Why Kerala is a major tourist attraction
The reason for Kerala's increasing popularity as a tourist destination is because you are surrounded by nature at its beautiful best. Superb mountain resorts or hill stations, are situated on the mountain range which border Kerala, known as the Western Ghats. Some of the best beaches in India are situated along the long coast line of Kerala. Kerala Beaches, Kerala Backwaters, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Kerala festivals, Kerala Martial Arts, Kerala Ayurveda Treatment, Kerala herbal medicines and Kerala Spices are renowned throughout the world. Kerala food has to be tasted to know what one was missing.
Kerala hit world headlines as one of the best tourist spots in the world when the October, 1999 National Geographic Traveller Magazine chose Kerala as "One of the ten Paradises of the world". The National Geographic Magazine also included Kerala in their List of "50 of the world's top destinations: places that every curious traveller should visit in a lifetime".
Apart from the super natural beauty of Kerala, it is also the people of Kerala who are so friendly and helpful that the Tourists simply love going to Kerala. Almost everyone in Kerala is educated and can speak English, thus communicating with the people of Kerala is very easy for tourists. Women in Kerala have equal rights and Kerala girls are not shy nor unapproachable like in other parts of India. Thus the very attitude of the general public in Kerala makes the tourists feel at home and welcome. This is a great feeling, which when combined with the stunning natural beauty of Kerala State, makes the tourist really relaxed and happy that they chose to come Kerala.
Other travel magazines to pour praise on Kerala as a super tourist destination are 'Travel and Leisure' magazine which named Kerala as "One of the 100 great trips for the 21st century" or Time Magazine to say "Afoot and Afloat - Kerala is Worth the Journey". The article The Enigma of Kerala by Bill McKibben an author who writes articles in the National Geographic Magazine, gives reasons why Kerala is the best tourist spot in India. More recently The Washington post in article dated March 8, 2014 by Davin O'Dwyer says
"As grandiose slogans go, Kerala has one of the best: “God’s Own Country,” they call it, an assertion of divine provenance that’s loudly proclaimed on countless signposts and bumper stickers across the state. In most corners of the planet, such a boast would sound unbearably self-satisfied, tourist-oriented branding at its tritest.
But here in this prosperous state on the southwest coast of India, it doesn’t sound smug so much as sincere, precise even. "Rest your eyes on our natural splendor," it seems to say, "and believe."
The phrase invokes the stunning natural beauty for which Kerala is renowned, of course, but also alludes to the variety of faiths that thrive here: The coexistence of Hindus, Muslims, Christians and even some Jains is apparent in the busy juxtaposition of towers, minarets and spires that sit cheek by jowl in every city, town and village. If for no other reason, the state can lay claim to the title of "God’s Own Country" because there are so many gods who might be inclined to choose it as their own....."
Where is Kerala in India
Kerala lies on the Western coast of South India and is a narrow strip of land. Kerala has long sandy beaches along its coastline along the Arabian Sea. On the Eastern side of Kerala is a beautiful mountain range known as the Western Ghats. The Western Ghats are full of forests and tea and rubber plantations. In the middle of Kerala lies a long stretches of lakes called the Kerala Backwaters.
History of Kerala
Kerala on the West coast of South India, was known as the Malabar Coast from early times and was the most sought after destination by the ancient traders for its rich Spices and Ivory (elephant tusks). Muziris was the main sea port in Kerala in those ancient days. 'Muziris' was the name referred to in ancient Roman & Greek writings. There is evidence of Kerala having a thriving trade with foreigners from 3000BC.
Even before the time of Jesus, traders from King Solomon's kingdom came to Muziris in Kerala regularly by sea, to trade and barter for ivory and spices. Many of these Jews who came by sailing ships settled in Kerala taking local wives and from those early times sprang up a Jewish community in and around Muziris and Pattanam, the ancient ports of Kerala.
The Jewish community in Kerala are now referred to as Cochini Jews or Cochin Jews and sometimes as Malayali Jews. Ancient Greeks and Romans sailed to the port of Muziris in Kerala to barter trade for the precious Kerala Pepper which was many times more expensive than gold in Europe in those days.
During the middle ages the Europeans fell in love with the taste of Black Pepper and it became one of the most expensive commodities in Europe. Pepper became more expensive than gold. Whatever little pepper that reached Europe before the 15th century came by land routes through Arab traders. So finding a sea route to India became a priority for Europe in the Middle Ages. Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama commanded the first fleet of ships to sail to India directly from Europe. Vasco da Gama set foot in India on the Kappad beach near Calicut in Kerala on 20th May 1498.
All major Religions reached India through Kerala
All the major religions of the world first came to India through the Shores of Kerala. Kerala witnessed the arrival of three religions into India through its ancient port Muziris and Pattanam, now called Kodungallur. The first Jewish settlements in India were in Kerala established in 961 BC at the time of the rule of King Solomon in Israel. Christianity came first to Kerala with the arrival of an Apostle of Jesus, St. Thomas (Doubting Thomas) in 52 AD and the first Christian Church in India was established by the Apostle. Islam came to the shores of India through Kerala in 629 AD and the first Islamic Mosque in India, Cheraman Juma Masjid, was built here. It is believed that the cosmopolitan and gentle traits of the Keralite people stems from these early encounters with foreigners.
Why American natives called Red Indians
Ever wondered why the natives in America are called 'Red Indians'? According to the popular story doing the rounds, Kerala had a big part in the American Natives being called Red Indians.
During the 15 and 16th centuries there was great rivalry between Portugal and Spain, the leading seafaring Nations of the time. Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama succeeded in finding a sea route to India and thus gained access to the black gold of Kerala - Black Pepper.
Spain also wanted to find a sea route to Kerala. They could not go the same route as the Portuguese, since the Pope in Vatican, who was a mediator between these two Catholic Nations, set these rules.
Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus (31 October 1451 – 20 May 1506) thought that the earth was much smaller than it actually is, and thought that he could reach Kerala Malabar Coast in India by a shorter route, by sailing round the world in the opposite way. He reached the Americas, but he thought he was in India. He was surprised to see the complexion of the local people was brownish red rather than the black people he expected to find, so he called them "Red Indians!!" So America was discovered thanks to Kerala!! and that is why called Red Indians.
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