Kochi allied with Kochi. When Francisco de Almeida was appointed as Viceroy of Portuguese India in 1505, his headquarters was established at Fort Kochi (Fort Emmanuel) rather than in Kozhikode. During his reign, the Portuguese managed to dominate relations with Kochi and established a few fortresses on the Malabar Coast. Fort St Angelo or St. Angelo Fort was built in 1505 by the Portuguese in Kannur. However, the Portuguese suffered setbacks from attacks by Zamorin forces; especially from naval attacks under the leadership Kozhikode admirals known as Kunjali Marakkars, which compelled them to seek a treaty. In 1571, the Portuguese were defeated by the Zamorin forces in the battle at Chaliyam fort.
The Portuguese were ousted by the Dutch East India Company, who during the conflicts between the Kozhikode and the Kochi, gained control of the trade. The Dutch in turn were weakened by constant battles with Marthanda Varma of the Travancore Royal Family, and were defeated at the Battle of Colachel in 1741. An agreement, known as "Treaty of Mavelikkara", was signed by the Dutch and Travancore in 1753, according to which the Dutch were compelled to detach from all political involvement in the region. Marthanda Varma annexed northern kingdoms through military conquests, resulting in the rise of Travancore to a position of preeminence in Kerala.
In 1766, Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore invaded northern Kerala. His son and successor, Tipu Sultan, launched campaigns against the expanding British East India Company, resulting in two of the four Anglo-Mysore Wars. Tipu ultimately ceded the Malabar District and South Kanara to the company in the 1790s; both were annexed to the Madras Presidency of British India in 1792. The company forged tributary alliances with Kochi in 1791 and Travancore in 1795. By the end of 18th century, the whole of Kerala fell under the control of the British, either administered directly or under suzerainty. There were major revolts in Kerala during the independence movement in the 20th century; most notable among them is the 1921 Malabar Rebellion and the social struggles in Travancore. In the Malabar Rebellion, Mappila Muslims of Malabar rioted against Hindu zamindars and the British Raj. Some social struggles against caste inequalities also erupted in the early decades of 20th century, leading to the 1936 Temple Entry Proclamation that opened Hindu temples in Travancore to all castes.
After India was partitioned in 1947 into India and Pakistan, Travancore and Kochi, part of the Union of India were merged on 1 July 1949 to form Travancore-Cochin. On 1 November 1956, the taluk of Kasargod in the South Kanara district of Madras, the Malabar district of Madras, and Travancore-Cochin, without four southern taluks (which joined Tamil Nadu), merged to form the state of Kerala under the States Reorganisation Act. A Communist-led government under E. M. S. Namboodiripad resulted from the first elections for the new Kerala Legislative Assembly in 1957. It was one of the earliest elected Communist governments, after Communist success in the 1945 elections in the Republic of San Marino. His government helped distribute land and implement educational reforms.
The state is wedged between the Lakshadweep Sea and the Western Ghats. Lying between northern latitudes 8°18' and 12°48' and eastern longitudes 74°52' and 77°22', Kerala experiences the humid tropical rainforest climate with some cyclones. The state has a coast of 590 km (370 mi) and the width of the state varies between 11 and 121 kilometres (7 and 75 mi). Geographically, Kerala can be divided into three climatically distinct regions: the eastern highlands; rugged and cool mountainous terrain, the central mid-lands; rolling hills, and the western lowlands; coastal plains.:110 Pre-Cambrian and Pleistocene geological formations compose the bulk of Kerala's terrain. A catastrophic flood in Kerala in 1341 CE drastically modified its terrain and consequently affected its history; it also created a natural harbour for spice transport. The eastern region of Kerala consists of high mountains, gorges and deep-cut valleys immediately west of the Western Ghats' rain shadow.:110 41 of Kerala's west-flowing rivers, and 3 of its east-flowing ones originate in this region. The Western Ghats form a wall of mountains interrupted only near Palakkad; hence also known Palghat, where the Palakkad Gap breaks. The Western Ghats rise on average to 1,500 metres (4,900 feet) above sea level, while the highest peaks reach around 2,500 metres (8,200 feet). Anamudi in the Idukki district is the highest peak in south India, is at an elevation of 2,695 m (8,842 ft). The Western Ghats mountain chain is recognised as one of the world's eight "hottest hotspots" of biological diversity and is listed among UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The chain's forests are considered to be older than the Himalaya mountains.
Kerala's western coastal belt is relatively flat compared to the eastern region,:33 and is criss-crossed by a network of interconnected brackish canals, lakes, estuaries, and rivers known as the Kerala Backwaters. The state's largest lake Vembanad, dominates the backwaters; it lies between Alappuzha and Kochi and is about 200 km2 (77 sq mi) in area. Around eight percent of India's waterways are found in Kerala. Kerala's 44 rivers include the Periyar; 244 kilometres (152 mi), Bharathapuzha; 209 kilometres (130 mi), Pamba; 176 kilometres (109 mi), Chaliyar; 169 kilometres (105 mi), Kadalundipuzha; 130 kilometres (81 mi), Chalakudipuzha; 130 kilometres (81 mi), Valapattanam; 129 kilometres (80 mi) and the Achankovil River; 128 kilometres (80 mi). The average length of the rivers is 64 kilometres (40 mi). Many of the rivers are small and entirely fed by monsoon rain. As Kerala's rivers are small and lacking in delta, they are more prone to environmental effects. The rivers face problems such as sand mining and pollution. The state experiences several natural hazards like landslides, floods and droughts. The state was also affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and in 2018 received the worst flooding in nearly a century.
With around 120–140 rainy days per year,:80 Kerala has a wet and maritime tropical climate influenced by the seasonal heavy rains of the southwest summer monsoon and northeast winter monsoon. Around 65% of the rainfall occurs from June to August corresponding to the Southwest monsoon, and the rest from September to December corresponding to Northeast monsoon. The moisture-laden winds of the Southwest monsoon, on reaching the southernmost point of the Indian Peninsula, because of its topography, divides into two branches; the "Arabian Sea Branch" and the "Bay of Bengal Branch". The "Arabian Sea Branch" of the Southwest monsoon first hits the Western Ghats, making Kerala the first state in India to receive rain from the Southwest monsoon. The distribution of pressure patterns is reversed in the Northeast monsoon, during this season the cold winds from North India pick up moisture from the Bay of Bengal and precipitate it on the east coast of peninsular India. In Kerala, the influence of the Northeast monsoon is seen in southern districts only. Kerala's rainfall averages 2,923 mm (115 in) annually. Some of Kerala's drier lowland regions average only 1,250 mm (49 in); the mountains of the eastern Idukki district receive more than 5,000 mm (197 in) of orographic precipitation: the highest in the state. In eastern Kerala, a drier tropical wet and dry climate prevails. During the summer, the state is prone to gale-force winds, storm surges, cyclone-related torrential downpours, occasional droughts, and rises in sea level.:26, 46, 52 The mean daily temperature ranges from 19.8 °C to 36.7 °C. Mean annual temperatures range from 25.0–27.5 °C in the coastal lowlands to 20.0–22.5 °C in the eastern highlands.:65
|State symbols of Kerala|
|Flower||Golden shower tree flower|
Most of the biodiversity is concentrated and protected in the Western Ghats. Three quarters of the land area of Kerala was under thick forest up to 18th century. As of 2004, over 25% of India's 15,000 plant species are in Kerala. Out of the 4,000 flowering plant species; 1,272 of which are endemic to Kerala, 900 are medicinal, and 159 are threatened.:11 Its 9,400 km2 of forests include tropical wet evergreen and semi-evergreen forests (lower and middle elevations—3,470 km2), tropical moist and dry deciduous forests (mid-elevations—4,100 km2 and 100 km2, respectively), and montane subtropical and temperate (shola) forests (highest elevations—100 km2). Altogether, 24% of Kerala is forested.:12 Three of the world's Ramsar Convention listed wetlands—Lake Sasthamkotta, Ashtamudi Lake and the Vembanad-Kol wetlands—are in Kerala, as well as 1455.4 km2 of the vast Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Subjected to extensive clearing for cultivation in the 20th century,:6–7 much of the remaining forest cover is now protected from clearfelling. Eastern Kerala's windward mountains shelter tropical moist forests and tropical dry forests, which are common in the Western Ghats. The world's oldest teak plantation 'Conolly's Plot' is in Nilambur.
Kerala's fauna are notable for their diversity and high rates of endemism: it includes 118 species of mammals (1 endemic), 500 species of birds, 189 species of freshwater fish, 173 species of reptiles (10 of them endemic), and 151 species of amphibians (36 endemic). These are threatened by extensive habitat destruction, including soil erosion, landslides, salinisation, and resource extraction. In the forests, 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, and aromatic vetiver grass, Vetiveria zizanioides.:12 Indian elephant, Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, Nilgiri tahr, common palm civet, and grizzled giant squirrels are also found in the forests.:12, 174–175 Reptiles include the king cobra, viper, python, and mugger crocodile. Kerala's birds include the Malabar trogon, the great hornbill, Kerala laughingthrush, darter and southern hill myna. In the lakes, wetlands, and waterways, fish such as kadu; stinging catfish and choottachi; orange chromide—Etroplus maculatus are found.:163–165
The state's 14 districts are distributed among six regions: North Malabar (far-north Kerala), South Malabar (northern Kerala), Kochi (central Kerala), Northern Travancore, Central Travancore (southern Kerala) and Southern Travancore (far-south Kerala). The districts which serve as administrative regions for taxation purposes are further subdivided into 75 taluks, which have fiscal and administrative powers over settlements within their borders, including maintenance of local land records. Kerala's taluks are further sub-divided into 1,453 revenue villages. Since the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution of India, the local government institutions function as the third tier of government, which constitutes 14 District Panchayats, 152 Block Panchayats, 978 Grama Panchayats, 60 Municipalities, six Corporations and one Township. Mahé, a part of the Indian union territory of Puducherry, though 647 kilometres (402 mi) away from it, is a coastal exclave surrounded by Kerala on all of its landward approaches. The Kannur District surrounds Mahé on three sides with the Kozhikode District on the fourth.
There are six Municipal corporations in Kerala that govern Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kannur. The Thiruvananthapuram Municipal Corporation is the largest corporation in Kerala while Kochi metropolitan area named Kochi UA is the largest urban agglomeration. According to a survey by economics research firm Indicus Analytics in 2007, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kozhikode, Thrissur, Kochi and Kannur are among the "best cities in India to live"; the survey used parameters such as health, education, environment, safety, public facilities and entertainment to rank the cities.
Kerala hosts two major political alliances: the United Democratic Front (UDF), led by the Indian National Congress; and the Left Democratic Front (LDF), led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)). As of 2016, the LDF is the ruling coalition; Pinarayi Vijayan of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) is the Chief Minister, while Ramesh Chennithala of the UDF is the Leader of Opposition. Strikes, protests and marches are ubiquitous in Kerala because of the comparatively strong presence of labour unions. According to the Constitution of India, Kerala has a parliamentary system of representative democracy; universal suffrage is granted to residents. The government is organised into the three branches:
The local government bodies; Panchayat, Municipalities and Corporations have existed in Kerala since 1959, however, the major initiative to decentralise the governance was started in 1993, conforming to the constitutional amendments of central government in this direction. With the enactment of Kerala Panchayati Raj Act and Kerala Municipality Act in 1994, the state implemented reforms in local self-governance. The Kerala Panchayati Raj Act envisages a 3-tier system of local government with Gram panchayat, Block panchayat and District Panchayat forming a hierarchy. The acts ensure a clear demarcation of power among these institutions. However, the Kerala Municipality Act envisages a single-tier system for urban areas, with the institution of municipality designed to par with the Gram panchayat of the former system. Substantial administrative, legal and financial powers are delegated to these bodies to ensure efficient decentralisation. As per the present norms, the state government devolves about 40 per cent of the state plan outlay to the local government.
After independence, the state was managed as a democratic socialist welfare economy. From the 1990s, liberalisation of the mixed economy allowed onerous Licence Raj restrictions against capitalism and foreign direct investment to be lightened, leading to economic expansion and an increase in employment. In the fiscal year 2007–2008, the nominal gross state domestic product (GSDP) was ₹1,624 billion (US$23 billion). GSDP growth; 9.2% in 2004–2005 and 7.4% in 2003–2004 had been high compared to an average of 2.3% annually in the 1980s and between 5.1%:8 and 5.99% in the 1990s.:8 The state recorded 8.93% growth in enterprises from 1998 to 2005, higher than the national rate of 4.80%. The "Kerala phenomenon" or "Kerala model of development" of very high human development and in comparison low economic development has resulted from a strong service sector.:48:1
Kerala's economy depends on emigrants working in foreign countries, mainly in Arab states of the Persian Gulf, and remittances annually contribute more than a fifth of GSDP. The state witnessed significant emigration during the Gulf Boom of the 1970s and early 1980s. In 2008, the Persian Gulf countries together had a Keralite population of more than 2.5 million, who sent home annually a sum of US$6.81 billion, which is the highest among Indian states and more than 15.13% of remittances to India in 2008. In 2012, Kerala still received the highest remittances of all states: US$11.3 billion, which was nearly 16% of the US$71 billion remittances to the country. In 2015, NRI deposits in Kerala have soared to over ₹1 lakh crore (US$14 billion), amounting to one-sixth of all the money deposited in NRI accounts, which comes to about ₹7 lakh crore (US$97 billion). However, a study commissioned by the Kerala State Planning Board, suggested that the state look for other reliable sources of income, instead of relying on remittances to finance its expenditure. According to a study done in 2013, ₹17,500 crore (US$2.4 billion) was the total amount paid to migrant labourers in the state every year.
The tertiary sector comprises services such as transport, storage, communications, tourism, banking, insurance and real estate. In 2011–2012, it contributed 63.22% of the state's GDP, agriculture and allied sectors contributed 15.73%, while manufacturing, construction and utilities contributed 21.05%. Nearly half of Kerala's people depend on agriculture alone for income. Around 600 varieties:5 of rice, which is Kerala's most used staple and cereal crop,:5 are harvested from 3105.21 km2; a decline from 5883.4 km2 in 1990.:5 688,859 tonnes of rice are produced per year. Other key crops include coconut; 899,198 ha, tea, coffee; 23% of Indian production,:13 or 57,000 tonnes,:6–7 rubber, cashews, and spices—including pepper, cardamom, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Traditional industries manufacturing items; coir, handlooms, and handicrafts employ around one million people. Kerala supplies 60% of the total global produce of white coir fibre. India's first coir factory was set up in Alleppey in 1859–60. The Central Coir Research Institute was established there in 1959. As per the 2006–2007 census by SIDBI, there are 1,468,104 micro, small and medium enterprises in Kerala employing 3,031,272 people. The KSIDC has promoted more than 650 medium and large manufacturing firms in Kerala, creating employment for 72,500 people. A mining sector of 0.3% of GSDP involves extraction of ilmenite, kaolin, bauxite, silica, quartz, rutile, zircon, and sillimanite. Other major sectors are tourism, manufacturing, home gardens, animal husbandry and business process outsourcing.
As of March 2002, Kerala's banking sector comprised 3341 local branches: each branch served 10,000 people, lower than the national average of 16,000; the state has the third-highest bank penetration among Indian states. On 1 October 2011, Kerala became the first state in the country to have at least one banking facility in every village. Unemployment in 2007 was estimated at 9.4%; chronic issues are underemployment, low employability of youth, and a low female labour participation rate of only 13.5%,:5, 13 as was the practice of Nokku kooli, "wages for looking on". (On 30 April 2018, the Kerala state government issued an order to abolish nokku kooli, to take effect on 1 May.) By 1999–2000, the rural and urban poverty rates dropped to 10.0% and 9.6% respectively.
Kerala has focused more attention towards growth of Information Technology sector with formation of Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram which is one of the largest IT employer in Kerala. It was the first technology park in India and with the inauguration of the Thejaswini complex on 22 February 2007, Technopark became the largest IT Park in India. Software giants like Infosys, Oracle, Tata Consultancy Services, Capgemini, HCL, UST Global, Nest and Suntec have offices in the state. The state has a second major IT hub, the Infopark centred in Kochi with "spokes"(it acts as the "hub") in Thrissur and Alleppy. As of 2014, Infopark generates one-third of total IT Revenues of the state with key offices of IT majors like Tata Consultancy Services, Cognizant, Wipro, UST Global, IBS Software Services etc. and Multinational corporations like KPMG, Ernst & Young, EXL Service, Etisalat DB Telecom, Nielsen Audio, Xerox ACS, Tata ELXSI etc. Kochi also has another major project SmartCity under construction, built in partnership with Dubai Government. A third major IT Hub is under construction centred around Kozhikode known as Cyberpark.
The state's budget of 2012–2013 was ₹481.42 billion (US$6.7 billion). The state government's tax revenues (excluding the shares from Union tax pool) amounted to ₹217.22 billion (US$3.0 billion) in 2010–2011; up from ₹176.25 billion (US$2.5 billion) in 2009–2010. Its non-tax revenues (excluding the shares from Union tax pool) of the Government of Kerala reached ₹19,308 million (US$270 million) in 2010–2011. However, Kerala's high ratio of taxation to GSDP has not alleviated chronic budget deficits and unsustainable levels of government debt, which have impacted social services. A record total of 223 hartals were observed in 2006, resulting in a revenue loss of over ₹20 billion (US$280 million). Kerala's 10% rise in GDP is 3% more than the national GDP. In 2013, capital expenditure rose 30% compared to the national average of 5%, owners of two-wheelers rose by 35% compared to the national rate of 15%, and the teacher-pupil ratio rose 50% from 2:100 to 4:100.
In November 2015, the Ministry of Urban Development selected seven cities of Kerala for a comprehensive development program known as the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). A package of ₹25 lakh (US$35,000) was declared for each of the cities to develop service level improvement plan (SLIP), a plan for better functioning of the local urban bodies in the cities of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode, and Palakkad.
The major change in agriculture in Kerala occurred in the 1970s when production of rice fell due to increased availability of rice all over India and decreased availability of labour. Consequently, investment in rice production decreased and a major portion of the land shifted to the cultivation of perennial tree crops and seasonal crops. Profitability of crops fell due to a shortage of farm labour, the high price of land, and the uneconomic size of operational holdings.
Kerala produces 97% of the national output of black pepper and accounts for 85% of the natural rubber in the country. Coconut, tea, coffee, cashew, and spices—including cardamom, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg are the main agricultural products.:74 80% of India's export quality cashew kernels are prepared in Kollam. The key agricultural staple is rice, with varieties grown in extensive paddy fields. Home gardens made up a significant portion of the agricultural sector. Related animal husbandry is touted by proponents as a means of alleviating rural poverty and unemployment among women, the marginalised, and the landless. The state government promotes these activities via educational campaigns and the development of new cattle breeds such as the Sunandini. Though the contribution of agricultural sector to the state economy was on the decline in 2012–13, through the strength of the allied livestock sector, it has picked up from 7.03% (2011–12) to 7.2%. In the 2013–14 fiscal period, the contribution has been estimated at a high of 7.75%. The total growth of the farm sector has recorded a 4.39% increase in 2012–13, over a paltry 1.3% growth in the previous fiscal year. The agricultural sector has a share of 9.34% in the sectoral distribution of Gross State Domestic Product at Constant Price, while the secondary and tertiary sectors has contributed 23.94% and 66.72% respectively.
With 590 kilometres (370 miles) of coastal belt, 400,000 hectares of inland water resources and approximately 220,000 active fishermen, Kerala is one of the leading producers of fish in India. According to 2003–04 reports, about 1.1 million people earn their livelihood from fishing and allied activities such as drying, processing, packaging, exporting and transporting fisheries. The annual yield of the sector was estimated as 608,000 tons in 2003–04. This contributes to about 3% of the total economy of the state. In 2006, around 22% of the total Indian marine fishery yield was from Kerala. During the southwest monsoon, a suspended mud bank develops along the shore, which in turn leads to calm ocean water, peaking the output of the fishing industry. This phenomenon is locally called chakara. The waters provide a large variety of fish: pelagic species; 59%, demersal species; 23%, crustaceans, molluscs and others for 18%. Around 1.050 million fishermen haul an annual catch of 668,000 tonnes as of a 1999–2000 estimate; 222 fishing villages are strung along the 590-kilometre (370-mile) coast. Another 113 fishing villages dot the hinterland. Kerala's coastal belt of Karunagappally is known for high background radiation from thorium-containing monazite sand. In some coastal panchayats, median outdoor radiation levels are more than 4 mGy/yr and, in certain locations on the coast, it is as high as 70 mGy/yr.
Kerala has 145,704 kilometres (90,536 mi) of roads, which accounts for 4.2% of India's total. This translates to about 4.62 kilometres (2.87 mi) of road per thousand population, compared to an average of 2.59 kilometres (1.61 mi) in the country. Roads in Kerala include 1,524 kilometres (947 mi) of national highway; 2.6% of the nation's total, 4,341.6 kilometres (2,697.7 mi) of state highway and 18,900 kilometres (11,700 mi) of district roads. Most of Kerala's west coast is accessible through the NH 66 (old NH 17 and 47); and the eastern side is accessible through state highways. New project for hill and coastal highways are announced now under KIIFB. National Highway 66, with the longest stretch of road (1,622 kilometres (1,008 mi)) connects Kanyakumari to Mumbai; it enters Kerala via Talapady in Kasargod and passes through Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Guruvayur, Kochi, Alappuzha, Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram before entering Tamil Nadu. Palakkad district is generally referred to as the Gateway of Kerala, due to the presence of the Palakkad Gap, in the Western Ghats, through which the northern (Malabar) and southern (Travancore) parts of Kerala are connected to the rest of India via road and rail. There is the state's largest checkpoint, Walayar, in NH 544, the border town between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, through which a large amount of public and commercial transportation reaches the northern and central districts of Kerala.
The Department of Public Works is responsible for maintaining and expanding the state highways system and major district roads. The Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP), which includes the GIS-based Road Information and Management Project (RIMS), is responsible for maintaining and expanding the state highways in Kerala; it also oversees a few major district roads. Traffic in Kerala has been growing at a rate of 10–11% every year, resulting in high traffic and pressure on the roads. Traffic density is nearly four times the national average, reflecting the state's high population. Kerala's annual total of road accidents is among the nation's highest. The accidents are mainly the result of the narrow roads and irresponsible driving. National Highways in Kerala are among the narrowest in the country and will remain so for the foreseeable future, as the state government has received an exemption that allows narrow national highways. In Kerala, highways are 45 metres (148 feet) wide. In other states National Highways are grade separated highways 60 metres (200 feet) wide with a minimum of four lanes, as well as 6 or 8 lane access-controlled expressways. National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has threatened the Kerala state government that it will give high priority to other states in highway development as political commitment to better highways has been lacking. As of 2013, the state had the highest road accident rate in the country, with most fatal accidents taking place along the state's National Highways.
The Indian Railways' Southern Railway line runs through the state connecting most of the major towns and cities except those in the highland districts of Idukki and Wayanad. The railway network in the state is controlled by two out of six divisions of the Southern Railway; Thiruvananthapuram Railway division and Palakkad Railway Division. Thiruvananthapuram Central (TVC) is the busiest railway station in the state. Kerala's major railway stations are:
Major railway transport between Beypore–Tirur began on 12 March 1861, from Shoranur–Cochin Harbour section in 1902, from Kollam–Sengottai on 1 July 1904, Kollam–Thiruvananthapuram on 4 January 1918, from Nilambur-Shoranur in 1927, from Ernakulam–Kottayam in 1956, from Kottayam–Kollam in 1958, from Thiruvananthapuram–Kanyakumari in 1979 and from the Thrissur-Guruvayur Section in 1994.
Kochi Metro is the metro system for the city of Kochi. It is the only metro in Kerala. The construction began in 2012 and the first phase set up at an estimated cost of ₹5181 crore (US$770 million).
Kerala has four international airports: Trivandrum International Airport, Cochin International Airport, Calicut International Airport, and Kannur International Airport. Kerala is the only state in India to have four international airports.
Kollam Airport, established under the Madras Presidency, but since closed, was the first airport in Kerala. Trivandrum International Airport, managed by the Airport Authority of India, is among the oldest existing airports in South India. Cochin International Airport is the busiest in the state and the seventh busiest in the country. It is also the first airport in the world to be fully powered by solar energy and has won the coveted Champion of the Earth award, the highest environmental honour instituted by the United Nations. Cochin International Airport is also the first Indian airport to be incorporated as a public limited company; it was funded by nearly 10,000 non-resident Indians from 30 countries.
Other than civilian airports, Kochi has a naval airport named INS Garuda. Thiruvananthapuram airport shares civilian facilities with the Southern Air Command of the Indian Air Force. These facilities are used mostly by central government VIPs visiting Kerala.
Kerala has one major port, 17 minor ports and a few mini ports. The state has numerous backwaters, which are used for commercial inland navigation. Transport services are mainly provided by country craft and passenger vessels. There are 67 navigable rivers in the state while the total length of inland waterways is 1,687 kilometres (1,048 mi). The main constraints to the expansion of inland navigation are; lack of depth in waterways caused by silting, lack of maintenance of navigation systems and bank protection, accelerated growth of the water hyacinth, lack of modern inland craft terminals, and lack of a cargo handling system. A canal 205 kilometres (127 mi) long, National Waterway 3, runs between Kottapuram and Kollam, which is included in the East-Coast Canal.
Kerala is home to 2.76% of India's population; with a density of 859 persons per km2, its land is nearly three times as densely settled as the Indian national average of 370 persons per km2. As of 2011, Thiruvananthapuram is the most populous city in Kerala. In the state, the rate of population growth is India's lowest, and the decadal growth of 4.9% in 2011 is less than one third of the all-India average of 17.64%. Kerala's population more than doubled between 1951 and 1991 by adding 15.6 million people to reach 29.1 million residents in 1991; the population stood at 33.3 million by 2011. Kerala's coastal regions are the most densely settled with population of 2022 persons per km2, 2.5 times the overall population density of the state, 859 persons per km2, leaving the eastern hills and mountains comparatively sparsely populated. Around 31.8 million Keralites are predominantly Malayali. The state's 321,000 indigenous tribal Adivasis, 1.10% of the population, are concentrated in the east.:10–12 Malayalam, one of the classical languages in India, is Kerala's official language. Over a dozen other scheduled and unscheduled languages are also spoken.
There is the tradition of matrilineal inheritance in Kerala, where the mother is the head of the household. As a result, women in Kerala have had a much higher standing and influence in the society. This was common among certain influential castes and is a factor in the value placed on daughters. Christian missionaries also influenced Malayali women in that they started schools for girls from poor families. Opportunities for women such as education and gainful employment often translate into a lower birth rate, which in turn, make education and employment more likely to be accessible and more beneficial for women. This creates an upward spiral for both the women and children of the community that is passed on to future generations. According to the Human Development Report of 1996, Kerala's Gender Development Index was 597; higher than any other state of India. Factors, such as high rates of female literacy, education, work participation and life expectancy, along with favourable sex ratio, contributed to it.
Kerala's sex ratio of 1.084 (females to males) is higher than that of the rest of India and is the only state where women outnumber men.:2 While having the opportunities that education affords them, such as political participation, keeping up to date with current events, reading religious texts etc., these tools have still not translated into full, equal rights for the women of Kerala. There is a general attitude that women must be restricted for their own benefit. In the state, despite the social progress, gender still influences social mobility.
As of 2015, Kerala has a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.770, which is in the "high" category, ranking it first in the country. It was 0.790 in 2007-08 and it had a consumption-based HDI of 0.920, which is better than that of many developed countries. Comparatively higher spending by the government on primary level education, health care and the elimination of poverty from the 19th century onward has helped the state maintain an exceptionally high HDI; the report was prepared by the central government's Institute of Applied Manpower Research. However, the Human Development Report 2005, prepared by Centre for Development Studies envisages a virtuous phase of inclusive development for the state since the advancement in human development had already started aiding the economic development of the state. Kerala is also widely regarded as the cleanest and healthiest state in India.
According to the 2011 census, Kerala has the highest literacy rate (94%) among Indian states. In 2018, the literacy rate was calculated to be 96%. In the Kottayam district, the literacy rate was 97%.  The life expectancy in Kerala is 74 years, among the highest in India as of 2011. Kerala's rural poverty rate fell from 59% (1973–1974) to 12% (1999–2010); the overall (urban and rural) rate fell 47% between the 1970s and 2000s against the 29% fall in overall poverty rate in India. By 1999–2000, the rural and urban poverty rates dropped to 10.0% and 9.6% respectively. The 2013 Tendulkar Committee Report on poverty estimated that the percentages of the population living below the poverty line in rural and urban Kerala are 9.14% and 4.97%, respectively. These changes stem largely from efforts begun in the late 19th century by the kingdoms of Cochin and Travancore to boost social welfare. This focus was maintained by Kerala's post-independence government.:48
Kerala has undergone a "demographic transition" characteristic of such developed nations as Canada, Japan, and Norway;.:1 as 11.2% of people are over the age of 60, and due to the low birthrate of 18 per 1,000. In 1991, Kerala's total fertility rate (TFR) was the lowest in India. Hindus had a TFR of 1.66, Christians; 1.78, and Muslims; 2.97. The state also is regarded as the "least corrupt Indian state" according to the surveys conducted by Transparency International (2005) and India Today (1997). Kerala has the lowest homicide rate among Indian states, with 1.1 per 100,000 in 2011. In respect of female empowerment, some negative factors such as higher suicide rate, lower share of earned income, child marriage, complaints of sexual harassment and limited freedom are reported.
In 2015, Kerala had the highest conviction rate of any state, over 77%. Kerala has the lowest proportion of homeless people in rural India – 0.04%, and the state is attempting to reach the goal of becoming the first "Zero Homeless State", in addition to its acclaimed "Zero landless project", with private organisations and the expatriate Malayali community funding projects for building homes for the homeless. The state was also among the lowest in the India State Hunger Index next only to Punjab. In 2015 Kerala became the first "complete digital state" by implementing e-governance initiatives.
Kerala is a pioneer in implementing the universal health care program. The sub-replacement fertility level and infant mortality rate are lower compared to those of other states, estimated from 12:49 to 14:5 deaths per 1,000 live births; as per the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, it has dropped to 6. However, Kerala's morbidity rate is higher than that of any other Indian state—118 (rural) and 88 (urban) per 1,000 people. The corresponding figures for all India were 55 and 54 per 1,000 respectively as of 2005.:5 Kerala's 13.3% prevalence of low birth weight is higher than that of many first world nations. Outbreaks of water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis, and typhoid among the more than 50% of people who rely on 3 million water wells is an issue worsened by the lack of sewers.:5–7 According to a study commissioned by Lien Foundation, a Singapore-based philanthropic organisation, Kerala is considered to be the best place to die in India based on the state's provision of palliative care for patients with serious illnesses.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization designated Kerala the world's first "baby-friendly state" because of its effective promotion of breast-feeding over formulas. Over 95% of Keralite births are hospital delivered and the state also has the lowest Infant mortality rate in the country. The third National Family Health Survey ranks Kerala first in "Institutional Delivery" with 100% births in medical facilities. Ayurveda,:13 siddha, and endangered and endemic modes of traditional medicine, including kalari, marmachikitsa and vishavaidyam, are practised. Some occupational communities such as Kaniyar were known as native medicine men in relation to the practice of such streams of medical systems, apart from their traditional vocation. These propagate via gurukula discipleship,:5–6 and comprise a fusion of both medicinal and alternative treatments.:15
In 2014, Kerala became the first state in India to offer free cancer treatment to the poor, via a program called Sukrutham. People in Kerala experience elevated incidence of cancers, liver and kidney diseases. In April 2016, the Economic Times reported that 250,000 residents undergo treatment for cancer. It also reported that approximately 150 to 200 liver transplants are conducted in the region's hospitals annually. Approximately 42,000 cancer cases are reported in the region annually. This is believed to be an underestimate due as private hospitals may not be reporting their figures. Long waiting lists for kidney donations has stimulated illegal trade in human kidneys, and prompted the establishment of the Kidney Federation of India which aims to support financially disadvantaged patients.
Hinduism is the most widely professed faith in Kerala, with significant Muslim and Christian minorities. In comparison with the rest of India, Kerala experiences relatively little sectarianism. According to 2011 Census of India figures, 54.73% of Kerala's residents were Hindus, 26.56% are Muslims, 18.38% are Christians, and the remaining 0.32% follow another religion or have no religious affiliation. Hindus constitute the majority in all districts except Malappuram, where they are outnumbered by Muslims. Kerala has the largest population of Christians in India. In 2015, Hindus, Muslims, Christians and others accounted for 42.87%, 41.45%, 15.42% and 0.26% of the total child births in the state, respectively.
The mythological legends regarding the origin of Kerala are Hindu in nature. Kerala produced several saints and movements. Adi Shankara was a religious philosopher who contributed to Hinduism and propagated the philosophy of Advaita. He was instrumental in establishing four mathas at Sringeri, Dwarka, Puri and Jyotirmath. Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri was another religious figure who composed Narayaniyam, a collection of verses in praise of the Hindu God Krishna.
Historians do not rule out the possibility of Islam being introduced to Kerala as early as the seventh century CE. Kerala Muslims are generally referred to as the Mappilas. Mappilas are but one among the many communities that forms the Muslim population of Kerala. According to some scholars, the Mappilas are the oldest settled Muslim community in South Asia. Most of the Muslims in Kerala follow the Shāfiʿī school of religious law while a large minority follow movements that developed within Sunni Islam. The latter section consists of majority Salafists (the Mudjahids) and the minority Islamists.
Ancient Christian tradition says that Christianity reached the shores of Kerala in AD 52 with the arrival of Thomas the Apostle, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. Saint Thomas Christians include Syro-Malabar Catholic, Syro-Malankara Catholic, Jacobite Syrian, Malankara Orthodox Syrian, Marthoma Syrian, the Syrian Anglicans of the CSI and several Pentecostal and evangelical denominations. The origin of the Latin Catholic Christians in Kerala is the result of the missionary endeavours of the Portuguese Padroado in the 16th century. As a consequence of centuries of miscegenation beginning with the Portuguese, Dutch, French, British and other Europeans, there is a community of Anglo-Indians in Kerala of mixed European and Indian parentage or ancestry. Kerala has the highest population of Christians among all the states of India.
Judaism reached Kerala in the 10th century BC during the time of King Solomon. They are called Cochin Jews or Malabar Jews and are the oldest group of Jews in India. There was a significant Jewish community which existed in Kerala until the 20th century, when most of them migrated to Israel. The Paradesi Synagogue at Kochi is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth. Jainism has a considerable following in the Wayanad district.
Buddhism was popular in the time of Ashoka but vanished by the 12th century CE. Certain Hindu communities such as the Samantan Kshatriyas, Ambalavasis, Nairs, Thiyyas and some Muslims around North Malabar used to follow a traditional matrilineal system known as marumakkathayam, although this practice ended in the years after Indian independence. Other Muslims, Christians, and some Hindu castes such as the Namboothiris, most of the Ambalavasi castes and the Ezhavas followed makkathayam, a patrilineal system. Owing to the former matrilineal system, women in Kerala enjoy a high social status. However, gender inequality among low caste men and women is reportedly higher compared to that in other castes. :1
The Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics flourished between the 14th and 16th centuries. In attempting to solve astronomical problems, the Kerala school independently created a number of important mathematics concepts, including series expansion for trigonometric functions. However, the educational transformation of Kerala was triggered by efforts of the Church Mission Society missionaries, who where the pioneers that promoted mass education in Kerala, in the early decades of the 19th century. Following the instructions of the Wood's despatch of 1854, both the princely states, Travancore and Cochin, launched mass education drives with support from agencies, mainly based on castes and communities and introduced a system of grant-in-aid to attract more private initiatives. The efforts by leaders, Vaikunda Swami, Narayana Guru, Ayyankali and Kuriakose Elias Chavara towards aiding the socially discriminated castes in the state, with the help of community-based organisations like Nair Service Society, SNDP, Muslim Mahajana Sabha, Yoga Kshema Sabha (of Nambudiris) and congregations of Christian churches, led to the development of mass education in Kerala.
In 1991, Kerala became the first state in India to be recognised as a completely literate state, though the effective literacy rate at that time was only 90%. As of 2007, the net enrolment in elementary education was almost 100% and was almost balanced among sexes, social groups and regions, unlike other states in India. The state topped the Education Development Index (EDI) among 21 major states in India in the year 2006–2007. According to the first Economic Census, conducted in 1977, 99.7% of the villages in Kerala had a primary school within 2 kilometres (1.2 mi), 98.6% had a middle school within 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) and 96.7% had a high school or higher secondary school within 5 kilometres (3.1 mi).:62 According to the 2011 census, Kerala has 93.91% literacy compared to the national literacy rate of 74.04%. In January 2016, Kerala became the first Indian state to achieve 100% primary education through its literacy programme Athulyam. The educational system prevailing in the state's schools is made up of 10 years, which are streamlined into lower primary, upper primary and secondary school stages with a 4+3+3 pattern. After 10 years of schooling, students typically enroll in Higher Secondary Schooling in one of the three major streams—liberal arts, commerce or science. Upon completing the required coursework, students can enroll in general or professional under-graduate (UG) programmes. The majority of public schools are affiliated with the Kerala State Education Board. Other educational boards are the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE), the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE), and the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). English is the language of instruction in most self-financing schools, while government and government-aided schools offer English or Malayalam. Though the cost of education is generally considered low in Kerala, according to the 61st round of the National Sample Survey (2004–2005), per capita spending on education by the rural households was reported to be ₹41 (57¢ US) for Kerala, more than twice the national average. The survey also revealed that the rural-urban difference in household expenditure on education was much less in Kerala than in the rest of India.
The culture of Kerala is composite and cosmopolitan in nature and it is an integral part of Indian culture. It is synthesis of Aryan and Dravidian cultures, defined by its antiquity and the organic continuity sustained by the Malayali people. It has been elaborated through centuries of contact with neighbouring and overseas cultures. However, the geographical insularity of Kerala from the rest of the country has resulted in the development of a distinctive lifestyle, art, architecture, language, literature and social institutions. Over 10,000 festivals are celebrated in the state every year. The Malayalam calendar, a solar calendar started from 825 CE in Kerala, finds common usage in planning agricultural and religious activities.
Many of the temples in Kerala hold festivals on specific days of the year. A common characteristic of these festivals is the hoisting of a holy flag which is brought down on the final day of the festival after immersing the deity. Some festivals include Poorams, the best known of these being the Thrissur Pooram. "Elephants, firework displays and huge crowds" are the major attractions of Thrissur Pooram. Other known festivals are Makaravilakku, Chinakkathoor Pooram, Attukal Pongala and Nenmara Vallangi Vela Other than these, festivals locally known as utsavams are conducted by many temples mostly on annual basis. Temples that can afford it will usually involve at least one richly caparisoned elephant as part of the festivities. The idol in the temple is taken out on a procession around the countryside atop this elephant. When the procession visits homes around the temple, people will usually present rice, coconuts, and other offerings to it. Processions often include traditional music such as Panchari melam or Panchavadyam.
Onam is a harvest festival celebrated by the people of Kerala and is reminiscent of the state's agrarian past. It is a local festival of Kerala consisting of a four-day public holidays; from Onam Eve (Uthradam) to the fourth Onam Day. Onam falls in the Malayalam month of Chingam (August–September) and marks the commemoration of the Vamana avatara of Vishnu and the subsequent homecoming of King Mahabali. The total duration of Onam is 10 days and it is celebrated all across Kerala. It is one of the festivals celebrated with cultural elements such as Vallam Kali, Pulikali, Pookkalam, Thumbi Thullal and Onavillu.
Kerala is home to a number of performance arts. These include five classical dance forms: Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Koodiyattom, Thullal and Krishnanattam, which originated and developed in the temple theatres during the classical period under the patronage of royal houses. Kerala natanam, Thirayattam, Kaliyattam, Theyyam, Koothu and Padayani are other dance forms associated with the temple culture of the region. Some traditional dance forms such as Margamkali and Parichamuttukali are popular among the Syrian Christians and Chavittu nadakom is popular among the Latin Christians, while Oppana and Duffmuttu were popular among the Muslims of the state.
The development of classical music in Kerala is attributed to the contributions it received from the traditional performance arts associated with the temple culture of Kerala. The development of the indigenous classical music form, Sopana Sangeetham, illustrates the rich contribution that temple culture has made to the arts of Kerala. Carnatic music dominates Keralite traditional music. This was the result of Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma's popularisation of the genre in the 19th century. Raga-based renditions known as sopanam accompany kathakali performances. Melam; including the paandi and panchari variants, is a more percussive style of music: it is performed at Kshetram-centered festivals using the chenda. Panchavadyam is a form of percussion ensemble, in which artists use five types of percussion instrument. Kerala's visual arts range from traditional murals to the works of Raja Ravi Varma, the state's most renowned painter. Most of the castes and communities in Kerala have rich collections of folk songs and ballads associated with a variety of themes; Vadakkan Pattukal (Northern Ballads), Thekkan pattukal (Southern Ballads), Vanchi pattukal (Boat Songs), Mappila Pattukal (Muslim songs) and Pallipattukal (Church songs) are a few of them.
Malayalam films carved a niche for themselves in the Indian film industry with the presentation of social themes. Directors from Kerala, like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, G. Aravindan, Bharathan, P. Padmarajan, M.T.Vasudevan Nair, K.G. George, Priyadarshan, John Abraham, Ramu Karyat, K S Sethumadhavan, A. Vincent and Shaji N Karun have made a considerable contribution to the Indian parallel cinema. Kerala has also given birth to numerous actors, such as Satyan, Prem Nazir, Madhu, Sheela, Sharada, Miss Kumari, Jayan, Adoor Bhasi, Seema, Bharath Gopi, Thilakan, Mohanlal, Mammootty, Dileep, Shobana, Nivin Pauly, Sreenivasan, Urvashi, Manju Warrier, Suresh Gopi, Jayaram, Murali, Shankaradi, Kavya Madhavan, Bhavana Menon, Prithviraj, Parvathy (actress), Jayasurya, Dulquer Salmaan, Oduvil Unnikrishnan, Jagathy Sreekumar, Nedumudi Venu, KPAC Lalitha and Fahad Fazil. Late Malayalam actor Prem Nazir holds the world record for having acted as the protagonist of over 720 movies. Since the 1980s, actors Mohanlal and Mammootty have dominated the movie industry; Mohanlal has won five National Film Awards (four for acting), while Mammootty has three National Film Awards for acting. Malayalam Cinema has produced a few more notable personalities such as K.J. Yesudas, K.S. Chitra, Vayalar Rama Varma, M.T. Vasudevan Nair, V. Madhusoodanan Nair and O.N.V. Kurup, the last two mentioned being recipients of Jnanpith award, the highest literary award in India.
Malayalam literature starts from the late medieval period and includes such notable writers as the 14th-century Niranam poets (Madhava Panikkar, Sankara Panikkar and Rama Panikkar), and the 17th-century poet Thunchaththu Ezhuthachan, whose works mark the dawn of both the modern Malayalam language and its poetry. Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar and Kerala Varma Valiakoi Thampuran are noted for their contribution to Malayalam prose. The "triumvirate of poets" (Kavithrayam): Kumaran Asan, Vallathol Narayana Menon, and Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer, are recognised for moving Keralite poetry away from archaic sophistry and metaphysics, and towards a more lyrical mode. In the second half of the 20th century, Jnanpith winning poets and writers like G. Sankara Kurup, S. K. Pottekkatt, Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, M. T. Vasudevan Nair and O. N. V. Kurup had made valuable contributions to the modern Malayalam literature. Later, writers like O. V. Vijayan, Kamaladas, M. Mukundan, Arundhati Roy, Vaikom Muhammed Basheer, have gained international recognition.
Kerala cuisine has a multitude of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes prepared using fish, poultry, and meat. Culinary spices have been cultivated in Kerala for millennia and they are characteristic of its cuisine. Rice is a dominant staple that is eaten at all times of day. A majority of the breakfast foods in Kerala are made out of rice, in one form or the other (idli, dosa, puttu, appam, or idiyappam), tapioca preparations, or pulse-based vada. These may be accompanied by chutney, kadala, payasam, payar pappadam, appam, chicken curry, beef fry, egg masala and fish curry. Lunch dishes include rice and curry along with rasam, pulisherry and sambar. Sadhya is a vegetarian meal, which is served on a banana leaf and followed with a cup of payasam. Popular snacks include banana chips, yam crisps, tapioca chips, unniyappam and kuzhalappam. Seafood specialties include karimeen, prawns, shrimp and other crustacean dishes.
Elephants have been an integral part of the culture of the state. Almost all of the local festivals in kerala include at least one richly caparisoned elephant. Kerala is home to the largest domesticated population of elephants in India—about 700 Indian elephants, owned by temples as well as individuals. These elephants are mainly employed for the processions and displays associated with festivals celebrated all around the state. More than 10,000 festivals are celebrated in the state annually and some animal lovers have sometimes raised concerns regarding the overwork of domesticated elephants during them. In Malayalam literature, elephants are referred to as the 'sons of the sahya '. The elephant is the state animal of Kerala and is featured on the emblem of the Government of Kerala.
The media, telecommunications, broadcasting and cable services are regulated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The National Family Health Survey – 3, conducted in 2007, ranked Kerala as the state with the highest media exposure in India. Dozens of newspapers are published in Kerala, in nine major languages, but principally Malayalam and English. The most widely circulated Malayalam-language newspapers are Malayala Manorama, Mathrubhumi, Madhyamam, Deshabhimani, Mangalam, Kerala Kaumudi, Chandrika, Thejas, Janayugam, Janmabhumi, Deepika and Siraj Daily. Major Malayalam periodicals include Mathrubhumi, India Today Malayalam, Madhyamam Weekly, Grihalakshmi, Vanitha, Dhanam, Chithrabhumi, and Bhashaposhini. The Hindu is the most read English language newspaper in the state, followed by The New Indian Express. Other dailies include Deccan Chronicle, The Times of India, DNA, The Economic Times, and The Financial Express.
Doordarshan is the state-owned television broadcaster. Multi system operators provide a mix of Malayalam, English and international channels via cable television. Some of the popular Malayalam television channels are Asianet, Asianet News, Asianet Plus, Asianet Movies, Surya TV, Kiran TV, Mazhavil Manorama, Manorama News, Kairali TV, Kairali WE, Kairali People, Flowers, Kappa TV, Amrita TV, Reporter, Jaihind, Jeevan TV, Mathrubhumi News, Kaumudi, Shalom TV, and Janam TV. Television serials, reality shows and the Internet have become major sources of entertainment and information for the people of Kerala. A Malayalam version of Google News was launched in September 2008. A sizeable "people's science" movement has taken root in the state, and such activities as writers' cooperatives are becoming increasingly common.:2 BSNL, Reliance Infocomm, Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Jio, Tata Docomo and Aircel are the major cell phone service providers. Broadband Internet services are widely available throughout the state; some of the major ISPs are BSNL, Asianet Satellite communications, Reliance Communications, Airtel, Idea, MTS and VSNL. According to a TRAI report, as of January 2012 the total number of wireless phone subscribers in Kerala is about 34.3 million and the wireline subscriber base is at 3.2 million, accounting for the telephone density of 107.77. Unlike in many other states, the urban-rural divide is not visible in Kerala with respect to mobile phone penetration.
By the 21st century, almost all of the native sports and games from Kerala have either disappeared or become just an art form performed during local festivals; including Poorakkali, Padayani, Thalappandukali, Onathallu, Parichamuttukali, Velakali, and Kilithattukali. However, Kalaripayattu, regarded as "the mother of all martial arts in the world", is an exception and is practised as the indigenous martial sport. Another traditional sport of Kerala is the boat race, especially the race of Snake boats.
Cricket and football became popular in the state; both were introduced in Malabar during the British colonial period in the 19th century. Cricketers, like Tinu Yohannan, Abey Kuruvilla, Sreesanth, Sanju Samson and Basil Thampi found places in the national cricket team. A cricket club from Kerala, the Kochi Tuskers, played in the Indian Premier League's fourth season. However, the team was disbanded after the season because of conflicts of interest among its franchises. Kerala has only performed well recently in the Ranji Trophy cricket competition, in 2017–18 reaching the quarterfinals for the first time in history. Football is one of the most widely played and watched sports with huge support for club and district level matches. Kochi hosts Kerala Blasters FC in the Indian Super League and Kozhikode hosts Gokulam Kerala FC in the I-League. Kozhikode also hosts the Sait Nagjee Football Tournament. Kerala is one of the major footballing states in India along with West Bengal and Goa and has produced national players like I. M. Vijayan, C. V. Pappachan, V. P. Sathyan, Jo Paul Ancheri, Pappachen Pradeep, C.K. Vineeth, Anas Edathodika and Rino Anto. The Kerala state football team has won the Santhosh Trophy six times; in 1973, 1992, 1993, 2001, 2004, and 2018. They were also the runners-up eight times.
Among the prominent athletes hailing from the state are P. T. Usha, Shiny Wilson and M.D. Valsamma, all three of whom are recipients of the Padma Shri as well as Arjuna Award, while K. M. Beenamol and Anju Bobby George are Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award winners. T. C. Yohannan, Suresh Babu, Sinimol Paulose, Angel Mary Joseph, Mercy Kuttan, K. Saramma, K. C. Rosakutty, Padmini Selvan and Tintu Luka are the other Arjuna Award winners from Kerala. Volleyball is another popular sport and is often played on makeshift courts on sandy beaches along the coast. Jimmy George was a notable Indian volleyball player, rated in his prime as among the world's ten best players. Other popular sports include badminton, basketball and kabaddi. The Indian Hockey team captain P. R. Shreejesh, ace goalkeeper hails from Kerala.
For the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Kochi), was chosen as one of the six venues where the game would be hosted in India.. Greenfield International Stadium at located at Kariavattom in Thiruvananthapuram city, is India's first DBOT (design, build, operate and transfer) model outdoor stadium and it has hosted international cricket matches and international football matches including 2015 SAFF Championship.
Kerala's culture and traditions, coupled with its varied demographics, have made the state one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. In 2012, National Geographic's Traveller magazine named Kerala as one of the "ten paradises of the world" and "50 must see destinations of a lifetime". Travel and Leisure also described Kerala as "One of the 100 great trips for the 21st century". In 2012, it overtook the Taj Mahal to be the number one travel destination in Google's search trends for India. Kerala's beaches, backwaters, lakes, mountain ranges, waterfalls, ancient ports, palaces, religious institutions and wildlife sanctuaries are major attractions for both domestic and international tourists. The city of Kochi ranks first in the total number of international and domestic tourists in Kerala. Until the early 1980s, Kerala was a relatively unknown destination compared to other states in the country. In 1986 the government of Kerala declared tourism an important industry and it was the first state in India to do so. Marketing campaigns launched by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, the government agency that oversees the tourism prospects of the state, resulted in the growth of the tourism industry. Many advertisements branded Kerala with the tagline Kerala, God's Own Country. Kerala tourism is a global brand and regarded as one of the destinations with highest recall. In 2006, Kerala attracted 8.5 million tourists, an increase of 23.68% over the previous year, making the state one of the fastest-growing popular destinations in the world. In 2011, tourist inflow to Kerala crossed the 10-million mark.
Ayurvedic tourism has become very popular since the 1990s, and private agencies have played a notable role in tandem with the initiatives of the Tourism Department. Kerala is known for its ecotourism initiatives which include mountaineering, trekking and bird-watching programmes in the Western Ghats as the major activities. As of 2005, the state's tourism industry was a major contributor to the state's economy, growing at the rate of 13.31%. The revenue from tourism increased five-fold between 2001 and 2011 and crossed the ₹ 190 billion mark in 2011. Moreover, the industry provides employment to approximately 1.2 million people.
Asia's largest, and the world's third-largest, Naval Academy-Ezhimala Naval Academy-at Kannur is in Kerala. The state's only drive-in beach, Muzhappilangad in Kannur, which stretches across four kilometres of sand, was chosen by the BBC as one of the top six drive-in beaches in the world in 2016. Idukki arch dam, the world's second arch dam, and Asia's first, is in Kerala. The major beaches are at Kovalam, Varkala, Fort Kochi, Cherai, Alappuzha, Payyambalam, Kappad, Muzhappilangad (South India's only drive-in beach) and Bekal. Popular hill stations are at Ponmudi, Wayanad, Wagamon, Munnar, Peermade, Paithalmala of Kannur district and Nelliampathi. Munnar is 4,500 feet above sea level and is known for tea plantations, and a variety of flora and fauna. Kerala's ecotourism destinations include 12 wildlife sanctuaries and two national parks: Periyar Tiger Reserve, Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary, Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary, Eravikulam National Park, and Silent Valley National Park are the most popular among them. The Kerala backwaters are an extensive network of interlocking rivers (41 west-flowing rivers), lakes, and canals that centre around Alleppey, Kumarakom and Punnamada (where the annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held in August), Pathiramanal a small island in Muhamma . Padmanabhapuram Palace and the Mattancherry Palace are two nearby heritage sites. Padmanabhaswamy Temple in the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram holds the record as the wealthiest place of worship in the world, with assets of at least ₹1.2 lakh crore (equivalent to ₹1.8 trillion or US$26 billion in 2018).
A study by K.C. Zacharia and S. Irudaya Rajan, two economists at the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), unemployment in Kerala has dropped from 19.1[%] in 2003 to 9.4[%] in 2007.
One example I can give you relates to the Indian Mādhava's demonstration, in about 1400 A.D., of the infinite power series of trigonometrical functions using geometrical and algebraic arguments. When this was first described in English by Charles Whish, in the 1830s, it was heralded as the Indians' discovery of the calculus. This claim and Mādhava's achievements were ignored by Western historians, presumably at first because they could not admit that an Indian discovered the calculus, but later because no one read any more the Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, in which Whish's article was published. The matter resurfaced in the 1950s, and now we have the Sanskrit texts properly edited, and we understand the clever way that Mādhava derived the series without the calculus; but many historians still find it impossible to conceive of the problem and its solution in terms of anything other than the calculus and proclaim that the calculus is what Mādhava found. In this case the elegance and brilliance of Mādhava's mathematics are being distorted as they are buried under the current mathematical solution to a problem to which he discovered an alternate and powerful solution.
Inaugurating on Saturday the valedictory of the bicentenary celebration of the arrival of Church Mission Society (CMS) missionaries to the shores of Kerala, Mr. Vijayan said it was their pioneering work in the fields of education, literature, printing, publishing, women’s education, education of the differently abled and, in general, a new social approach through the inclusion of marginalised sections into the mainstream which brought the idea of ‘equality’ into the realm of public consciousness. This had raised the standard of public consciousness and paved the way for the emergence of the renaissance movements in the State.
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, visited CMS College in Kerala, the oldest college in India, and laid the foundation stone of the bicentenary block. He said, “CMS college is a pioneer of modern education in Kerala. It has been the source of strong currents of knowledge and critical inquiry that have moulded the scholastic and socio-cultural landscape of Kerala and propelled the State to the forefront of social development.”
General informationCommunist Party of India
The Communist Party of India (CPI) is the oldest communist party in India. There are different views on exactly when it was founded. The date maintained as the foundation day by the CPI is 26 December 1925. The Communist Party of India (Marxist), which separated from the CPI in 1964 following an ideological rift between China and the Soviet Union, continues to claim having been founded in 1925.Communist Party of India (Marxist)
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (abbreviated CPI(M)) is the largest communist party in India. The party emerged from a split from the Communist Party of India in 1964. The CPI(M) was formed at the Seventh Congress of the Communist Party of India held in Calcutta from 31 October to 7 November 1964. As of 2018, CPI(M) is leading the state government in Kerala and having elected members in 8 state legislative assemblies including Kerala, West Bengal, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Jammu & Kashmir, and Rajasthan. It also leads the West Bengal Left Front. As of 2016, CPI(M) claimed to have 1,048,678 members. The highest body of the party is the Politburo.Government of Kerala
The Government of Kerala headquartered at Thiruvananthapuram is a democratically elected body that governs the Indian State of Kerala. The state government is headed by the Governor of Kerala as the nominal head of state, with a democratically elected Chief Minister as real head of the executive. The state government maintains its capital at Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) and is seated at the Kerala Government Secretariat or the Hajur Kutcheri.
The Government of Kerala was formed on November 1, 1956 after merging of State of Travancore-Cochin with the Malabar district of the Madras state as part of States Reorganisation Act, 1956.Indian Union Muslim League
The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) (commonly referred to as the League) is a political party in India. It is recognized by the Election Commission of India as a State Party in Kerala.
IUML has an MLA in Tamil Nadu.Kerala Blasters FC
Kerala Blasters Football Club is an Indian professional football club based in Kochi, Kerala. Kerala Blasters is one of the ten teams to have been part of the Indian Super League (ISL),the top tier of indian football since its inception.
They play in the league under licence from All India Football Federation (AIFF). The club was established on 24 May 2014 and began their first professional season a few months later in October 2014.
The Blasters play their home matches at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The team has held the record for highest league attendance every season, regularly averaging over 55,000 fans a game.The Blasters played their inaugural match on 13 October 2014, losing 1–0 to NorthEast United. The club made it to the final of the Indian Super League in 2014. A last minute goal from Mohammed Rafique saw Kerala Blasters lose 1–0 to Atlético de Kolkata and it became a heartbreaking loss for the Keralians. The team did not qualify for the finals the next season, but they managed to make it to the final again in 2016. The team was once again defeated by Atlético de Kolkata, this time through penalties 4–3.Kerala Legislative Assembly
The Kerala Legislative Assembly, popularly known as the Niyamasabha (literally Hall of laws), is the State Assembly of Kerala, one of the 29 States in India. The Assembly is formed by 140 elected representatives and one nominated member from the Anglo-Indian community. Each elected member represents one of the 140 constituencies within the borders of Kerala and is referred to as Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA).Kochi
Kochi ([koˈtʃːi ] (listen)), also known as Cochin ( KOH-chin), is a major port city on the south-west coast of India bordering the Laccadive Sea. It is part of the district of Ernakulam in the state of Kerala and is often referred to as Ernakulam. Kochi is the most densely populated city in Kerala. As of 2011, it has a corporation limit population of 677,381 within an area of 94.88 km² and a total urban population of more than of 2.1 million within an area of 440 km², making it the largest and the most populous metropolitan area in Kerala. Kochi city is also part of the Greater Cochin region and is classified as a Tier-II city by the Government of India. The civic body that governs the city is the Kochi Municipal Corporation, which was constituted in the year 1967, and the statutory bodies that oversee its development are the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) and the Goshree Islands Development Authority (GIDA).Called the Queen of the Arabian Sea, Kochi was an important spice trading centre on the west coast of India from the 14th century onward, and maintained a trade network with Arab merchants from the pre-Islamic era. Occupied by the Portuguese in 1503, Kochi was the first of the European colonies in colonial India. It remained the main seat of Portuguese India until 1530, when Goa was chosen instead. The city was later occupied by the Dutch and the British, with the Kingdom of Cochin becoming a princely state. Kochi ranks first in the total number of international and domestic tourist arrivals in Kerala. The city was ranked the sixth best tourist destination in India according to a survey conducted by the Nielsen Company on behalf of the Outlook Traveller magazine. Kochi was one of the 28 Indian cities among the emerging 440 global cities that will contribute 50% of the world GDP by the year 2025, in a 2011 study done by the McKinsey Global Institute. In July 2018, Kochi was ranked the topmost emerging future megacity in India by global professional services firm JLL.Kochi is known as the financial, commercial and industrial capital of Kerala. It has the highest GDP as well as the highest GDP per capita in the state. The city is home to the Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy and is the state headquarters of the Indian Coast Guard with an attached air squadron, named Air Squadron 747. Commercial maritime facilities of the city include the Port of Kochi, an International Container Transshipment Terminal, the Cochin Shipyard, offshore SPM of the BPCL Kochi Refinery and the Kochi Marina. Kochi is also home for the Cochin Stock Exchange, International Pepper Exchange, Marine Products Export Development Authority, Coconut Development Board, companies like HMT, Apollo Tyres and Synthite, petrochemical companies like the FACT, TCC, IREL, Petronet LNG, Merchem, HOCL and Kochi Refineries, electrical companies like TELK, and V-Guard and industrial parks like the Cochin Special Economic Zone, Smart City, Infopark and Kinfra Hi-Tech Park. Kochi is home for the High Court of Kerala and Lakshadweep, Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), Indian Maritime University, Sree Sankaracharya Sanskrit University and the Cochin University of Science and Technology. Kochi is also home to Kerala's National Law School, the National University of Advanced Legal Studies.
Kochi has been hosting India's first art biennale, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, since 2012, which attracts international artists and tourists.List of political parties in India
India has a multi-party system with recognition accorded to national and state and district level parties. The status is reviewed periodically by the Election Commission of India. Other political parties that wish to contest local, state or national elections are required to be registered by the Election Commission of India (ECI). Registered parties are upgraded as recognized national or state level parties based upon objective criteria. A recognized party enjoys privileges like a reserved party symbol, free broadcast time on state run television and radio, a
consultation in setting of election dates and giving input in setting electoral rules and regulations.This listing is according to the Indian general election, 2014 and Legislative Assembly elections and any party aspiring to state or national party status must fulfil at least one of the concerned criteria. In addition, national and state parties have to fulfill these conditions for all subsequent A Lok Sabha or State elections, or else they lose their status. As per latest publication from Election Commission of India, the total number of parties registered was 1841, with 7 national parties, 51 state parties and 1785 unrecognised parties.All registered parties contesting elections need to choose a symbol from a list of available symbols offered by the EC. All 29 states of the country along with the union territories of Puducherry and the National Capital Territory of Delhi have elected governments unless President's rule is imposed under certain conditionsMalayalam
Malayalam (; മലയാളം, Malayāḷam ? [maləjaːɭəm]) is a Dravidian language spoken in the Indian state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry (Mahé) by the Malayali people, and it is one of 22 scheduled languages of India. Malayalam has official language status in the state of Kerala and in the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry (Mahé) and is spoken by 38 million people worldwide. Malayalam is also spoken by linguistic minorities in the neighbouring states; with significant number of speakers in the Nilgiris, Kanyakumari, and Coimbatore districts of Tamil Nadu, and Kodagu and Dakshina Kannada districts of Karnataka. Due to Malayali expatriates in the Persian Gulf, the language is also widely spoken in Gulf countries.
The origin of Malayalam remains a matter of dispute among scholars. One view holds that Malayalam and modern Tamil are offshoots of Middle Tamil and separated from it sometime after the c. 7th century. A second view argues for the development of the two languages out of "Proto-Dravidian" or "Proto-Tamil-Malayalam" in the prehistoric era. Designated a "Classical Language in India" in 2013, it developed into the current form mainly by the influence of the poet Thunchaththu Ezhuthachan in the 16th century. The oldest documents written purely in Malayalam and still surviving are the Vazhappalli Copper plates from 832 and Tharisapalli Copper plates from 849.
The earliest script used to write Malayalam was the Vatteluttu alphabet, and later the Kolezhuttu, which derived from it. The current Malayalam script is based on the Vatteluttu script, which was extended with Grantha script letters to adopt Indo-Aryan loanwords. The oldest literary work in Malayalam, distinct from the Tamil tradition, is dated from between the 9th and 11th centuries. The first travelogue in any Indian language is the Malayalam Varthamanappusthakam, written by Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar in 1785.Malayalam cinema
Malayalam cinema is the Indian film industry based in the southern state of Kerala, dedicated to the production of motion pictures in the Malayalam language. It is also known by the sobriquet Mollywood in various print and online media (a portmanteau of Malayalam and Hollywood).Malayalam film industry is the fourth biggest film industry in India. The films produced here are known for their cinematography and story-driven realistic plots. Works such as Marana Simhasanam and Vanaprastham were screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.Marana Simhasanam garnered the coveted Caméra d'Or ("Golden Camera") for that year.In 1982, Elippathayam won the Sutherland Trophy at the London Film Festival, and Most Original Imaginative Film of 1982 by the British Film Institute. Rajiv Anchal's Guru (1997) and Salim Ahamed's Adaminte Makan Abu (2011) were Malayalam films sent by India as its official entries for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards. Adoor Gopalakrishnan has won the International Film Critics Prize (FIPRESCI) for his works such as Mukhamukham (1984), Anantaram (1987), Mathilukal (1989), Vidheyan (1993), Kathapurushan (1995), and Nizhalkkuthu (2002).Other films which achieved global acclaim include Chemmeen (1965), which received a Certificate of Merit at the Chicago International Film Festival, and a Gold Medal at the Cannes Film Festival for Best Cinematography. Piravi (1989) won at least 31 international honours, including the Caméra d'Or – Mention Spéciale at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival, and was screened at the Un Certain Regard. Swaham (1994) won the Bronze Rosa Camuna at the Bergamo Film Meeting in Italy.
The first 3D film produced in India, My Dear Kuttichathan (1984), was made in Malayalam. The first CinemaScope film produced in Malayalam was Thacholi Ambu (1978).During the early 1920s the Malayalam film industry was based in Thiruvananthapuram, although the film industry started to develop and flourish only by the late 1940s. Later the industry shifted to Chennai (formerly Madras), which then was the capital of the South Indian film industry. By the late 1980s, the Malayalam film industry returned and established itself in Kerala with the majority of locations, studios, production and post-production facilities being located in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. Several media sources describe Kochi as the hub of the film industry.Mammootty
Muhammad Kutty Paniparambil Ismail (born 7 September 1951), better known by his stage name Mammootty is an Indian film actor and producer who works in Malayalam cinema. In a career spanning four decades, he has appeared in over 400 films, predominantly in Malayalam language and also in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi and English.Mammootty was a lawyer by profession. After establishing himself as a lead actor in the 1980s, his major breakthrough came with the commercial success of the 1987 film New Delhi. He has won three National Film Awards for Best Actor, seven Kerala State Film Awards and thirteen Filmfare Awards South. In 1998, the Government of India awarded him the Padma Shri for his contributions to the arts. He has also received honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Kerala in January 2010 and from the University of Calicut in December 2010.Mammootty is the chairman of Malayalam Communications, which runs the Malayalam television channels Kairali TV, People TV and WE TV. He is also the goodwill ambassador of the Akshaya project, the first district-wide e-literacy project in India. He is the patron of the Pain and Palliative Care Society, a charitable organisation in Kerala formed with the aim of improving the quality of life among patients with advanced cancer. He has also been working with the Pain and Palliative Care Centre in Kozhikode, India.Mohanlal
Mohanlal Viswanathan (born 21 May 1960), known mononymously as Mohanlal, is an Indian actor, producer and playback singer who predominantly works in Malayalam cinema. He has had a prolific career spanning four decades, during which he has acted in more than 300 films. In addition to Malayalam, he has also appeared in other regional Indian films.Mohanlal made his acting debut as a teenager in the Malayalam film Thiranottam in 1978, but the film was delayed in its release for 25 years due to censorship issues. His screen debut was in the 1980 romance film Manjil Virinja Pookkal, in which he played the villain. In the following years, he played antagonistic characters in several films and gradually rose to supporting roles. Towards the mid-1980s, he established himself as a leading actor and gained stardom after starring in a series of commercially successful films in 1986; the crime drama Rajavinte Makan, released in that year heightened his stardom. Mohanlal prefers to work in Malayalam films, but he has also appeared in some Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada films. Some of his best known non-Malayalam films include the Tamil political drama Iruvar (1997), the Hindi crime drama Company (2002) and the Telugu action film Janatha Garage (2016).Mohanlal has received five National Film Awards—two Best Actor, a Special Jury Mention and a Special Jury Award for acting, and an award for Best Feature Film (as producer), also nine Kerala State Film Awards, Filmfare Awards South and numerous other accolades. The Government of India honoured him with Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian honour in 2001 and Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian honour in 2019, for his contributions to Indian cinema. In 2009, he became the first and only actor to be awarded the honorary rank of Lieutenant colonel in the Territorial Army of India. He received honorary doctorate from Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit in 2010 and from the University of Calicut in 2018.National Democratic Alliance (India)
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is a coalition of Progressive centre-right to right-wing political parties in India. At the time of its formation in 1998, it was led by the BJP and had 13 constituent parties. Its chairman was late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Also representing the alliance are L. K. Advani, former Deputy Prime Minister, who is the acting chairman of the Alliance, Narendra Modi, current Prime Minister and the Leader of the House in Lok Sabha; and Arun Jaitley, Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha and Finance minister. The coalition ruled from 1998 to 2004. The alliance returned to power in the 2014 General election with a combined vote share of 38.5%. Its leader, Narendra Modi, was sworn in as Prime Minister of India on 26 May 2014.Onam
Onam is an annual Hindu holiday and festival with origins in the state of Kerala in India. It falls in the Malayalam calendar month of Chingam, which in Gregorian calendar overlaps with August–September. According to legends, the festival is celebrated to commemorate King Mahabali, whose spirit is said to visit Kerala at the time of Onam.Onam is a major annual event for Malayali people in and outside Kerala. It is a harvest festival, one of three major annual Hindu celebrations along with Vishu and Thiruvathira, and it is observed with numerous festivities. Onam celebrations include Vallam Kali (boat races), Pulikali (tiger dances), Pookkalam (flower arrangement), Onathappan (worship), Onam Kali, Tug of War, Thumbi Thullal (women's dance), Kummattikali (mask dance), Onathallu (martial arts), Onavillu (music), Kazhchakkula (plantain offerings), Onapottan (costumes), Atthachamayam (folk songs and dance), and other celebrations.Onam is the official state festival of Kerala with public holidays that start four days from Uthradom (Onam eve).. Major festivities take places across 30 venues in Thiruvananthapuram, capital of Kerala. It is also celebrated by Malayali diaspora around the world. Though a Hindu festival, non-Hindu communities of Kerala participate in Onam celebrations considering it as a cultural festival. However, some non-Hindus in Kerala denounce its celebration as a cultural event because they consider it as a religious festival.Saint Thomas Christians
The Saint Thomas Christians, also called Syrian Christians of India, Nasrani or Malankara Nasrani or Nasrani Mappila, are an ethnoreligious community of Malayali Syriac Christians from Kerala, India, who trace their origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. The terms Syrian or Syriac relate not to their ethnicity but to their historical, religious, and liturgical connection to Syriac Christianity. The term Nasrani was derived from Semitic languages like Syriac (نصرانی) and Arabic (نصارى) and refers to Christians in general.
Historically, this community was organised as the Province of India of the Church of the East in the 8th century, served by Nestorian bishops and a local dynastic Archdeacon. The Church of the East eventually declined in the 16th century due to outside influences like the Islamic invasion and the influence of the Catholic Church. The Schism of 1552 split the Church of the East into two factions, the independent Assyrian Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church which is in full communion with Rome. Both the factions follow the East Syriac Liturgy of the historic Church of the East.
In the 16th century the overtures of the Portuguese padroado to bring the Saint Thomas Christians into the Catholic Church led to the first of several rifts in the community. The majority of Nasranis joined in formal communion with Rome, to form the Syro-Malabar Church which is distinct and separate from the Western Latin Church but is one of the Eastern Catholic Churches. The remaining group entered into a new communion with the Syriac Orthodox Church, to form an Oriental Orthodox (Malankara) Church. The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church follows the East Syriac Liturgy of the historic Church of the East, traditionally attributed to Saints Addai and Mari which dates back to 3rd-century Edessa. The Malankara Church follows the West Syriac Liturgy of the Syriac Orthodox Church, traditionally attributed to Saint James, and is an ancient rite of the Early Christian Church of Jerusalem. Since that time further splits have occurred, and the Saint Thomas Christians are now divided into several different Eastern Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, Protestant, and independent bodies, each with their own liturgies and traditions.The Eastern Catholic faction is in full communion with the Holy See in Rome. This includes the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. The Syro-Malankara Church were a minority faction within the Oriental Orthodox faction that joined in communion with Rome in 1930 under Bishop Mar Ivanios. The Oriental Orthodox faction includes the Malankara Orthodox Church and the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church. The Malankara Orthodox Church is headed by the Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan in Kottayam, India. Whereas the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church is an integral part of the Syriac Orthodox Church and is headed by the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch in Damascus, Syria. Independents include the Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church and the Chaldean Syrian Church of India. The Marthoma Syrian Church were a part of the Malankara Church that went through a reformation movement under Abraham Malpan due to influence of British Anglican missionaries in the 1800s. The Mar Thoma Church follows a reformed variant of the liturgical West Syriac Rite. The Chaldean Syrian Church is an archbishopric of the Assyrian Church of the East in Iraq. They were a minority faction within the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, who split off and joined with the Church of the East Bishop during the 1700s.Saint Thomas Christians represent a multi-ethnic group. Their culture is largely derived from East Syriac, Hindu, Jewish, and West Syriac influences, blended with local customs and later elements derived from indigenous Indian and European colonial contacts. Their language is Malayalam, the language of Kerala, and Syriac is used for liturgical purposes. The Saint Thomas Christians are classified as a Forward caste by the Government of India under its system of positive discrimination.Thiruvananthapuram
Thiruvananthapuram (IPA: [t̪iruʋənən̪t̪əpurəm] (listen)), also known by its former name Trivandrum, is the capital of the Indian state of Kerala. It is the most populous city in Kerala with a population of 957,730 as of 2011. The encompassing urban agglomeration population is around 1.68 million. Located on the west coast of India near the extreme south of the mainland, Thiruvananthapuram is a major Information Technology hub in Kerala and contributes 55% of the state's software exports as of 2016. Referred to by Mahatma Gandhi as the "Evergreen city of India", the city is characterised by its undulating terrain of low coastal hills.
The Ays ruled the present region of Thiruvananthapuram until the 10th century. With their fall in the 10th century, the city was taken over by the Chera dynasty. The city was later taken over by the Kingdom of Venad in the 12th century. In the 17th century the king Marthanda Varma expanded the territory and founded the princely state of Travancore and Thiruvananthapuram was made capital of Travancore. Following India's independence in 1947, Thiruvananthapuram became the capital of Travancore-Cochin state and remained capital when the new Indian state of Kerala was formed in 1956.Thiruvananthapuram is a notable academic and research hub and is home to the University of Kerala, Kerala Technological University the regional headquarters of Indira Gandhi National Open University, and many other schools and colleges. Thiruvananthapuram is also home to research centers such as the National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology, Indian Space Research Organisation's Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, and a campus of the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research. The city is home to media institutions like Toonz India Ltd and Tata Elxsi Ltd, and is also home to Chitranjali Film Studio, one of the first film studios in Malayalam Cinema, and Kinfra Film and Video Park at Kazhakoottom, which is India's first Infotainment Industrial park.Being India's largest city in the deep south, it is strategically prominent and hosts the Southern Air Command headquarters of the Indian Air Force, the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station and the upcoming Vizhinjam International Seaport. Thiruvananthapuram is a major tourist centre, known for the Padmanabhaswamy Temple, the beaches of Kovalam and Varkala, the backwaters of Poovar and Anchuthengu and its Western Ghats tracts of Ponmudi and the Agastyamala. In 2012, Thiruvananthapuram was named the best Kerala city to live in, by a field survey conducted by The Times of India. In 2013, the city was ranked the fifteenth best city to live in India, in a survey conducted by India Today. The city was also selected as the best-governed city in India in the survey conducted by Janaagraha Centre for citizenship and democracy in 2017.Thrissur
Thrissur (pronunciation ), originally Thri Siva Peroor and previously known by its anglicised form as Trichur, is the fifth largest city, the third largest urban agglomeration in Kerala (Pop. 1,854,783). Thrissur is also known as the "Cultural Capital of Kerala" because of its cultural, spiritual and religious leanings throughout history. It is the headquarters of the Thrissur District. The city is built around a 65-acre (26 ha) hillock called the Thekkinkadu Maidan which seats the Vadakkumnathan temple. Thrissur was once the capital of the Kingdom of Cochin. It is located 300 kilometres (186 mi) towards north-west of the state capital Thiruvananthapuram. One of the main cultural events in Thrissur is the Thrissur Pooram, which attracts quite a number of tourists and travellers.Vishu
Vishu (Malayalam: Viṣu, Tulu: Bisu) is an Indian festival celebrated in one of the Indian state Kerala and in coastal Kanyakumari nearby regions and their diaspora communities. The festival follows the solar cycle of the lunisolar as the first day of month called Medam. It therefore always falls in the middle of April in the Gregorian calendar on or about 14 April every year.Vishu literally means equal, and in the festival context it connotes the completion of spring equinox. The festival is notable for its solemnity and the general lack of pomp The festival is marked by family time, preparing colorful auspicious items and viewing these as the first thing on the Vishu day. In particular, Malayali seek to view the golden blossoms of the Indian laburnum (Kani Konna), money or silver items (Vishukkaineetam), and rice. The day also attracts firework play by children, wearing new clothes (Puthukodi) and the eating a special meal called Sadhya, which is a mix of salty, sweet, sour and bitter items.The Vishu arrangement typically includes an image of Vishnu, typically in the form of Krishna. People also visit temples like Sabarimala Ayyappan Temple or Guruvayur Sree Krishna temple or Kulathupuzha Sree BaalaShastha Temple to have a 'Vishukkani Kazhcha' (viewing) in the early hours of the day.Wayanad district
Wayanad is an Indian district in the north-east of Kerala state with headquarters at the municipality of Kalpetta. It is set high on the Western Ghats with altitudes ranging from 700 to 2100. The district was formed on 1 November 1980 as the 12th district in Kerala by carving out areas from Kozhikode and Kannur districts. About 885.92 sq.km of area of the district is under forest. Wayanad has three municipal towns—Kalpetta, Mananthavady and Sulthan Bathery. There are many indigenous tribals in this area.Wayanad district is bordered by Karnataka to north and north-east, Tamil Nadu to south-east, Malappuram to south, Kozhikode to south-west and Kannur to north-west. Pulpally in Wayanad boasts of the only Lava Kusha Temple in Kerala and Vythiri has the only mirror temple in Kerala which is a Jain temple. The edicts and caves of Ambukuthi Mala and other evidences states that the place is as old as the beginning of the New Age Civilisation.
|Climate data for Kerala|
|Average high °C (°F)||30
|Average low °C (°F)||22
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||8.7
|Source: 2001 & 2011 Censuses of India|
|Source: 2011 Census of India|
Places adjacent to Kerala
State of Kerala