The name Kerala comes from the name “kera” meaning coconut tree and “alam” meaning land. It could also have come from the word “chera” “alam” meaning land of the Cheras - a dynasty ruling this place many years back. People living in Kerala are called Malayalis and the state traces its roots back to 3rd Century BC when the great emperor Ashoka the Great referred to the land where Kerala rests today as Keralaputra. The Roman trade map also refers to the land as Cerobothra. Spreading over fourteen districts, Kerala - God’s own country comprises of the cities like Alappuzha - the Backwater Country, Ernakulam - the Commerical Capital, Pathanamthitta - The Pilgrim Spot, Idukki - The Green Paradise, Thiruvananthapuram - The Capital of Kerala and Thrissur - The Cultural Capital of Kerala. After the Indian independence in 1947, Travancore and Cochin were joined to form the State of Travancore Cochin in 1949 and the Madras Presidency became the Madras State in 1950. In 1956, the State of Kerala was formed merging Malabar, Travancore Cochin State and Kasargod and South Kanara. Thus the culture in Kerala is a mixture of Tamil and Malayalam. With the native art “koodiyattam” forming a main form of art, Kerala also is the home to dance forms like Kathakali, Mohiniattam, Theyyam etc. The Syrian Christians of Kerala perform the Margam Kali a form of round group dance. Carnatic Music, and Chenda are other art forms prevalent in Kerala. King Marthanda Varma and Swathi Thirunal brought about a cultural revolution in Kerala. The Malayalam era starts from 825AD. The Kerala Men wear a mundu and an angavastram put around the waists. The Kerala women wear the sari. The state emblem of Kerala is the elephant and it features in all the Government documents. Malayalam is the state language and the state is a mixture of the cultures of all types.
With its lush green surroundings, and exotic ambience,houseboats and the free flowing rivers, with its magnificent constructions, and mesmerizing waterfalls, Kerala offers to the tourist the best possible ways of creating paradise on earth. A tourist visiting Kerala would be struck by the intricate carvings and the history behind each place, the irresistible cuisine and the relaxing backwaters, the calmness of the surroundings and the extravagance of the past, the immense depth of the architecture and the powerful heroes of the past. As the trees sway into the tourist’s life, and the river ebbs away all fatigue, Kerala is a place to reckon with in the tourist map of India without fail. The mist, the streams, the sky and the terrain all beckon the tourist to come for over and to enjoy, seep in and breathe in the ambience of a heavenly land - Welcome to Kerala - the Paradise on Earth.