Kerala is one of the state in India which occupies an area of 38,863 Sq.Kms. of land curving along the Arabian Sea on the Southwest Coast of India. Population of Kerala comes nearly 30 million people, having 3.43 percent of the total population of the country. Stretching for about 590 Kms. with the width varying from 32 to 120 Kms., it is a long but narrow strip of enchanting greenery sandwiched between towering mountains and the deep blue sea. Nature has bestowed it with long beaches, mighty mountains, evergreen forests and deep backwaters. The extensive paddy fields and the luxuriant vegetation in this highly fertile land make it brilliantly green throughout. The tall, exotic coconut palm dominates the landscape. The land derived its name from ''Keram'', the coconut palm.
There is a fascinating legend on the origin of Kerala which avers that the warrior-sage Shri. Parasurama, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, reclaimed this land from the sea by throwing his battle axe into the sea.
Kerala has three geographical regions, the highlands, midlands and the low lands. The highlands or the eastern region is dominated by the Sahya Mountains or the Western Ghats with dense tropical evergreen forests, misty peaks, extensive rides and ravines. Anamudi at 2775 meters is the highest peak and Agasthyarkoodam is the second highest. Tea, Coffee, Rubber, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Oil Seeds and Sandalwood are extensively cultivated in the mountainous areas. Exotic spices have lured foreigners to the Kerala coasts from time immemorial. The midlands have undulating hills and valleys growing coconut, arecanut, banana, mango, tapioca, pepper, ginger etc. The sandy coastal region or the low lands is picturesque with extensive coconut groves, paddy fields, river deltas, backwaters and the sea.
Kerala has 44 rivers, 41 west flowing and three east flowing. The longest river is Bharathapuzha - 251 kms. long. The Periyar river is 228.5 Kms. long and the Pamba river 177Kms. long. The backwaters form a specially attractive and economically valuable feature of Kerala. There are 34 big and not so big backwaters in the state. The biggest backwater is the vembanad lake, some 200 Sq.km.in area. The deltas of the rivers interlink the backwater and provide excellent water transport facility in the low lands of Kerala.
|Climate and Rainfall|
The diversity in geographical set up is reflected in the climate as well. While the highland areas experience biting cold, the climate is pleasant in the midland areas and low land area is comparatively hot because of humidity especially in summer months. South-West monsoon, which is the major monsoon in Kerala begins sometime in June-July and continues till August-September. North-East monsoon commences in October-November. The best season in the state is from December to February, days become sunny and nights turn pleasantly cool.