Kerala, a state on India’s south-west tropical Malabar Coast, has nearly 600km of Arabian Sea shoreline. It’s known for its palm-lined beaches and backwaters, a network of canals.
Inland are the Western Ghats, mountains whose slopes support tea, coffee and spice plantations as well as wildlife. National parks and other sanctuaries, are home to elephants, langur monkeys and tigers.
Kochi, also known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, was an important spice trading centre on the west coast of India from the 14th century onward, and maintained a trade network with Arab merchants from the pre-Islamic era.
Occupied by the Portuguese in 1503, Kochi was the first of the European colonies in colonial India. It remained the main seat of Portuguese India until 1530, when Goa was chosen instead.
The city was later occupied by the Dutch and the British, with the Kingdom of Cochin becoming a princely state.
Kochi ranks first in the total number of international and domestic tourist arrivals in Kerala.
Kochi has been ranked the sixth best tourist destination in India according to a survey conducted by the Nielsen Company on behalf of the Outlook Traveller magazine.
Kochi was one of the 28 Indian cities found to be among the emerging 440 global cities that will contribute 50% of the world GDP by the year 2025, in a 2011 study done by the McKinsey Global Institute.
Kathakali is a “story play” genre of art, but one distinguished by its elaborately colorful make-up, costumes and face masks wearing actor-dancers, who have traditionally been all males. Kathakali primarily developed as a Hindu performance art in the Malayalam-speaking Kerala).
Kerala is also famous for its full body ayurveda massage, with ayurvedic oil from neck to toe for coordination of nerves and stimulation of mind, body and soul. They also use some special techniques to energise the chakras which supposedly provides total relaxation and easy functioning of organs.
From historic times, Kerala has also been recognised and sought after as The Spice Capital of The World. Travellers around the world journeyed here to trade the spices. It is believed that the spice trade dates back to 3000 years.