Kerala - God's Own Country

Kerala Backwaters

Kerala's backwaters is the highlight of Kerala Tourism . The palm-fringed, tranquil backwaters were once just the state's trade highways. "Kerala is her backwaters and lakes". They have dictated her history, shaped her present and promise a future by virtue of offering incomparable beauty and unique experiences.
It's an intricate network of innumerable lagoons, lakes, canals, estuaries and the deltas of forty-four rivers that drain into the Arabian Sea. Over 900 km of this labyrinthine waterworld is navigable. The largest backwater stretch in Kerala is the Vembanad lake which flows through three districts and opens out into the sea at the Kochi port.
The most interesting area in the kerala backwaters is the Kuttanad region, called the rice bowl of Kerala. The area is probably the only place in the continent where farming is done below sea level, using a system of dykes and bunds.The Ashtamudi Lake has eight 'arms' covering a major portion of Kollam district in the south, and is the second largest lake in the state.


Kerala's palm-fringed backwaters are inland lakes connected by a network of canals. With 41 west-flowing rivers, the backwaters stretch to almost 1,900 kilometers. The backwater routes date back over the centuries and have been long used for all transportation needs, in particular trade in coconut, rubber, rice and spices. Today, these waterways link remote villages and islands to the mainland and nerve centers of the coastal area.
Alappuzha is one of the major centers for backwater boat trips. The intricate network of canals through this town has earned it the sobriquet "The Venice of the East". Small but long country boats are the taxies of the water. The coir workers present an interesting sight as they soak coconut fiber in pools, beat them and wind the strands on long spindles stretched between an endless lines of coconut trees.

A short distance from Thiruvananthapuram is the Veli Aakulam lagoon. Water sports, a floating restaurant, an amusement park, speedboats and other facilities make this spot a tourist attraction. The east end of the lake is flanked by two scenic hillocks.
The charming old port city of Kollam on the banks of the Ashtamudi Lake is known as the center of the cashew industry. It is one of the oldest ports of the backwaters, with the ferry to Alappuzha taking more than 8 hours. A small village 12 kilometer west of Kottayam town, on the banks of the beautiful Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is 14-acre bird sanctuary known for local varieties of water fowl, cuckoo, water ducks, and migrating Siberian storks. The best months to visit it are June-August. Just 80 kilometres from Cochin, this area has unique kettuvalloms (houseboats), boat racing, motorboat and water sport facilities. The houseboats, plied by local oarsmen, are simply furnished with a living room, bedroom with attached bath and a raised central deck for lazing on cushions while watching the world go by.


In north Kerala, the cool backwaters of Kozhikode lie waiting to be explored. This old commercial town attracts travelers for its history, wonderful backwaters and leisure sports.
Famous for its natural harbor, one of the best in the world, Kochi has earned the sobriquet "Queen of the Arabian Sea". All the islands that make up Kochi are well connected by ferry. The Chinese fishing nets, a method of fishing established in Kochi during the times of Kubla Khan line the waterfront.
Alumkadavu, in the town of Karunagapally hardly 20 kilometers north of Kollam, is where kettuvalloms are built. These huge, long and tapering barges were traditionally used to carry tones of goods, with a portion covered with bamboo and coir servicing as a rest room and kitchen for the crew. Gliding down the calm and serene backwaters in a kettuvallom, embraced by green leaves and palm, see a rural Kerala preserved through the ages, completely hidden from the road, and it is not surprising that this is called God's Own Country.

In the monsoon months, the backwaters reverberate with the sound of the traditional snake boat races, featuring the 130-feet-long chundan boats. Up to 16 of them, with over a hundred rowers each, compete for the honors during the races. The most important of these races is the Nehru Trophy Boat Race held on the second Saturday of August. The Aranmula Boat Festival of the Parthasarathy temple of Aranmula on the banks of the holy river Pamba is the more traditional race. The boat carnival starts on the day of Thiruonam, the most auspicious day of the Kerala festival, Onam.
Apart from these backwaters, other equally beautiful water bodies elsewhere are Veli (in South Kerala), Kadinamkulam, Edava, Anjengo, Madayara, Peravur, Ashtamudi, Kayamkulam, Kodungalur, Chetuva and Valiyaparamba (in North Kerala).

KERALA ART AND CULTURE - PERFORMING ARTS, RITUAL ARTS CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS

Kodungalloor Bharani -
...the largest congregation of Velichappadu (oracles)...
Christmas celebrations -
...an occasion for family reunion, feast and picnics...
Handicrafts exhibition -
...see the artists at work. So many curios, wooden sculptures, jewel boxes....
Patayani Kolam -
...interesting is to watch the villagers effortlessly making the Kolam or the mask worn by the Patayani performers....
Bolghatty Island, Ernakulam district -
..serene backwaters, an enchanting cruise and an old Dutch Palace
Edakkal Caves, Wayanad district -
...ancient stone scripts, cave drawings and pictorial wall inscriptions of human and animal figures...
Pookkot Lake, Wayanad district -
...a natural fresh water lake on the Western Ghats... the only one of its kind in Kerala...
Kootiyattam -
a ritual art form ...the earliest classical dramatic art form of Kerala. Based on Bharatha's 'Natyasasthra' ....
Kuttanad -
...vast expanse of water-logged land lying below sea level.
Ambalavayal Heritage Museum, Wayanad district -
...one of Kerala's largest collection of articles dating far back into the 2nd century A.D.
Kathi Thayambaka -
...maestro uses a knife (Kathi) instead of a mallet to create music on a native orchestra Chenda (drum).
Kathakali -
the classical dance form of Kerala The 70 year old doyen Sri.Ramankutty Nair demonstrates the mudras and movements in Kathakali.
Thirunelli, Wayanad district -
... in the idyllic backdrop of the Brahmagiri hills...noted for its scenic beauty, the Papanasini spring and the Vishnu temple.
Ship building industry at Beypore, Kozhikode district -
...shows the last great 'Uru' of the millennium which is ready for launch at the Beypore port.
Perumkaliyattom -
a rare event ...an effort to keep an age-old ritual alive... this is a grand exhibition of Theyyam spectacles held once in 25 years.
Pakshipathalam, Wayanad district -
...at a 1740 m above sea level, the virgin forests, rivulets and steep hills is the home for large population of birds.
Bekal, Kasaragod district -
...the largest and best preserved fort in the whole of Kerala... shaped like a giant keyhole is girded by a splendid beach.
Chittur Konganpada -
A festival that combines religion, mythology and history ... it commemorates the victory of the Chittur Nairs during 918 AD.
Palm Sunday -
A ceremonial procession around the church, with devotees holding the palm leaves and singing hosanna.
Vanaprastham -
a film screened at Cannes Film Festival ...Shaji uses the fascinating world of Kathakali, to present the theme - identity crisis in mid-life.
Pavaratti Perunnal -
...the annual feast of St. Joseph at PavarattiChurch, Thrissur district, held every year on April 24 and 25.
Thrissur Pooram -
...most spectacular temple festival of Kerala...caparisoned elephants, changing of colourful parasols, fireworks display...
Feast at Edathua St.George's Church, Alappuzha -
... the statue of St.George, decked in gold, was carried out in procession and placed on the dais at the centre of the Basilica...
Poorakkali -
...a ritual dance performed by men during the nine day Pooram festival in Bhagavathy temples, across northern Kerala.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Thekkady, Idukki district -
...killing is no crime here... only the fittest survive. The video shows a successful but tragic hunting scene.
Palaruvi, Kollam district -
...one of the fine waterfalls cascading down a height of 300 feet The journey to is through the dense tropical forest ...
Elephant, the king of animals in Kerala -
... loved, revered, groomed and given a prestigious place in the state's culturescape.
Pavakkathakali -
...a generation of puppets resembling the Kathakali characters... the folk art form gained popularity by door to door performances.
Chaakara -
a phenomenon unique to the shores of Kerala ... the richest piscean harvest..a mud bank with apparently no waves that traps great quantities of shrimp and other fishes
Kummattikkali -
a mask dance in the north Kerala ... with painted wooden masks and sporting sprigs of leaves and grass the dancers go dancing from house to house.
Kalamezhuthu pattu -
...a unique powder drawing on floor ...it is a ritual art performed to worship and propitiate gods...
Nokkuvidya -
a rare form of native puppetry ...the puppets are made to stand and move on a stick balanced on the face of the performer...demands years of practice, skill...
Ayyappan theeyattu -
a ritual dance ...towards the end the performers reach a state of trance and make statements supposed to be revealed to them by the deity.
Chakyarkoothu -
one of the oldest classical arts of Kerala ....a fine blend of social satire, mime and comedy, and is usually presented in the traditional temple theatre - Koothambalam.
Karkkidakavavu bali -
... a ritual performed on new moon day of the Malayalam month Karkkidakom to propitiate the souls of the ancestors.
Maramadi at Anandhapalli village, Pathanamthitta district -
... ox race held in the villages of Kerala during the harvest season...on vast stretches of freshly ploughed paddy fields.
Athachamayam -
a royal procession ...marks the beginning of the ten-day Onam festival in Kerala... is an occasion to witness almost all the folk art forms of Kerala.
Aranmula Vallomkali, Pathanamthitta district -
...a water regatta a retracing the ritualistic journey undertaken to the Aranmula temple in days gone by.
Manarkad Perunnal at St.Mary's Church, Kottayam district -
... the feast of immaculate conception celebrated by the Christian community of Kerala from 1st to 8th September.
Uroos at Beemappalli, Thiruvananthapouram district -
The annual ten-day festival held in memory of Sayyidhathunisa Beema Beevi and her son who are laid to rest here.
Nelliyampathy, Palakkad district -
A geographic paradise on the Western Ghats... breathtaking view of the mountain pass, waterfalls, dense forests, trekking...
Parichamuttukali -
a martial art form Performed by the Christians in north and central Kerala ...Origin traced back to ancient days when Kalarippayattu was in vogue.
Arjuna nritham -
the dance of Arjuna A ritual art prevalent in temples of Kerala to propitiated goddess Bhadrakaali by a devotional presentation.
Ananthapura LakeTemple, Kumbala, Kasaragod district -
...an ancient lake temple on a remote rocky hill in a calm isolated region...offers a bird's eye view of the green landscape around.
Mattuppetty Lake, Idukki district -
...a calm, tranquil waters ideal for boat cruise... at an altitude of 1700 m above sea level, lies along 13 km.
Chuvanna thadi in Kathakali -
..make-up is of great importance as each speaks on itself a lot on the identity, character and class of the character presented.
Munnar, Idukki district -
A charming hill station with unending expanses of tea gardens... was the summer resort of most European settlers for centuries.
Chandragiri Fort, Kasaragod district -
...ruins of the 17th century fort on the banks of Chandragiri river...a place of great importance to history students.
Arattu, Thiruvananthapuram district -
...some awe inspiring moments of the Arattu ritual held as part of the festival at Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
Ottanthullal -
a performing art form of Kerala ...distinct for its simplicity of presentation, wit, and humour... follows the classical principles of Natyasasthra.
Kathakali Training -
...an exacting schedule of separate exercises for the eyes, eyebrows, eyelids, iris, cheeks, nose, jaws, lower lip, tongue...
Ormapperunnal, Parumala Church, Pathanamthitta district -
...the annual commemorative feast of the declared saint of the Malankara Orthodox Church,Kerala, Mar Gregorios Metropolitan
Kathakali make-up -
It takes three to four hours to complete the make-up which is done in stages, and varies with the complexity of the costume.
Yakshagana Puppetry -
...a parallel tradition of Yakshagana, the classical dance-drama prevalent in Kasaragod regions...
Muniyara, Idukki -
... has remnants of Dolmenoid (burial chambers) cists belonging to the Megalithic age.
'Paramparya' the Ashtamudi arts and crafts festival -
...a curtain raiser to the treasure trove of the arts and crafts tradition of India held on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake, Kollam.
Gramam, the Kerala Village Fair -
...a ten-day celebration of ethnic and traditional Kerala where an entire village is recreated at the Kovalam beach and at Kochi.
Parunthattom -
a ritual folk art ..an ancient ritual folk art prevalent in the erstwhile Central Travancore region which takes themes from folklores.
Chathurmukha Basti, Kasaragod -
A Jain temple, dedicated to Vardhamana Mahaveera, with four idols of the deity facing four directions in the sanctum sanctorum.
Health Tourism -
Ayurvedic Rejuvenation Holidays ...based on the ancient natural regimens of India, these therapies help tourists overcome the stress of modern day living.
Manjinikkara Perunnal, Pathanamthitta -
...the annual festival of the Manjinikkara Church where the mortal remains of Mar Ignatius Elias III, are preserved.
Attukal Pongala, Thiruvananthapuram -
A ritual performed only by women regardless of caste, creed and colour at Attukal Bhagavathy Temple.
Kalpathy Ratholsavam at Vishwanatha Temple, Palakkad -
...a week-long annual festival the shrine where thousands of devotees who haul the huge temple chariots through the streets.
The ritual of Nadayiruthal -
...a votive offering of elephants to the deity of a temple. These elephants are dedicated to the service of the deity.
Paripally Gajamela, Thiruvananthapuram -
...the highlights of the mega elephant pageant held as part of the annual festival at the Kodimootil Sree Bhadrakaali Temple.
Sivarathri Mahotsavom -
highlights of the procession ...the ritual procession where the image of the deity is carried by a caparisoned elephant accompanied by Kavadies etc.
Seethankanthullal -
..one of the three divisions of Thullal....it is rendered with such skill as to hold the spectator spell bound..
Malik Deenar Great Juma Masjid, Kasargod -
advent of Islam in India is closely associated with the history of the Kasaragod Malik Deenar Great Juma Masjid which is ...
Yakshaganam -
...still forms an integral part of the cultural programmes presented during temple festivals in the Kasaragod region.
Mohiniyattom -
Slow, graceful, swaying movements of the body, highly emotive eye and hand gestures are unique to this dance form.
Valiyaparamba, -
A serene backwater Destination .. is fast turning into a much favoured backwater resort that offers enchanting boat cruises.
Patayani -
A ritual folk art .... is a symbolic enactment the victory march of Goddess Kaali over the demon Darika... accociated with festivals in certain temples of south Kerala.
The wild and the beautiful -Ranipuram, Kasargod -
...Covered with evergreen shola woods, monsoon forests and grasslands, this beautiful land is known for its trekking trails...
Thalankara thoppy -
caps worn by muslims ... expensive with the type of thread used and the complexity of the work. The designs for the thread work are drawn straight onto the cloth.
The best of beaches - Kovalam, Trivandrum -
An internationally renowned beach resort, Kovalam has been a favourite haunt of tourists for decades. Kovalam consists of three crescent beaches...
Cascade of Rapture - Thommankuthu waterfalls -
Situated about 20 km from Thodupuzha town,this splendid waterfall comes down in seven steps with a cascade and pool at each step.
Kettukazcha at Poruvazhi Malanada Temple, Adoor, Pathanamthitta. -
Kettukazcha is the procession of large and beautifully decorated motifs ofmythological characters, horses, bulls etc. A votive offering to the deity....
Athirappali Waterfalls -
Athirappalli waterfalls is one of the most sought after picnic spots in Kerala.
Houseboats of Kerala -
The houseboats of Kerala have become one of the most exciting tourism products in India
Kappad Beach, Kozhikkode -
The rock studded beach, locally known as Kappakadavu, is a well known tourist destination.
Thiruvathirakali -
Thiruvathirakali was initially a ritual dance performed by women
Art of Combat: Kalaripayattu -
the mother of all the martial art forms in the world. .. blend of physical prowess, mindset, martial techniques and indigenous medical system
Aarattupuzha Pooram -
This video shows the spectacular Aarattupuzha Pooram
Kottayam Cheriyapally -
The Kottayam Cheriyapally (small church) is one of the oldest churches in Kerala.

Kerala Hillstations


Echo Point - Munnar, Idukki
Echo Point - Munnar, Idukki is an ideal place for adventure tourism and trekking. The fresh mountain air, the mist-clad hills and panoramic view make it worthy of a visit
Ramakalmedu, Nedumkandam - Idukki
Ramakalmedu, Nedumkandam - Idukki, Rolling green hills and the fresh mountain air make Ramakalmedu and enchanting retreat. The hilltop also offers a panoramic view of the picturesque villages of Bodi and Cumbum on the eastern slope of the Western Ghats
Peermede hills, Idukki
Peermede hills, Idukki, Peeremede is a lovely hill station, an ideal retreat in the Western Ghats and a choice break for tourists en route to the Periyar Tiger Reserve.
Munnar Hills - Idukki, Kerala
Munnar Hills - Idukki, Kerala, Munnar, one of the most popular hill stations in India is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala.
Thrissanku and Peeru hills - Idukki, Kerala
Thrissanku and Peeru hills - Idukki, Kerala - A true haven for trekkers and picnickers, Peeru Hills gets its name after the Sufi saint, Peer Mohammed who spent his last days here
Rajamala Hills - Munnar, Idukki, Kerala
Rajamala Hills - Munnar, Idukki, Kerala - the famous hill station of Kerala, is the beautiful Rajamala. The natural habitat of the Nilgiri Tahr (Hemitragas hylocres), the Eravikulam - Rajamala region is now home to half the world population estimated at around 1300 - of this endangered mountain goat
Pandikuzhi Hills - Idukki, Kerala
Pandikuzhi Hills - Idukki, Kerala is a picturesque spectrum of exotic flora, fauna and gurgling streams is cradled between Chellarkovil and the Tamil Nadu border. A popular picnic spot, Pandikuzhi offers great opportunities for trekking and is a photographer's delight
Mattupetty Hills - Idukki, Kerala
Mattupetty Hills - Idukki, Kerala, Cradled by the undulating plantation hills of Munnar, and not far away from the Anamudi peak is Mattupetty. Situated in the famous hill town of Munnar, Mattupetty located 13 km from Munnar is situated at a height of 1700 m, and is a delight for nature lovers
Nelliyampathy Hills - Palakkad , Kerala
Nelliyampathy Hills - Palakkad , Kerala - Nelliyampathy hill ranges are a sight to behold. The height of the hills ranges from 467 mts to 1572 mts. To reach Nelliyampathy, one has to take the road starting from Nenmara that proceeds to the Pothundy Dam
Ponmudi Hills - Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
Ponmudi Hills - Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala - Ponmudi is an enchanting hill resort with narrow winding pathways and cool, green environs. Along with a beautiful array of mountain flowers, exotic butterflies and small rivulets, Ponmudi offers excellent opportunities for trekking
Agasthyarkoodam Hills - Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
Agasthyarkoodam Hills - Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala , Agasthyarkoodam, the spectacular peak in the Western Ghats rises to a majestic 1890 m in the form of a sharp cone. A haven of rare herbs and medicinal plants, its slopes are a breathtaking sight when they transform into colourful glades of the 'Neelakurinji', a flower which blooms only once in twelve years

Festivals of Kerala


The colorful mosaic of Kerala fairs and festivals is as diverse as the land, is an expression of the spirit of celebration, that is an essential part of the State. Observed with enthusiasm and gaiety, festivals are like gems, ornamenting the crown of Kerala tradition and culture. Round the year the fests keep Kerala life vibrant and interludes in the mundane affairs of life.
Every season turns up new festivals, each a true celebration of the bounties of nature. The festivals exhibits an eternal harmony of spirit. Packed with fun and excitement, festivals are occasions to clean and decorate houses, to get together with friends and relatives and to exchange gifts.
New attire, dance, music and ritual, all add to their joyful rhythm. It is a time for prayer, for pageantry and processions and time to rejoice. The important fairs and festivals in the state are:
Kerala Festivals

Major Kerala Festivals

Onam
Athachamayam Thrippunithara Ernakulam
Jain Festival Palakkad
Jewish Festival
Koratty Muthy's Feast
Navarathri Festival
Neelamperoor pooram Patayani
Nehru Trophy Boat Race
Oachira Kettukazhcha
Ottappalam Nercha Festival
Padayani at Nilamperoor
Pulikali During Onam Festival
Thitambu Nritham Kerala
Vallarpadam Feast and Festival
Maha Sivarathri
Thirunelli Festival Wayanad

Kerala Temple Festivals

Aranmula Uthrittathi Festival
Arattu Sree Krishnaswami Temple Ambalappuzha
Arattu Sri admanabhaswami TempleThiruvananthapuram Kerala
Ashtami at Vaikom Mahadeva Temple
Ashtami Rohini Festival Kerala
Attukal Pongala Thiruvananthapuram
Chittur Konganpada Palakkad
Deepavali Kerala
Ettumanoor Temple Festival Kottayam
Guruvayoor Festival
Haripad Temple Festival
Kanathurkavu Mahadevi Temple
Kappally Kumbham Thira
Kettukazcha Kuthirakettu Festival
Kodiyettu Thiruvarattukavu Bhagavathi Temple
Kodungalloor Bharani Utsavam
Koodal Manickam Utsavam
Kottuvallikkavu Kumbha Bharani Festival
Kumaranalloor Thrikkarthika Utsavam
Kuthiyottam and Kettukazcha Chettikulangara
Lokanarkavu Bhagavathi Temple Utsavam
Makaravillakku Festival at Sabarimala
Mannarsala Ayilliam Temple Festival Kerala
Nellikulangara Vela Bhagavathi Temple Festival
Puthari Festival Kerala
Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa's Mountain Shrine
Sharkara Bharani and Kaliyoottu
Sivagiri Mutt - Sree Narayana Guru
Sundareswara Temple Festival Kannur Kerala
Thirunakkara Temple Festival
Thiruvathira Festival Kerala India
Thrichambaram Utsavam
Thrissur Pooram Festival Kerala India
Uthra Seeveli in Thiruvalla Temple
Arattu at Varkala Janardhanaswamy Temple
Vishu Festival
Thripunithura Athachamayam
Anandappally Maramady



Kerala Church Festivals

St. Andrew's Forane Church at Arthunkal
Bharanamganam Feast
Christmas Festival Celebrations Kerala
Easter Festival Kerala India
Edappally Perunal
Edathua Perunal Festival Kerala
Kadamattom Feast
Kallooppara Perunal
Koratty Feast
Malayattur Feast
Manjinikkara Church Festival
Maramon Convention Kerala
Niranam Festival Kerala
Rakkuli Thirunal Pala Kerala
St Dominic Syrian Church Feast Aluva
St Joseph's Shrine Feast Meppadi
Thumpoly Feast Kerala Church Festival
Vettukad Festival Kerala



Kerala Masjid Festivals

Id-ul-Zuha - Bakrid
Chandanakuda Mahotsavam in Beemapalli
Cheraman Juma Masjid Kodungalloor
Malappuram Nercha Kerala
Miladi Sherif
Muharram first Month of the Islamic Calender
Ramadan The Holy Month
Veliancode Jaram Nercha Festival




Kerala Beaches
Alappuzha Beach
Nestled atop a cluster of hills at an altitude of 286m is situated Ezhimala, 55 kms from Kannur. Carved Stone Pillars, an ancient Burial chamber and an ancient Cave can be seen at the foot of the hills. The Hills are noted for rare medicinal herbs. Furthur uphill is an ancient Mosque. Fascinating Sculptured stone pillars are scattered all over the place. Bordered by the sea on three sides, Ezhimala Beach is poised to occupy a significant niche on the naval history of India when one of the largest naval academies is commissioned here. A naval academy is being developed here in Ezhimala.

Cherai Beach
Near Vypeen Island accessible by boat (30 minutes journey) from Ernakulam The lovely beach bordering the Vypeen island is ideal for swimming. The sea on the western side and the backwaters on the east give this upcoming tourist destination, a uniqueness which can be found only in Kerala. Thick coconut groves and chinese fishing nets on the waterfront are added attractions.

Valapattanam Beach
Kannur is that part of the legendary Malabar Coast where King Solomon's ships anchored to collect timber to build the 'Temple of the Lord' and to secure most needed spices. Here in the little hamlet on the banks of the river Valapattanam, is a giant of the modern timber industry - Western India Plywood Ltd., the largest wood-based industry in South East Asia.

Payyambalam Beach
2 km from Kannur town, Kannur district, north Kerala. Quiet, secluded, this beautiful stretch of sand and surf is the best locale for a relaxed evening. The Payyambalam beach is a popular picnic spot of the local people and holds much potential for development into a tourist resort.

Muzhapilangad Beach
The Muzhapilangad beach which stretches across four kilometres of sand is a drive-in beach where one can drive down the entire length. Calm and serene, the place is secluded and remains unexplored. Huge black rocks scattered here protect this long beach from the deep currents, and form a tranquil pool of shallow waters that is a swimmer's paradise. The palm groves fringing the beach is a cool hideaway from the tropical sun.

Kappil Beach
For those who prefer Thoreau to Harold Robbins, the secluded and relatively unexplored Kappil Beach should prove idyllic. This sun-drenched beach is a perfect getaway after a hectic tour of the nearby Bekal Fort, some six kms away. Adventurous souls can even ascend the nearby Kodi cliff to get a panoramic view of the Arabian Sea.

Bekal Fort Beach
Kasaragod, the northernmost district of Kerala is renowned as the land of gods, forts, rivers, hills and beautiful beaches. The imposing circular fort at Bekal is one of the largest and best preserved forts in Kerala. The beautiful expanse of the shallow beach near the Bekal fort known as Bekal Fort Beach has been developed as an exotic beach location by the Bekal Resorts Development Corporation (BRDC).

Thirumullavaram Beach
6 km north of Kollam town about a quiet day far away from the madding crowd. If that sounds like something you'd really enjoy, check out the secluded Thirumullavaram Beach, a beautiful picnic spot that has been a favourite haunt of locals and tourists alike.

Kozhikode Beach
Kozhikode, the most important region of Malabar in yesteryears, was the capital of the powerful Zamorins and also a prominent trade and commerce center. It was here at Kappad that Vasco Da Gama landed in his search for the spices of the Orient. Today the serene beaches, lush green countryside, historic sites, all combine to make this a popular tourist destination filled with a warm ambience.

Kappad Beach
About 16 km from Kozhikode town. For the people of Kozhikode, this pleasant stretch of rock studded beach is Kappakkadavu. To the tourist it is one of the most charming of Kerala's beaches. Kappad finds mention in history and geography texts as the gateway to the Malabar coast. Here, 501 years ago, 170 men led by the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama (1460-1524) sailed in and stepped into Kerala to create a new chapter in history. The story of a long and tumultuous socio-political relationship between India and Europe.

Beypore Beach
Located about 10 kms south of Kozhikode town at the mouth of the Chaliyar River, is Beypore. Historically, it has a special place as being one of the prominent ports and fishing harbours, and was also an important trade and maritime centre during the days of the early Arab and Chinese travelers and later the Europeans. Soon after its prominence as a port and trade centre, Beypore slowly began to flourish as a centre for shipbuilding, which was in great demand by merchants from Western Asia. The boat-building yard at Beypore is famous for its traditional construction of the Uru or the Arabian trading vessel. This tradition of shipbuilding is nearly 1,500 years old, and the craftsmanship of the workers here is exceptional.

Shankhumugham Beach
Just 8 km from the city, this is a favourite haunt of sunset watchers. The beach is adjacent to the Thiruvananthapuram Airport and Veli Tourist Village.An indoor recreation club, the matsya kanyaka (a gigantic, 35 m long sculpture of a mermaid) and a restaurant shaped like a starfish are some of the attractions here.

Kovalam Beach
Kovalam is an internationally renowned beach with three adjacent crescent beaches.It has been a favourite haunt of tourists,especially Europeans,since the 1930s.A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing. The leisure options at this beach are plenty and diverse-sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages,special cultural programmes, Catamaran cruising etc.The tropical sun acts so fast that one can see the faint blush of coppery tan on the skin in a matter of minutes.

Varkala Beach
Varkala, a calm and quiet hamlet, lies on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram district. It has several places of tourist interests like a beautiful beach, a 2000 year old Vishnu temple and the ashramam- 'Sivagiri Mutt' a little distance from the beach. At the serene Varkala beach is a quiet sea resort rich in mineral water springs.A dip in the holy waters at this beach is believed to purge the body of impurities and the soul of all sins. Hence the name 'Papanasam beach'.

Dharmadam Island
Dharmadam Island is a beautiful beach, located 17 kms from Kannur. The small 5-acre island covered with coconut palms and green bushes is a beautiful sight from the beach. Permission is required to enter this privately owned island. It is 100 metres away from the mainland at Dharmadam.

Moppila Bay
Moppila bay, the famous fishing harbour is situated near the St.Angelo's Fort. The beach is a natural and now a modernised fishing harbour built with assistance under the Indo Norwegian pact. The remnants of the temple & fort are still seen in Moppila bay. The bay was famous during the Kolathiri's regime as a commercial harbour that linked Kolathunadu with Lakshadweep and foreign countries, in imports.

Pathiramanal Beach
The little island of Pathiramanal, on the Backwaters is a favourite haunt of hundreds of rare migratory birds from different parts of the land. This island lies between Thaneermukkom and Kumarakom and is accessible by boat only. Surrounded by the Vembanad Lake, stretching from Alappuzha to Kochi and the Kayamkulam Lake.

Tanur Beach
The small coastal fishing town of Tanur was one of the earliest settlements of the Portuguese. It is believed that St. Francis Xavier visited the place in 1546 AD. About 3 km south of Tanur town is Keraladeshpuram Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu and believed to be one of the oldest temples in Kerala.

Thangassery Beach
Located 5 kms from Kollam town is the Thangassery Beach, which is a sea side village of historic importance. The rural settlement has the ruins of an old Portuguese Fort and churches built in the 18th century. The 144 feet high Thangaserry Lighthouse is open to visitors from 1530-1730 hours every day.

Ezhimala Beach
Nestled atop a cluster of hills at an altitude of 286m is situated Ezhimala, 55 kms from Kannur. Carved Stone Pillars, an ancient Burial chamber and an ancient Cave can be seen at the foot of the hills. The Hills are noted for rare medicinal herbs. Furthur uphill is an ancient Mosque.


Fort Kochi Beach
The Fort Kochi Beach is 12 km from Ernakulam. A fishing village originally, which became the first European township in India.

Kizhunna Ezhara Beach
11 kms from kannur, this beautiful stretch of sand is one of the most secluded beaches in kerala.

Padinharekara Beach
At the end of the tipu sultan road near poonnani, the beach offers a breathtaking view of the confluence of the bharathapuzha, the tirur puzha and the arabian sea.


Pallikere Beach
This shallow beach at pallikere offers a spectacular view of the fort and has ample facilities for recreation and relaxation.


Somatheeram Beach
15 acres of green garden terraced heights sloping down to the sandy beach stretching to the tranquil, turquoise sea changing colour and mood momentarily as the white clouds sail past over it. somatheeram bach is the perfect beach with a ayurvedic resort for all kind of ayurvedic treatments.


Vallikunnu Beach

Vallikunnu Beach resort set in the middle of a coconut grove is the main attraction of malappuram . The Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary is just a short distance away.

IDUKKI WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

Nature Photography - Idukki, once covered with some of the densest evergreen forests in India was a dream destination for nature photographers, idukki has now been seriously denuded as a result of the construction of the Idukki dam in the 60's. Subsequently, a small sanctuary came up, extending over the Thodupuzha and Udumpanchola taluks of Idukki district and spreading over 77sq km at 450 - 748m above sea level.

The Idukki reservoir formed by three dams-Cheruthoni, Idukki and Kulamavu - extending up to 33 sq. kms - forms part of this sanctuary.

For an enthusiast of Nature photography there are lots to find in idukki, Elephants, Bison, Sambhar, Deer, Wild dogs, Jungle cats, Tiger, Wild boar etc are found here, as also Jungle fowl, Myna, Laughing thrush, Black bulbul, Peafowl, Wood pecker and the King fisher

THEKKADY WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Nature Photography - Thekkady Wildlife sanctuary (also called Periyar Tiger Reserve) is a fine example of good management of nature's forests. The sanctuary, which was a game reserve, merged with the Forest Department in 1966. It was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978 under the Project Tiger scheme. In 1982 the core area of the reserve (350 sq. km.) was notified as National Park

The entire sanctuary covers hills and verdant forests extending over an area of 777 sq. km . It will be no exaggeration to say that this Park is one of the finest wildlife sanctuaries in India much to the delight of nature photographers all around the world. Here, in the crisp, cool air of the Western Ghats you will experience wilderness and abundant wildlife first hand. The uniqueness of this sanctuary is the Periyar lake, an artificial lake, which was created by damming the Periyar river a century ago.

The open grasslands are home to a magnificent variety of animals - the elephant, the bison, Gaur, Sambar deer, Barking deer, Mouse deer, Nilgiri langur, Bonnet macaque, Lion-tailed macaque leopards, Jungle cats, Wild dogs and most importantly the tiger.

An estimated 40 tigers inhabit the Reserve Other important animals are bear , Porcupine, Jackal, Indian Giant Squirrel, Malabar flying squirrel, Wild boar, small Indian Civet, Mongoose and the Pangolins. The tiger is the main predator in the Periyar Tiger Reserve.

Periyar Tiger Reserve is also rich in bird life. Birds such as Malabar Hornbill, Grey heron, Jungle fowl and Jungle Mynah are some among the 266 species of birds which can be photographed in this forest range.


THATTEKAD BIRD SANCTUARY
Nature Photography - Thattekad is a bird sanctuary developed by the untiring efforts of India's birdman Dr Salim Ali. The sanctuary is near Munnar along the lower reaches of the Western Ghats, spread over 25.16 sq. km. The sanctuary attracts nature lovers and photographers especially bird watchers in droves. Tropical evergreen forests, tropical semi-evergreen forests and tropical deciduous forests make up this sanctuary.

There are patches of grasslands too. Around 210 species of birds have been identified here so far.Indian Roller, Cuckoo, Common snipe, Crow pheasant, Jungle Nightjar, Kite, Grey Drongo, Malabar Trogon, Woodpecker, Large pied wagtail, Baya sparrow, Grey jungle fowl, Indian hill myna, Robin, Jungle babbler and darter are found here.

Crimson-throated Barbet, Bee-eater, Sun bird, Shrike, Fairy blue bird, Grey-headed fishing eagle, Blackwinged kite, Night heron, Grey heron, Common Grey Hornbill and Malabar Hornbill are some of the rarer birds which can delight people who are here for nature photography . Best season to visit is from September to March.

CHINNAR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Nature Photography - Chinnar is a unique thorny scrub forest in the rain shadow region of the Western Ghats, about 40 kms from Munnar. The Park is around 90 sq. kms in area and its rugged undulating terrain has held a special fascination for the adventure traveller. It is the second habitat for the endangered Giant Grizzled Squirrel (an endangered species) in India

The altitude varies from 500 to 2400 metres and one can sense the drastic variation in the climate and vegetation, since the gradients are quite steep and drastic.

The highest peaks are Kottakombumalai (2144 metre), Vellaikal malai (1863m) and Viriyoottu malai (1845 metre). Unlike other forests of Kerala, Chinnar gets only about 48 rainy days in a year during October - November (North - East Monsoons).

The forest types comprise thorny scrub forests, dry deciduous forests, high sholas and wet grasslands.

Elephants, Gaur, Panther, Spotted deer, Sambar, Giant Grizzled Squirrel, Hanuman monkey, Rabbit etc.can be of interest to a person looking for new avenues in nature photography in the Chinnar forests.

Ayurvedic Medicines Kerala India
Ayurveda Definition
Ayurveda is a wholistic system of medicine from India that uses a constitutional model. Its aim is to provide guidance regarding food and lifestyle so that healthy people can stay healthy and folks with health challenges can improve their health.

Things that are unique to Ayurveda:

Its recommendations will often be different for each person regarding which foods and which lifestyle they should follow in order to be completely healthy. This is due to it's use of a constitutional model. Everything in Ayurveda is validated by observation, inquiry, direct examination and knowledge derived from the ancient texts. It understands that there are energetic forces that influence nature and human beings. These forces are called the Tridoshas. Because Ayurveda sees a strong connection between the mind and the body, a huge amount of information is available regarding this relationship.

Origin
Ayurveda is an intricate system of healing that originated in India thousands of years ago. We can find historical evidence of Ayurveda in the ancient books of wisdom known as the Vedas. In the Rig Veda, over 60 preparatison were mentioned that could be used to assist an individual in overcoming various ailments. The Rig Veda was written over 6,000 years ago, but really Ayurveda has been around even longer than that. What we see is that A yurveda is more than just a medical system. It is a Science of Life. We are all part and parcel of nature. Just as the animals and plants live in harmony with nature and utilize the Laws of Nature to create health and balance within their beings, we, too, adhere to these very same principles. Therefore, it is fair to say that Ayurveda is a system that helps maintain health in a person by using the inherent principles of nature to bring the individual back i nto equilibrium with their true self. In essence Ayurveda has been in existence since the beginning of time because we have always been governed by nature's laws.

Meaning
Ayurveda is made up of two Sanskrit words: Ayu which means life and Veda which means the knowledge of. To know about life is Ayurveda. However, to fully comprehend the vast s cope of Ayurveda let us first define "Ayu" or life. According to the ancient Ayurvedic scholar Charaka, "ayu" is comprised of four essential parts. The combination of mind, body, senses and the soul.

Mind, Body, and Senses
We tend to identify most with our physical bodies; yet, in actuality, there is more to us then what meets the eye. We can see that underlying our physical structure is the mind, which not only controls our thought processes but helps assist us in carrying out day-to-day activities such as respiration, circulation, digestion and elimination. The mind and the body work in conjunction with one another to regulate our physiology. In order for the mind to act appropriately to assist the physical body, we must use our senses as information gatherers. We can think of the mind as a computer and the senses as the data which gets entered into the computer. Smell and taste are two important senses th at aid in the digestive process. When the mind registers that a particular food is entering the gastrointestinal tract, it directs the body to act accordingly by releasing various digestive enzymes. However, if we overindulge the taste buds with too much of a certain taste, such as sweet, we may find that the ability of the mind to perceive the sweet taste is impaired; and thereby the body becomes challenged in its ability to process sweet foods. Maintaining the clarity of our senses is an essential part in allowing the mind and body to integrate their functions and help in keeping us healthy and happy individuals.

Soul
Ayurveda also sees that before we exist in physical form with the help of the mind and senses that we exist in a more subtle form known as the soul. The ancient seers of India believed tha t we were comprised of a certain energetic essence that precluded the inhabitance of our physical entity. In fact, they hypothesized that we may indeed occupy many physical bodies throughout the course of time but that our underlying self or soul remains unchanged. What we see to help illustrate this concept is what transpires at the time of death. When the individual nears the time to leave the physical body, many of his/her desires will cease to be present. As the soul no longer identifies with the bod y, the desire to eat food or indulge in a particular activity that used to be a great source of satisfaction for that person drops by the wayside. In fact, many individuals have been documented to experience the sensation of being "out of their bodies."

These are just a few examples of how we are made up of these four components that we call life.
Principles Now that we have a better understanding of what comprises life, let's look at some of the principles of Ayurveda and how they might affect us.

In Ayurveda we view a person as a unique individual made up of five primary elements. The elements are ether (space), air, fire, water, and earth. Just as in nature, we too have these five elements in us. When any of these elements are present in the environment, they will in turn have an influence on us. The foods we eat and the weather are just two examples of the presence of these elements. While we are a composite of these five primar y elements, certain elements are seen to have an ability to combine to create various physiological functions. Ether and air combine to form what is known in Ayurveda as the Vata dosha. Vata governs the principle of movement and therefore can be seen as the force which directs nerve impulses, circulation, respiration, and elimination. Fire and water are the elements that combine to form the Pitta dosha. The Pitta dosha is the process of transf ormation or metabolism. The transformation of foods into nutrients that our bodies can assimilate is an example of a pitta function. Pitta is also responsible for metabolism in the organ and tissue systems as well as cellular metabolism. Finally, it is pr edominantly the water and earth elements which combine to form the Kapha dosha. Kapha is what is responsible for growth, adding structure unit by unit. Another function of the Kapha dosha is to offer protection. Cerebral-sp inal fluid protects the brain and spinal column and is a type of Kapha found in the body. Also, the mucousal lining of the stomach is another example of the Kapha dosha protecting the tissues. We are all made up of unique proportions of Vata, Pitta and Ka pha. These ratios of the doshas vary in each individual; and because of this, Ayurveda sees each person as a special mixture that accounts for our diversity.

Ayurveda gives us a model to look at each individual as a unique makeup of the three doshas and to thereby design treatment protocols that specifically address a persons health challenges. When any of the doshas ( Vata, Pitta or Kapha ) become accumulated, Ayurveda will suggest specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines to assist the individual in reducing the dosha that has become excessive. We may also suggest certain herbal supplemen ts to hasten the healing process. If toxins in the body are abundant, then a cleansing process known as Pancha Karma is recommended to eliminate these unwanted toxins.

Conclusion
This understanding that we are all unique individuals enables Ayurveda to address not only specific health concerns but also offers explanation as to why one person responds differently th an another. We hope that you will continue to explore Ayurveda to enhance your health and to gain further insights into this miracle we call life.

Kerala Ritual Arts


Theyyam
Theyyam also known as Kaaliyattam, it is a ritual dance popular in north Kerala or the erstwhile Kolathunadu

Patayani
Patayani is a week- long ritual dance, held in Kaali temples on the banks of the Pamba river during the Malayalam months of Meenam and Medam (March - April)

Poothanumthirayum
Poothanumthirayum is ritual offering to Goddess Kaali and is performed in many places of South Malabar

Paana
Paana or Pallippaana, as it is sometimes called, is a ritual art to propitiate the goddess Bhadrakaali

Mudiyettu
Mudiyettu is a ritual dance performed in some Kaali temples of Ernakulam and Kottayam districts (central Kerala)

Koothu
Koothu is a socio-religious art performed in the Koothambalam or the Koothuthara of temples, either independently or as part of Kootiyattam

Kannyarkali
Kannyarkali, also known as Desathukali, is a folk art exclusively practised by the Nair community of the Palakkad area

Kavadiyattom
Kavadiyattam, a colourful ritual art, is a votive offering to Sree Subramanya

Arjunanritham
Arjuna nritham (the dance of Arjuna) is a ritual art performed by men and is prevalent in the Bhagavathy temples of Kerala

Tholpavakoothu
Tholppavakkoothu, literally meaning 'leather puppet play', is a ritual art performed during the annual festivals in the Kaali temples of Palakkad district

Velakali
Velakali is a spectacular martial dance is performed by men in some of the temples of southern Kerala

Kalamezhuthupattu
Kalamezhuthu - kalam is a unique drawing also called dhulee chithram or powder drawing

Margomkali
Margomkali is a ritual folk art of the Syrian Christians of Kottayam and Thrissur districts

Kummattikali
Kummattikkali is a mask dance popular in some of the northern districts of Kerala

Kavadiyattom
Kavadiyattam, a colourful ritual art, is a votive offering to Sree Subramanya

Theeyattu
Theeyattu is a solo dance-drama performed in front of the Kalam or Dhooli Chitram (ritual drawing with coloured powders)

Festivals of Kerala
Sree Adi Sankaracharya Jayanthi
Sree Adi Sankaracharya Jayanthi is the birthday of the great Indian philosopher who preached the philosophy of Advaita.

Ambalappuzha Utsavam
Ambalappuzha Utsavam, Sree Krishna Temple is a glorious tribute to the Kerala style of architecture. The holy offering of delicious milk porridge 'Ambalappuzha palppayasam' is the most striking feature of the rituals at this temple.

Arattupuzha Pooram
Arattupuzha Ayyappa Temple - Arattupuzha Pooram is a mind blowing spectacle. Sixty caparisoned elephants bearing brightly coloured muthukkuda (silken parasols) and white tufts present an exotic pageant

Attuvela Mahotsavam
Attuvela Mahotsavam, Vadayar A procession of canoes carrying a huge replica of the temple. The Goddess Bhagavathy is the presiding deity in this small temple

Birth anniversary of Raja Ravi Varma
Birth anniversary of Raja Ravi Varma April 29, Birth anniversary of Raja Ravi varma the corridor walls of the palace were his canvas and charcoal his brush in early childhood

Death anniversary of the Blessed Sister Alphonsa
Death anniversary of the Blessed Sister Alphonsa

Buddha Poornima
Buddha Poornima, Bodhi tree, under which the great saint realised that 'desire was the cause of sorrow', in Bodhgaya district of Bihar then became a famous pilgrim centre.

Carnatic music
Carnatic music is the tradition of Indian classical music that developed in the southern states. It is based on fully composed musical pieces called Kritis which, like the Italian sonata, have certain well established structures that fully elaborate the raga in all its emotional and textual ramifications

Chaakara
Chaakara, Every Monsoon (June/July) a crescent shaped mud bank with apparently no waves, appears in certain places in the 270 km stretch of sea between Kozhikode and Kollam. To the fisherman this is his greatest catch

Chambakkulam Boat Race
Chambakkulam Boat Race, One of the most popular snakeboat races of Kerala, the Chambakkulam Moolam Vallomkali is conducted on the Moolam day of the Malayalam month of Mithunam (June/July).

Chettikulangara
Chettikulangara, Kayamkulam, Alappuzha District dedicated to goddess Bhagavathy is about 5 km from Kayamkulam

Church at Mannanam
Annual feast at Church at Mannanam, The St.Joseph's Monastery at this church which preserves the mortal remains of the blessed Fr. Kuriakose Elias of Chavara has become a famous pilgrim centre

Cochin International Airport Nedumbassery
Cochin International Airport Nedumbassery , Near Nedumbassery is Kalady, the birth place of Adi Sankaracharya the great Indian philosopher, and an important pilgrim and learning centre.

C V N Kalari
C V N Kalari, Kalarippayattu, considered to be the mother of all the martial art forms in the world, is a priceless asset to Kerala's heritage

Duryodhana temple
Duryodhana temple, Malanada, Kollam is dedicated to Duryodhana, the antagonist in the epic the Mahabharatham. Toddy (an alcoholic beverage extracted from the coconut palm) is the ritual offering in this temple.

Ettumanoor Mahadevar Temple
Ettumanoor Mahadevar Temple, Ettumanoor, Kottayam District, Roudra (fierce) and Vatsalya (love) are the two moods of the presiding deity, Lord Mahadeva (Lord Siva) at the Ettumanoor temple

Good Shepherd Church
Good Shepherd Church, Kottayam , feast of the Good Shepherd, the annual celebration at the church is conducted with great devotion and festivity

Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary
Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary, Malappuram

Kadammanitta Patayani
Kadammanitta is noted for the Patayani, an important ritual art performed in the premises of the Devi temple

Kalavayal, Piravam
Kalavayal, Piravam is a traditional post-harvest festival. This festival is the venue for the annual meeting of the goddesses at Edapra and Ambassery (nearby villages) believed to be sisters

Kalpathy Chariot Festival or Ratholsavam
The annual Ratholsavam or chariot festival at Sree Viswanatha Swamy temple lasts for seven days. On the last three days beautifully decorated temple chariots are ceremoniously drawn through the streets by thousands of devotees whose soul stirring chants rent the air.

Kanjiramattom Mosque
Kanjiramattom Mosque, This mosque, 25 km from Kochi, is believed to have been built as a memorial to Sheikh Fariduddin.

Kathakali Sangeetham
Kathakali Sangeetham Vocal musicians or bhagavathars standing at the corner of the stage sing, the lead singer called Ponnani bhagavathar keeps time with a resounding gong called the Chengila . He is assisted by Shankidi who plays a pair of Ilathalam (small cymbals)

Kerala Kalamandalam
Kerala Kalamandalam One of the most revered places for the traditional art forms of Kerala, the Kalamandalam is the cradle of Kathakali training in India

Kodungalloor Bhagavathy Temple
Kodungalloor Bhagavathy Temple, The Bharani festival which falls in the Malayalam month of Meenam attracts the largest congregation of Velichappadu or Oracles

Kollengode, Palakkad
Palakkad, known as the granary of Kerala, is a land of palms and paddy fields. And Kollengode enshrines the pristine beauty of rural Palakkad. The village gets its name from the blacksmith ( Kollen) community who live here.

Kondotty Nercha
Kondotty Nercha, Malappuram District The festival Valiya Nercha (The Great Vow), a week-long festival in March. Thousands of devotees attend the religious procession and fairs held during the festival.

Koodalmanikyam
Koodalmanikyam the festival which marks the end of the Hindu festival season in Kerala.

Koorkkencherry Sree Maheswara Temple
Koorkkencherry Sree Maheswara Temple, Koorkkencherry, Thrissur District, the presiding deity here is Lord Maheswara (Siva). This festival is the right venue to watch the glittering Kavadiyattom

Kottakkal Pooram
Kottakkal Pooram celebrated during mid-April. During the seven festive days, famous classical artistes of the country perform here

Kottankulangara Temple
Kottankulangara Temple, Chavara, Chamayavilakku - A rare ritual of men dressed up like damsels Often strange and colourful rituals are performed during the festivals of Kerala

Kottayam Valiyapalli
Kottayam Valiyapalli The feast at Valiyapalli (big church) attracts people from different parts of the country. The church was jointly built by the Christians of Kodungalloor and Kaduthuruthy in 1550

Kottiyur Siva Temple
An important pilgrim centre of north Kerala, the shrine dedicated to Lord Siva is often describe as the ‘Varanasi of the South’.

Kovalam Beach
Kovalam is a sheltered natural bay, its shark free waters fringed with coconut groves and miles of fine sand. And offers facilities like good accommodation to suit all budgets and a range of sea food restaurants facing the beach.

Kulathupuzha Vishu Mahotsav
Kulathupuzha Vishu Mahotsav, Lord Sastha Temple, (Sastha is another name for Lord Ayyappa), Kulathupuzha, Kollam district, south Kerala

Kummatti, Alathur
Kummatti, Alathur, On the day of the Kummatti festival about ten caparisoned elephants participate in the procession. On the previous day of Kummatti the traditional folk art Kanyarkali is performed

Kunchan Nambiar
Kunchan Nambiar the satirist is the man who made literary wit and humour understandable to the common man.

Kunnathurpadi Sree Muthappan Devasthanam
Kunnathurpadi Sree Muthappan Devasthanam, Kannur district

Lakshmana Perumal Temple
Lakshmana Perumal Temple The ninth day of the ten-day festival is the most auspicious, when a spectacular procession of caparisoned elephants is taken out.

Navarathri
Navarathri : the festival in honour of Devi the Divine mother is celebrated across the nation in September-October.

Lokanarkavu temple
Lokanarkavu temple, Vadakara, Kozhikode District is frequently alluded to in the northern ballads or the 'Vadakkanpattu' of Kerala.

Madhur Vinayaka Temple
Madhur Vinayaka Temple annual festival lasts five days. On the last day the image of the deity (Thidampu) is taken out in a procession. A display of various art forms and Yakshagana dance-drama make the festival colourful.

Manjinikkara Church
Mar Ignatius Elias III, the holy Patriarch of Antioch died at this place in 1932. His mortal remains are preserved in the church at Manjinikkara. This church has now developed into a pilgrim centre for both Indian and foreign devotees.

Mappilapattu
Literally the word Mappila refers to the Muslim community of north Kerala and Pattu means songs. The Mappilappattu is hence a song sung by this community during their religious as well as on other occasions.

Monsoon in Kerala
Monsoon in Kerala, It's much awaited, much loved and, often, much feared for the havoc it unleashes. But despite the inconveniences, the Monsoon is magic, and marks rejuvenation time in God's Own Country.

Navarathri Festivals
Navarathri : the festival in honour of Devi the Divine mother is celebrated across the nation in September-October. The most auspecious days of the festival are Durgashtami (October 5) Mahanavami (October 6) and Vijayadasami (October 8).

Nenmara Vallangi Vela
Nenmara Vallangi Vela, Nenmara Vallangi Vela is a joint invocation of the Nellikkulangara Bhagavathy, the people of Nenmara and Vallangi villages.

Nishagandhi Dance Festival
Nishagandhi Dance Festival is staged every year, from February 21 to 27. Renowned classical dancers perform at the Nishagandhi open air theatre near Kanakakkunnu Palace in Thiruvananthapuram city

Ochira Parabrahma Temple
Ochira Parabrahma Temple Oachirakkali, the annual festival at the Parabrahma temple, has a historical background and highlights the martial skills of the participants

Omalloor Vayalvanibham
Omalloor Vayalvanibham the annual cattle fair of the State, is held in the Malayalam month of Meenam (Pisces). People from all over the State and even outside participate in this rustic fair.

Omanathinkal Kidavo...
Omanathinkal Kidavo..., composed for the young prince Swathi Thirunal of the erstwhile Travancore Kingdom by the famous poet lyricist Ravi Varman Thampi

Onappattu
This folk song describes the festivities of Onam the famous harvest festival of Kerala. The folk song or nadanpattu of Kerala tell tales of the land that have never been recorded.

Ottanthullal
Ottanthullal is a classical performing arts of Kerala, Thullal is distinct for its simplicity of presentation, wit and humour. It follows the classical principles of Natyasasthra

Panchavadyam
Panchavadyam - A mesmerising native orchestra, Pancha (five) Vadyam (instrument) is an orchestra, typical of Kerala, consisting of five instruments - Maddalam, Edakka, Thimila, Ilathalam and Kombu.

Pandimelam
Pandimelam, a traditional temple music is an orchestra of four instruments - the Chenda, the Kuzhal, the Kombu and the Ilathalam, played mainly in the major temple festivals of Kerala like the Thrissur Pooram

Parumala Church
It is at this church that Mar Gregorios Metropolitan, the declared saint of the Malankara Orthodox Church in Kerala, lies in eternal rest. Devotees from all over the state attended the special rites and prayers offered as part of the commemorative feast of the saint.

Passover festival
Passover festival The Jewish Synagogue at Mattancherry, was built in 1568 AD. The synagogue still has the sacred scrolls of the Old Testament and the copper plates which recorded the grants of privilege bequeathed by the Kochi rulers to the immigrants

Songs of Patayani
Patayani Pattu - Songs, Kadammanitta, Kadalimangalam, Neelamperur and Othara in Pathanamthitta are famous for annual Patayani performances.

Pattambi Nercha
Pattambi Nercha, Pattambi, Palakkad District, held in memory of Aloor Valiya Pookunjikoya Thangal - a Muslim saint of South Malabar

Payippad and Neerettupuram vallomkali
Payippad and Neerettupuram vallomkali, Pulinkunnu vallomkali, Aranmula vallomkali

Kettukazcha at Poruvazhi Malanada Temple
Kettukazcha is the procession of large and beautifully decorated motifs of mythological characters, horses, bulls etc. A votive offering to the deity, these elegantly decorated motifs are made in a competitive spirit by the people of the various villages and localities around the shrine

Pulluvanpattu
Pulluvanpattu, is a ritual song in praise of serpent deities. In Kerala, snakes have been worshipped since ancient times. Most Hindu homes, especially the Nair tharavads have a shrine dedicated to the serpent gods in the south west corner of the compound. These shrines are called Sarpakkavu or serpent groves.

Ramayana Masam
Ramayana Masam, Ramayanamasam or 'the month of Ramayana' begins on the first day of Malayalam month Karkkidakom (July 17, 1999) and, called so because as a ritual in almost every Hindu home in Kerala the epic is read and completed within a span of 31 days.

Sivagiri Theerthadanam
Sivagiri Theerthadanam, Sivagiri Mutt is an asram founded by the great Hindu reformer Sree Narayana Guru who emphasised the gospel of 'One Caste, One Religion, One God'

Sree Narayana Guru Jayanthi
Sree Narayana Guru Jayanthi , Sree Narayana Guru (1856 - 1928) was a renowned philosopher and social reformer of modern Kerala. Social justice and universal brotherhood were the cardinal principles he preached.

Sree Padmanabha Swami Temple
Sree Padmanabha Swami Temple, Thiruvananthapuram city Pallivetta (royal hunt) and Arattu (holy bath) are part of the rituals of the festival

St. George's Church, Aruvithura
St. George's Church, Aruvithura One of the oldest churches in Kerala, it is believed that the St.George's Church was established by St. Thomas in the first century A.D. The church was reconstructed in the 16th century.

St Joseph's Church, Pavaratti
St Joseph's Church, Pavaratti, Perunnal is the feast of St. Joseph held every year on April 24 and 25 at the church in Pavaratti.

St.Thomas Day
St.Thomas Day , Christianity was brought to Kerala and thus to India by St.Thomas the Apostle in AD 52. The 3rd of July is observed in Kerala as his martyrdom day.

Swathi Sangeethotsav
Swathi Sangeethotsav A gala festival of music organised by the Government of Kerala every year in the last week of January.

Swathi Thirunal Jayanthi
Swathi Thirunal Jayanthi 30th of April is the birth anniversary of one the leading men in history of Kerala. Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma (1813 - 1847) of Travancore

Tender coconut
Tender coconut Known as elaneeru or karikku, the tender coconut is full of vitamins and nutrients and is considered a food in itself

Thali Utsavam
Thali Utsavam An important temple of the erstwhile Zamorin kingdom of Kozhikode, the Thali temple is famous for the Revathi Pattathanam, an annual competition of pedagogic skills

Thirumandhamkunnu Pooram
Thirumandhamkunnu Pooram, This annual eleven day festival is one of the major event in northern Kerala. Grand elephant processions, performance of art forms like poothamkali, nayadi, etc, form the highlights of the festival

Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple
Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple dedicated to Lord Siva is famous for the grandeur of its traditional architecture

Thirunelli Temple
Thirunelli Temple is also known as the Sahyamala Kshetram. It is believed to be more than 3000 years old. Legend has it that this temple dedicated to lord Vishnu was built by lord Brahma (The Creator) himself - an architectural marvel with 30 granite pieces supporting the shrine and the floor paved with huge square granite blocks.

Thiruvathirakali
Thiruvathirakali was initially a ritual dance performed by women, in order to attain marital bliss, on the Thiruvathira day of the Malayalam month of Dhanu (December - January).

Thiruvathirappattu
Thiruvathirappattu a song typical to Kerala, reminds of the olden days when Thiruvathira was observed as an occasion to celebrate womanhood.

Thrissur Pooram
Thrissur Pooram, Processions of majestically caparisoned elephants, changing of sequinned parasols and fireworks display

Vadakkanpattu or Northern Ballads
Vadakkanpattu or Northern Ballads of kerala tell the tales of valiant heroes of North Kerala of a bygone era, composed in verse in a pure rustic style. They extol the chivalry and valour of the Ankachekavars or warriors who waged many a famous duel. Some of these ballads have survived the passage of time in the form of work songs.

Valliyoorkkavu Bhagavathy Temple
Valliyoorkkavu Bhagavathy Temple, Mananthavadi, Wayanad District is dedicated to Goddess Bhagavathy and the annual festival is called the Arattu.

Vanchippattu
Vanchippattu, Vanchippattu (boatman's songs) are closely linked to the geography and lifestyle of Kerala

Vettakkorumakan Kavu
Vettakkorumakan Kavu, Nilambur Kovilakom, Malappuram District , This temple dedicated to Kiratha Moorthy (Lord Siva as hunter) is located in Nilambur town. Known for the famous Kalamezhuthu pattu

Vettukad Church
The ‘Madre de Deus’Church popularly known as Vettukad Church attracts thousands of devotees from all religions. The annual celebration here is called the "Feast of Christ the King".

Vishu
Vishu he first day of the Malayalam month Medam (Aries) which is the astronomical new year day when the sun crosses the equator

Martial Arts Kerala
Kalarippayatt Kerala – The Ancient Martial Arts Kalarippayattu
Kalarippayattu is composed of two of the 64art forms of ancient India namely Vijaya and Vyayma. These translated to English mean the art of winning wars and the art of exercises. It involves fast and furious movements of limbs and elaborate steps with the aim of vanquishing the enemy.

Kalarippayattu is believed to be the forerunner of all forms of martial arts prevailing in the world today. It is also the Oldest and the most comprehensive system of martial training. The origin of 'Kalaripayatt' can be traced back to the 12th century AD. Kalarippayattu is as old as the great Indian philosophy and the Vedas. It is the marital tradition of Kerala and it has its roots deep in the Vedic culture of India Literally Kalarippayatt means combat training inside a dojo or gymnasium. For the common man these martial arts provide an exhilarating method for keeping himself fit and at the same time offer some way or other to defend himself against an aggressor.

It has evolved into two distinct branches in the modern times i.e. the Vadakkan or the Northern style and the Thekkan or theSouthern style. The Northern style concentrates on Ayudhapayattu or the fight with weapons while the Southern style concentrates more on VerumKayy and the MarmmaVidya

Training in kalarippayatt is given in specially constructed ground known as the kalari and is treated as the temple of learning. Teacher is known as kalari gurukkal meaning master and is revered as the living embodiment of the long line of Guru’s. Inside the Kalari religious worship with its own rituals is done to preserve the sanctity of the place.

Kalarippayatt Training consists of rigorous physical training besides self discipline. . The training aims for the complete co-ordination of the body and mind. Weapons used are the sword, shield, dagger, spear and kuruvadi’s ( short sticks ).

Kalarippayatt Martial art is practiced with the following kind of weapons :
1) VerumKayy or bare hands

2) Vall/Churika or Sword fight

3) Vadi/Vel or Long Sticks

4) Kathi or Daggers

5) Urumi or Long Flexible spring like sword (coiled around the waist when not in use)

Another important ingredient in Kalarippayattu is the MarmmaVidya which is an intimate knowledge of pressure points of the body which can be used to cause intense pain to the opponent or even kill instantly. Kalari chikitsa or treatement in kalaripayatt includes specialized and indigenous medical preparations and methods to treat injuries caused while practicing this martial art. Only students who are devoted towards kalaripayatt and whom the gurukkal thinks trustworthy and capable of handling responsibilities are taught the methods of kalari chikilsa. The main treatement method is the uzhicil which is a system of full body oil massage used as an aid to attain greater suppleness of the body. Oil used for uzhichil is specially prepared and medicated using rare herbs.Yet another kalari chikilsa method used to treat the injuries caused on the vital regions of the human body is called marma chikilsa or vital treatment. Marma chikitsa is only performed by a person with thorough knowledge of all the vital spots of the human body and is used to treat injuries which may even lead to death.

Traditional art and dance forms of kerala like the Kathakali, koodiyattam etc have all received contributions from kalaripayat. The physical training and body massage imparted to kathakali performers are drawn from kalarippayatt.

PERFORMING ARTS OF KERALA
Kathakali
Kathakali a unique combination of literature, music, painting, acting and dance

Chavittunatakam
Chavittunatakam a Christian art form of Kerala As a theatrical art form, developed under the churches, the actors in addition to the dialogue and songs, stamp the wooden platform with their feet to the tune of music

Oppana
Oppana A dance form essential to the wedding entertainment and festivities of the Malabar Muslims

Krishanattom
Krishnanattom traditional performance lasts for eight days and covers the whole span of Krishna's life from his birth to 'Swargarohanam' or ascension to the heavens

Mohiniyattom
Mohiniyattom, Slow, graceful, swaying movements of the body and limbs and highly emotive eye and hand gestures are unique to this dance form

Kakarissi Natakam
Kakkarissi natakom is a satirical dance-drama based on the puranic legends of Lord Siva and his consort Parvati when they assumed human forms as Kakkalan and Kakkathi - a nomadic tribe of fortune tellers

Thiruvathrirakali
Thiruvathirakali also known as Kaikottikali is a dance performed by women, in order to attain everlasting marital bliss

Kolkkali
Kolkkali is a highly rhythmic dance with the dancers wielding short sticks

Kootiyattom
Kootiyattam is the earliest classical dramatic art form of Kerala Based on Sage Bharatha's Natyasasthra

Thullal
Thullal is a solo performance combining the dance and recitation of stories in verse

Duffmuttu
Duffmuttu is also known as Aravanamuttu is a group performance popular among the Muslims of Malabar

Kerala Tourism
Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Swamy Temple
The Sree Krishnaswmy temple. The temple is a very important one and visited by numerous pilgrims from all over India.
Alumkadavu Backwater
Alumkadavu is a quiet village on the banks of the Ashtamudi backwaters in Karunagappally is popular for its boat building yard.
Akkulam Boat Club
Akkulam is a backwater tourism center just ten kilometer from Thampanoor –the heart center of Thiruvananthapuram city. Akkulam backwater is an extension of the well known Veli Lake.
Adyanpara water falls at Nilampur
Adyanpara is famous for its waterfalls and the splendour of its lush jungles.
Arthunkal Church
The St. Sebastian's Church here is an important Christian pilgrim centre. Annual festival: Arthunkal Perunnal - the feast of the patron saint (January)

1 comment:

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