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Kerala Travel Guide
Kerala is a state on the tropical Malabar Coast of southwestern India. To its east and northeast, Kerala borders Tamil Nadu and Karnataka; to its west and south lie the Indian Ocean islands of Lakshadweep and the Maldives, respectively. Kerala nearly envelops Mahé, a coastal exclave of Pondicherry. Kerala is one of four states that compose the linguistic-cultural region known as South India. The principal spoken language is Malayalam, but other languages are also spoken. Kerala ranks 21st by area (about the size of the Netherlands) and 12th by population nationwide.
First settled in the 10th century BC by speakers of Proto-South Dravidian, Kerala was influenced by the Mauryan Empire. Later, the Cheran Kingdom and feudal Nair and Namboothiri Brahminical city-states became major powers in the region. Early contact with overseas lands culminated in struggles between colonial and native powers. The States Reorganization Act of 1st November 1956 elevated Kerala to statehood.
Social reforms enacted in the late 19th century by Cochin and Travancore were expanded upon by post-independence governments, making Kerala among the Third World's longest-lived, healthiest, most gender-equitable, and most literate regions. Though the state's basic human development indices are roughly equivalent to those in the developed world, the state is substantially more environmentally sustainable than Europe and North America. Nevertheless, Kerala's suicide, alcoholism, and unemployment rates rank among India's highest. A survey conducted in 2005 by Transparency International ranked Kerala as the least corrupt state in the country.
The widely disputed etymology of Kerala is a matter of conjecture. In the prevailing theory, Kerala is an imperfect Malayalam portmanteau that fuses kera ("coconut palm tree") and alam ("land" or "location"). Another theory is that the name originated from the phrase chera alam ("Land of the Chera"). Natives of Kerala, known as Keralites or Malayalees, thus refer to their land as Keralam.
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Washed by the silvery waves of the Arabian Sea, Alappuzha, the Venice of the East welcomes you to the backwaters of kerala. The Palm fringed canals and shores bustling with glimpses from the day to day life in the country side, the mirror still lagoons, picture book lakesides and its long sandy beach has blessed Alappuzha, the water locked district, to become one of the best Backwater tourism destinations in God's Own Country.
The large network of canals provide Alleppey its lifeline. Water carnivals using the gigantic snake boats and the country canoes of varying sizes have an important role in the community life of the people of the district.
The month of August holds the prime attraction to the civilians and the tourists as it is the time of the spectacular event -the Nehru Trophy Boat Race that is held on the second saturday of August every year. A cruise on an elegant houseboat offers a rare chance to view the attractive dense palm groves that are so characteristic of Kerala's landscape.
This district is also notable for its numerous pilgrimage centres that draw vast crowds on the festival days and also boasts of having some of the best ayurvedic rejuvenation centres in Kerala. This Venice of the East is also famous for its coir and carpet industries in addition to featuring many other attractions of tourist importance.
Munnar is a town located in Kerala state in the southern Western Ghats in South India. The name is often used to refer to the whole tourist area of Idukki District of which the town forms a part. Munnar panchayat of Devikulam block is the largest in the district with an area of 557 km². The name of Munnar is believed to be derived from the Tamil words Munu (three) and aaru (river), referring to the town's strategic location at the confluence of the Muthirappuzha, Chanduvarai and Kundali rivers. The area is surrounded by vast jungles and remains wet and cold during most of the year. The Mattupetty Dam is nearby. The people of Munnar share the culture and traditions of Kerala and their Tamil neighbours.