- GENERAL INFORMATION
- ECONOMY & AGRICULTURE
- FLORA AND FAUNA
With the Arabian Sea in the west, the Western Ghats towering 500-2700 ms in the east and networked by 44 rivers, Kerala enjoys unique geographical features that have made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Asia. An equable climate. A long shoreline with serene beaches. Tranquil stretches of emerald backwaters. Lush hill stations and exotic wildlife. Waterfalls. Sprawling plantations and paddy fields. Ayurvedic health holidays. Enchanting art forms. Magical festivals. Historic and cultural monuments. An exotic cuisine… All of which offer you a unique experience. And what’s more, each of these charming destinations is only a two hour drive from the other. A singular advantage no other destination offers.
Compared to other Indian states, Kerala lies closer to the equator. Yet Kerala is bestowed with a pleasant and equable climate through out the year. This is because of the land’s nearness to the sea and the presence of the fort like Western Ghats on the east. The temperature in Kerala normally ranges from 28° to 32° C on the plains but drops to about 20° C in the highlands. The Highlands of Kerala, which is an area of major tourist attraction, enjoys a cool and invigorating climate the year-round . Owing to its diversity in geographical features, the climatic condition in Kerala is diverse. It can be divided into 4 seasons – Winter, Summer, South-West Monsoon and North-East Monsoon. Winter in Kerala starts with the end of the northeast monsoons i.e. from the later part of November lasting till the middle of February. Winter season in Kerala witnesses the lowest amount of rainfall. Towards the end of February temperature starts climbing and this marks the beginning of summer in Kerala. Starting from March, summer season continues till the end of May or the beginning of June and is concluded with the outset of monsoons.
Southwest monsoon is the main rainy season in Kerala. This season begins by the end of May or early June with the outset of the southwest monsoon winds. North East Monsoon in Kerala also known as the Retreating Monsoon or the Reverse monsoons, northeast monsoon hits Kerala during the return of the southwest monsoon winds. These rains are in the months of October and November and sometimes lasts till December. Average rainfall is 450 – 500mm
Nearly half of its population has agriculture as its primary source of livelihood and agriculture in Kerala is characterized predominantly by cash crops. Kerala is a major producer of coconut, rubber, pepper, cardamom, ginger, banana, cocoa, cashew, arecanut, coffee and tea. Kerala is also engaged in the cultivation of spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. Kerala accounts for 92 per cent of the rubber, 70 per cent of coconut, 60 per cent of tapioca and almost 100 per cent of lemon grass oil produced in the country. Agriculture in Kerala has the distinction of having the highest gross income per net cropped area. Fisheries contribute about 3% to the total economy of the state. The natural landforms of the state endow Kerala with a huge output of marine and freshwater fish haul each year. forestry and wildlife plays a major role in the state’s economy. The revenue earned from export of herbs and herbal byproducts such as oils, hides of animals such as the jaguar, fox, elephant etc., tree barks, natural incense, scents, ivory, sandalwood, teakwood, rosewood etc contribute as a major foreign exchange earner. Tourism in Kerala is the livelihood of over 7 lakh people.
Most of the biodiversity is concentrated and protected in the Western Ghats. Out of the 4,000 flowering plant species 900 species are medicinal plants.Forest trees can be broadly classified as timber trees and flower trees. Teak tree, rosewood and ebony are the most important in the first category. Among the flowering trees, the more important are the Barringtonia and varieties of Bauhinia and Hibiscus. Jack Fruit Tree and mango tree are found almost in all the regions of the state. Other plants include bamboo, wild black pepper, wild cardamom, the calamus rattan palm, and aromatic vetiver grass.
Kerala’s fauna are notable for their diversity and high rates of endemism: it includes 102 species of mammals (56 of which are endemic), 476 species of birds, 202 species of freshwater fishes, 169 species of reptiles (139 of them endemic), and 89 species of amphibians (86 endemic). Indian Elephant, Bengal Tiger, Indian Leopard, Nilgiri Tahr, Common Palm Civet, and Grizzled Giant Squirrel are found in the forests. Reptiles include the King Cobra, viper, python, and Mugger Crocodile. Kerala’s birds include legion—Malabar Trogon, the Great Hornbill, Kerala Laughingthrush, Darter, Southern Hill Myna and several emblematic species. In lakes, wetlands, and waterways, fish such as kadu; stinging catfish and Choottachi; Orange chromide—Etroplus maculatus are found.
The culture of Kerala is a synthesis of Aryan and Dravidian cultures, developed and mixed for centuries, under influences from other parts of India and abroadKerala has a unique record in India for the harmonious coexistence of diverse religions. Hindus, Christians and Muslims are the major religious communities of the state, although a small population of Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jews and some others are also present. 56% of Kerala residents are Hindus, 24% are Muslims, 19% are Christians