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Mural paintings in Kerala date back to prehistoric times. Kayamkulam, Padmanabhapuram, and Mattanchery are the important sites of Mural Paintings in Kerala. In general, mural paintings are rare and exalted works of art in India. While many murals follow the basic characteristics of Indian art, many retain a unique individuality and exhibit the influence of Dravidian art of Kalamezuthu. Temple murals illustrate the gods of the Hindu pantheon, while church frescoes are more representational.

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Kalaripayattu is an Indian martial art form practiced in Kerala. It incorporates kicks, strikes, grappling and weaponry. Inside the kalari, an Ankathattuor battle field will be constructed temporarily where the fights and duels will be performed. Northern Travancore style gives more emphasis on the use of weaponry, while hand to hand fighting is prominent in Southern Travancore Style. Central Travancore Style is a combination of both.

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Katakali is one of the great classical dance/drama traditions in Kerala, distinguished by its elaborate costumes and make-up. It's origin can be traced back to sixteenth century. Performers undergo rigorous and lengthy training of the whole body as they convey and enact the Indian epics and puranas through facial expressions and hand gestures. Katakali performaces are popular throughout Kerala and are a popular attraction in Fort Cochin.

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Incorporating mime, dance and music, Theyyam embodies the rudiments of ancient tribal culture. It is a ritual dance form that usually depicts the triumph of a goddess over the demon Daruka and other demons. Theyyam is also known as Kaliyatto and is mainly performed in North Kerala by persons belonging to Vannan, Malayan, and other related castes.

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Wayanad's altitude varies from 700 - 2100 meters above the sea level. This district has the highest number of tribal settlements in Kerala. Wayanad is very rich in flora and fauna, with a focus on conservation and respect for the lifestyle of the tribals and others who live in and around the forest region.

Sightseeing in Wayanad includes Varambetta Mosque, Sulthan Bathery, Kalpetta, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Kuruvadweep , Pookat lake, Lakkidi, Wayanad Heritage Museum, Vythiri, Korome Mosque, Meenmutty Falls, Edakkal Caves.

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Calicut is a land of textiles and trade, with colorful bazaars and beautiful beaches. Formerly known as Kozhikode, it caters to a wide variety of tourists, from the nature and animal lover to those interested in it's history and art. The influence of the Arabs are still very much prevalent here. The Calicut district has a substantial Muslim population and, as a result, the culture here exhibits a blend of the Hindu and Muslim traditions. Exclusively Muslim art forms like the Oppana (a bridal dance) and Mappila Pattu (traditional songs praising the prophet) are practiced and kept alive here. Kozhikode today is a bustling city with a vibrant young crowd.

Sightseeing in Calicut – Beypore, Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary, Kappad Beach, Kunjali Markkar's Residence, Mishkal Masjid, Pazhassi raja museum, Mananchira.

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Kochi's eventful history began when a major flood in 1341 AD created an estuary and natural harbor. Until then, Kochi had been a land-locked region. Kochi thus became a haven for seafaring visitors from all over the world and became the first European township in India when the Portuguese settled here in the 15th century.

Sightseeing in Cochin- Fort Kochi , Bolghatty Palace, Wellingdon Island, Chinese Fishing Nets, Oberon Mall, Vyttila Town Juma Masjid.

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Munnar, one of the most popular hill stations in India, is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. Located at 1600 m above sea level, it was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture book towns, winding lanes, trekking and holiday facilities make Munnar a unique experience. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India - Anamudi , which towers over 2695 m. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking.

Sightseeing in Munnar- Echo Point , Elephant Lake -, Rajamalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Photo Point , Mattupetty Dam, Tata Tea Museum, Kundala lake etc.

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The pride of Kerela and a testimony to nature's splendor, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated on the banks of the Periyar lake - an artificial lake, at Thekkady. Here the high ranges of the Western Ghats are clothed in dense evergreen, moist deciduous forests and savannah grass lands. Below this thick green forest canopy, roam herds of elephants, sambars, tigers, gaurs, lion tailed macaques and Nilgiri langurs.

Sightseeing in Thekkady- Periyar Lake , Vandanmedu, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Boating, Kumily Juma Masjid.

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Alleppey/Alappuzha is famous for its boat races, houseboats, coir products, fish and lakes. It remains prominent on the tourist trial of Kerela as one of the major centers for backwater boat trips.

Sightseeing in Alleppey- Vembanad Lake, Karumadi Kuttan Village, Pathiramannal

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The village of Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake. This small water world is part of the Kuttanad region. The bird sanctuary here is spread across 14 acres and is a favorite haunt of migratory birds and kingfishers. Kumarakom is an ornithologist's paradise.

Sightseeing in Kumarakom- Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Kumarakom Backwaters.

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Mararikulam Beach is also known as the Marari Beach. The beach is ideal for swimming, parasailing, and surfing. A few resorts in the region provide accommodation in addition to facilities for sports like volleyball and cycling.

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Kollam is an old seaport town. It used to be a major trading point where traders from Arab countries and Portugal would meet Chinese and Indian traders. The town of Kollam sits on the beautiful Ashtamudi Lake and is surrounded by a number of backwaters, plains, hills, rivers, and streams. Kollam is well known for its cashews and fish.

Sightseeing in Kollam- Ahramom Picnic Village, Boating at Ashtamudi Lake, Excursion at Thenmala, Maruthumala, Sasthamcottah Fresh Water Lake.

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Kovalam Beach is situated 16 km south of Trivandrum and is known as one of the best beaches in India. On account of its natural location, it has a safe swimming area and is a must-see for most tourists.

Sightseeing in Kovalam- Lighthouse Beach, Hawa Beach, The Lighthouse , Kovalam Juma Masjid.

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Kodaikanal, which translates to "gift of the forest", is a beautiful hill station in the state of Tamil Nadu. Located in the Palani Hills in the Western Ghats, Kodaikanal has been known as the "princess of hill stations". At an altitude of 7200 ft, Kodaikanal is a popular honeymoon destination. It is rich with deep green valleys, waterfalls and trekking trails.

Sightseeing in Kodaikanal- Bear Shola, Berijam Lake, Bryant Park, Coaker's Walk, Green Valley View.

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Mysore, the second largest city in the state of Karnataka, is well known for its history and culture. At an altitude of 770m above sea level, the city of Mysore is at a distance of 140 km from Bangalore. The city is famous for its exquisite temples, pilgrimage centers, surrounding forests, palaces, sandalwood and silk. It is also a well-known yoga destination.

Sightseeing in Mysore- Brindavan Garden, Chamundi Hills, Mysore Palace, Mysore Zoo etc.

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Ooty is situated in the Nilgiri hills, also called the Blue Mountains, in Tamil Nadu. The hill station is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in South India. The town has some very popular tourist spots within the town's vicinity such as Ooty Botanical Garden which has a display of many popular and rare varieties of flowers, trees and shrubs.

Sightseeing in Ooty- Avalanche, Botanical Garden, Coonoor, Ooty Lake.

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A former Portuguese colony, Goa is known for its beaches, greenery, temples, world heritage sites and laid back life-style. A harmonious blend of tradition with contemporary lifestyle can be seen in the peaceful co-existance of Hindu, Christian and Muslim cultures in the state. The centuries old Portuguese influence is still evident in the grand old buildings and churches. Goa is a popular tourist destination in India.

Sightseeing in Goa- Calangute, Mapusa, Margao, Night Clubs, Panaji, Panda Town

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The Sun, Sand and Water..
Kerala has a 600 km long shoreline with some of the most charming beaches, coconut groves, natural harbors, lagoons and sheltered coves. Some of Kerala's best beaches are:

Kovalam Beach - This beach has been the favorite for tourists since the1930's. Kovalam consists of three beaches. It offers great accommodations and resorts.

Varkala Beach - It is a seaside resort and spa and as well as a Hindu pilgrimage centre. The main attraction here is the 2,000 year old Swami Janardana temple. There are also many yoga and ayuvedic resorts in Varkala.

Marari Beach - It is a beach in Alleppey District of Kerala, India. Barely 11 Kilometers from Alappuzha (Alleppey) town, this sleepy little village, called Mararikullam, is an idyllic location for a vacation.

Bekal Beach - It is a small beach located on the shores of the Arabian Sea in the Pallikare village. Home to the Bekal Fort, built by Tipu Sultan, the most well preserved and largest fort in the Kerala state.

Beypore Beach - Beypore is located about 10 kms south of Kozhikode town at the mouth of the Chaliyar River. Nearby attractions in Beypore include the fishing harbour, hardly a kilometer from the shipbuilding yard and Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary, which is about 7 kms from Beypore.

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Rejuvenate, refresh, revitalize – The Ancient Way

Ayurveda originated in India more than 10,000 years ago and is believed to be the oldest healing science in existence, from which all other systems emerged. The word Ayurveda is derived from two words; 'Ayu' which means life and 'Veda' which means knowledge of. It is not only a natural way to refresh and relax and eliminate all the toxic imbalances, but also helps combat illness.

Kerala is the "Land of Ayurveda" . Kerala is the only Indian state where Ayurveda is practiced with absolute dedication. The monsoon is considered the ideal time for rejuvenation in Kerala i.e. between June and September.

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The tranquil waterways

Backwaters are a network of lakes, canals, estuaries, and deltas of forty-four rivers that drain into the Arabian sea. The backwaters are a unique feature of Kerala and are not found in any part of the world. The canals connect the villages together and are still used for local transport. The most exciting thing on the backwaters of Kerala, however, is the 'Kettuvallom' which has become the most popular tourism product in India today.

The houseboats of Kerala are huge, slow-moving, exotic barges used for leisure trips, Kettuvallams (in the Malayalam language, Kettu means "tied with ropes", and vallam means "boat") are also considered to be a convenient mode of transport. Many find the Kettuvallom an ideal means of exploring the beauty of the Kerala backwaters. Today, the houseboats have all the comforts of a good hotel including furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, cozy living rooms, a kitchen and even a balcony for angling. Parts of the curved roof of wood or plaited palm open out to provide shade and allow uninterrupted views.

The largest backwater stretch in Kerala is the Vembanad Lake. Vembanad Lake is at the heart of Kerala Backwaters tourism, with hundreds of kettuvallams and numerous resorts nestled on its banks.

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The abode in the highlands
Kerala has a long chain of lush, mid-clad hill stations that are home to exotic wildlife. The major Hill stations of Kerala are: Munnar, Ponmudi, Neliyampathy, Wayanad, Pythal Mala, Ezhimala, Devikulama and Wagamon.

Munnar Hills - Sprawling tea plantations, picture-book towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities make this a popular resort town. It is situated in the confluence of three mountain streams – Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni & Kundala.

Ponmudi - This one-of-a-kind hill station is located in Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala, at an altitude of around 610 metres. It is also home to the highest peak in the state and also the Meenmutty Falls. Known for its rivulets, rapids and rich forest fauna, ponmudi enthralls any visitor.

Ramakalmedu - It is a seaside resort and spa and is also a Hindu pilgrimage centre. The main attraction here is the 2000 year old Swami Janardana temple. Rolling green hills and the fresh mountain air make Ramakalmedu an 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.

Vagamon - One of the most beautiful places located at the border of Idukki – Kottayam with a chain of three hills – the Thangal hill, the Murugan hill and the Kurisumala, important for Muslims, Hindus and Christians respectively. There are many fine resorts available in the surrounding areas with affordable cost for trekkers.

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A million shades of Green

Nestled in the lush forests of the Western Ghats in Kerala are 12 Wildlife sanctuaries and two National Parks. Some of the National Parks in Kerala are Peppara, Neyyar, Shenduruni, Periyar, Idduki, Chinnar and Parambikulam Wildlife sanctuary.

The main animals in these sanctuaries are E\elephants, gaur, sambar, deer, wild dogs, jungle cats, tigers, wild boars, sloth bears, leopards, lion tailed macaques, Nilgiri Tahrs, langur, malabar giant squirrel, flying squirrel, tiger,panthers, spotted deer, grizzled giant squirrels, Hanuman langurs, etc. Some of the birds seen in the sanctuaries are water fowl, cuckoo, owl, egret, heron, water duck, migratory Siberian duck, jungle fowls, mynas, laughing thrushes, black bulbuls, peafowls, woodpeckers, kingfishers, hornbill, stork, raptor, darter, cormorant etc.

Kerala is also home to the last few remaining virgin forests – The Silent Valley. With global warming and other destructive elements destroying our environment, these virgin forests are a testimony to the purity that Kerala has kept over the years. Some of the must-see sanctuaries in and around Kerala are: Periyar Tiger Reserve – Set high in the Western Ghats, it is a Project Tiger nature reserve and one of the most picturesque locations idling in the middle of the Cardamom Hills. Also known by the name of Thekkady, this place is know for it's austere serenity, calm and quiet. Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary – Covered with tropical and semi evergreen forests, the Aralam Sanctuary is home to a vast variety of flora and fauna endemic to the Western Ghats.

Herds of deer, elephant, boar and bison are common sights. Leopards, jungle cats and various types of squirrels are also seen here. This is one of the main production centers of hybrid coconut seeds in the country. Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary – An ideal destination to watch herds of wild elephants, the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary is contiguous with the protected area network of the Nagarhole National Park and the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in the neighbouring State of Karnataka and Mudumalai of Tamilnadu. This sanctuary spread over 345 sq km is rich with fauna and flora, and comes under Project Elephant. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary – It is located on the east coast of the Vembanad lake. The lake is famous for its scenic beauty and has become a major tourist attraction. It is an ornothologists paradise and home to many migratory birds. Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary – Also another favorites among bird enthusiasts, the Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary is found in the town of Vallikunnu. Be at peace with nature. An upcoming tourist destination.

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The speed, the flow, the excitement
The forests of Western ghats are punctuated with large and small waterfalls that gurgle and splash down the mountainside. The wooded forests of the Western ghats are hidden with cascading showers. The important waterfalls in Kerala are Athirapally, Vazhachal, Palaruvi & Tusharagiri.

Athirapally - It is an 800 foot high waterfalls at the entrance of the Sholayar ranges and a famous picnic spot for backpackers. The falls are very popular with tourists. Athirappally is located 78 km from Kochi, located at the entrance to Sholayar ranges, this waterfall is a popular picnic spot. Vazhachal- Vazhachal is a picturesque spot just a short drive from Athirapally and is adjacent to dense green forestland. Vazhachal is part of the Chalakkudy River.

Palaruvi - Here you can see ruins of ancient temples. The water is said to be medicated as it flows down from the forest and is said to be a preventive for many diseases.

Thusharagiri - Meaning the snow capped mountains; Thushargiri exhibits a unique kinship between the land and water. The three waterfalls on the backdrop of the Western Ghats provide an exhilarating and spellbinding sight to the visitor.

Meenmutty Falls - It is the largest and most spectacular waterfall in the Wayanad District, having a height of 300 metres, is a 2 km hike though the jungle from the main Ooty Road. It is Kerala's second largest waterfall and the one most unspoiled in its natural setting.

Soojipara - These falls are around 22 kms from Kalpetta. This is one among the many other waterfalls present in Wayanad. But Soochipara falls stands apart. A must visit place if you are in Wayanad.

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The distinction

Kerala is known for its performing arts, such as like Kathakali , Koodiyattam, and Ottamthullal Unfortunately, many of these native art forms largely play to tourists or at youth festivals, and are not as popular among ordinary Keralites.

Kerala also has its own indigenous form of martial art — Kalarippayattu, derived from the words kalari ("place", "threshing floor", or "battlefield") and payattu ("exercise" or "practice"). Influenced by both Kerala's Brahminical past and Ayurvedic medicine, kalaripayattu is attributed by oral tradition to Parasurama. After some two centuries of suppression by British colonial authorities, it is now experiencing strong comeback among Keralites while also steadily gaining worldwide attention.

There are also the festivals and celebrations that Kerala is famous for, including: Onam, Vishu, Eid, Christmas. These holidays all are celebrated with much vigor and enthusiasm. It is best to visit during one of these festivals Kerala has its own distinctive culture and traditions. Be it the mundu wearing men or the sari clad woman, everywhere you look you can find something striking. Adithi Devo Bhava, which means "Guest is God" in Sanskrit is the motto for anyone received from outside in this magnificent land. Be felt like God.

Kerala's food is also very different when compared to other states. The expansive sadhya, the weet payasam, the Kozhikodan biriyani, dosa and chutney and so many other exclusive dishes – all add a distinctive flavor to the state that Kerala is. Multi-cuisine food is also found with a wide range of options – ranging from Arabic to continental to Chinese to Thai and many many more. Restaurants and hotels catering to these different cuisines can be found all throughout the state. Let your taste buds revel.

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The season of all seasons

Kerala has a tropical climate and remains pleasant for most of the year. Kerala does not have a dry spell as the rest of India. Average temperature can vary anywhere between 20-30 degrees celsius.

The monsoons in Kerala do not take the pattern of incessant rains continuing for weeks as one finds elsewhere in India. Usually, it rains for a few hours with sunny interludes. Occasionally the rains might stretch on for a few days, but the respite of sunshine is never far away. People look forward to seeing the sun peep through the wet palm fronds and rain drenched green. Water brings life and mornings are freshened up with glistening leaves, moist ground and pleasant weather.