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Archive for August, 2009

Kerala Photos

Posted by mullookkaaran on August 30, 2009


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Kerala : A Piece of World History

Posted by mullookkaaran on August 29, 2009

Kerala Stands first in many respects in India and also in the World. This small States itself formed a unique piece of political history of the World. This is the first State were the Communists came into power through ballots. The Kerala State was formed in 1956, November 1. In the first general election to the State Legislative Assembly, the Communist Party of India won majority seats. An eleven-member Ministry, with EMS Namboothiripad of the Communist Party as Chief Minister, was sworn in on April 5, 1957. However, it was dismissed on July 31, 1959. The next ministry in the State was formed by a coalition front led by the Congress. Again 1967, Communists came back to power. This government was also led by EMS. The Communist Party split into two in 1964. The two factions were called the Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist).

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Religions of Kerala

Posted by mullookkaaran on August 23, 2009

Kerala is a museum of almost all religions in the world. The major religions in the State are Hinduism, Islam and Christianity.

Hinduism
The traditional religion in India was gradually transformed in to Hinduism when Sree Sankara, in the 8th century AD, established four mutts (monasteries) in various part of the country. He also interpreted the scriptures like Upanishads and Bhagavadgita and propagated the principle of Advaita (Monotheism). His birth place is Kalady in Eranakulam district. He died at age of 33.

There are various castes and sub-castes in Hinduism. Brahmins are the highest ranked community. Ambalavasis (Temple based communities), Kshathriyas (Royal communities) and Nairs (formerly Sudras) are also considered Kammalas etc. belong to the backward communities. There are more than 70 communities included in the backward list. The Scheduled Caste includes 68 varieties of communities and the scheduled Tribes 35 communities. The backward and Scheduled Communities were considered as ‘untouchables’ until recently. The reformations introduced by by Sree Narayana Guru, Chattampi Swamikal and Ayyankali helped considerably to minimize the system. Today untouchability is unconstitutional in India. According to the 2001 census there are 1,78,83,449 Hindu in Kerala.

Islam
Islam is the second largest religion (24.7%) in Kerala. The Sufi saint Malik Ibin Dinar from Arabia reached Kodungalloor (in Trichur District) in 629 AD and established the first Muslim place of worship in India. This was during the life time of prophet Muhammed. According to legends the last Chera King known as Cheraman Perumal accepting the invitation of the Prophet went to Mecca and embraced Islam. Kerala had long commercial relations with the Arabian countries which also helped the speedy propagation of Islam in Kerala. The Malabar riots from 1836 to 1921were revolts of the muslims against the British rules and Hindu landlords. Even though Muslims are spread all over the State, majority of them are in Malabar. The Muslim League of Kerala is a constituent of the United Front of Kerala lead by Indian national Congress. There was a Muslim royal dynasty known as ‘Arakal’ which existed up to the British rule in Malabar.

Christianity
Christianity is the third largest religion (19%) in Kerala. It is believed that St. Thomas, one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, came to Kodungalloor (Trichur District) in AD 521 and propagated Christianity in the region. Hence the traditional Christians in Kerala are one of the oldest Christian folks I the world. In AD 345 a group of Christians consisting of 400 persons, including many priests and a Bishop arrived at Kodungalloor and settled down there. During Portuguese occupation in the state St. Francis Xavier propagated Christanity in the coastal areas of the State and converted thousands of peoples. As a protest to te Latinaisation of the traditional Syrian Christian In Kerala, a major part of the community made an oath at Mattancery (oath of Koonan Kurisu) against the European supremacy in the church and affiliated themselves to the patriarch of the Jacobite Ortadox Church in Antique. Now there are Catholic, Jacobite, Orthadox, and Protestand Churches in Kerala. The Christian community in the State has a prominent role in education, health services and business. There was a Christian royal family known as ‘Villa Vattom’ before the arrival of Portuguese in Kerala.

Jainism and Buddhism
Early in the 3rd BC, Jainism and Buddhism reached Kerala and grew together. It is that believed that the Ayurvedic tradition of Kerala is inherited from the Buddhists. Later many of the Budhist Viharas were converted into Hindu temples. There is a view that ‘Ayyappa’ Temple of Sabarimala was a once Buddhist Vihara. After the 8th century the newly arrived Brahmins strongly opposed Buddhism & Jainism and ultimately there existence in Kerala became nominal. According to the 1991 census, there were only 223 Buddhists and 3641 Jains in Kerala.

Judaism
Even before the time of Jesus Christ, the Jews had commercial relations with Kerala. During Persian persecutions in 5th and 6th centuries BC many Jewish families migrated to Kerala as a safety measure. Most of them settled in Kochi. But there were other Jewish settlements also in different parts of Kerala, during the visit of St.Thomas in Kerala n the first century AD. With the formation of Israel in 1948, most of the Jews in Kerala opted to migrate to that country. In 1857 there were 1780 Jews in the state, but the latest figure of their population is only 115.

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Kerala: Dance and Music

Posted by mullookkaaran on August 22, 2009

KATHAKALI

Kerala has a rich heritage of art. It is the land of Kathakali, a form of dance drama. The classical dance-drama is a complete art form and unique in the world. Vivid in mudras (hand-sighns), realistic in gesture, rhythmic in movement, archaic in costumes, majestic in head gear, weird in makeup, taxanomic in music – make the Kathakali distinct. This is the only style in India in which the masculine aspect of dance is preserved in its elemental vigor. Kathakali is performed at important temple festivals and other community rejoicing. Kathakali draws its themes from the epics and mythology of India – the lives, love and conflict of Gods and supermen; the message is the victory of good over evil. Kerala Kalamandalam at Cheruthuruthi is a world acclaimed center for training in Kathakali.

THEYYAM

Theyyam is a popular ritualistic dance form of north Kerala. The word theyyam is daivam or God. Theyyam is performed with traditional rituals and costumes. The costumes used for theyyam I colorful and the makeup is done using natural colors. Theyyam begins with a thottam ( song narrating the story of the theyyam ). The unique arty is patronized by almost all castes of the Hindu Community. Villagers believe that their will being is based on the will and pleasure of the Mother goddess. So they maintain village shrines and cult spots. First part of the theyyam dance is known as vellattam, which is performed without proper makeup or decorative costumes. The full makeup or costumes and head gear reflects high sense of aesthetics. Musical instruments played are Kerala’s own. The theyyam is always performed by men and they also appear decked up as women in exotic make up and costumes, sometimes horrific and furious. Some characters wear masks. Other make up contains painted designs on the face. The costume is elaborate and resplendent. It includes big head gear, made of tender palm leaves and cloth, which may have a height of 10 meter or more.

KOODIYATTAM

Koodiyattam is also a dance-drama, and when performed by more than2000 years old. It gained the recognition of the UNESCO recently. Koodiyattam means joint-dance (koodi means jointly and attam means dance). It is performed by a particular community called Chakyar. The first phase of the performance is called Kooth and when performed by more than one person it is known as Koodiyattam. The perfect dramatic ingredients – action, dialogues, costume and passions are blended as per formal theories.

OTTANTHULLAL

Ottanthullal is a solo dance exposition. Ottam is running and thullal is dance. This is more of the nature of a one-man Ballard opera. With simplicity in a presentation, outspoken wit and humour, thullal continues to be an art form of social criticism. Though the context dealt with is epic or mythologyc, the depiction will have direct appeal to the common life of contemporary society.

MOHINIYATTAM

Mohiniyattam is an exclusive dance from of Kerala. Mohini is the charming woman and Attam is dance. As the name denotes it is a seductive dance performed by women, sensuous in appeal. Lyrical in the extreme. Its keynote is coquetry. In the rendering of this style there is enchantment, grace, delicacy and passion.

KERALA NATANAM

Kerala Natanam means Kerala dance. This is a modern dance form developed jointly by Guru Gopinath and an American lady named Ragini Devi in 1931. The four basic aspects of acting combined with musical instruments of Kerala and attractive aspects of Kathakali make Kerala natanam a unique art form. Great is the motion, sweet is the passion and attractive is the costume. The performer has to undergo four years coaching and two years stage experience. Dance training centers function in many places.

FOLK DANCES

Kerala has a remarkable heritage of folk dances – social, religious and martial. The actions, expressions, costumes, ornaments and instruments are highly appealing. There are more than fifty well known folk dance forms in Kerala. Most popular are Kolamthullal, Kaliyattam, Mudiyettu, Kolkkali, poorakkali, Velakali, Kannyarkali, Parichamuttukali, Thappukali, Kakkarasi, Kummi etc.

MUSIC

The folk music of Kerala is rich with rugged beauty, rhyme and rhythm. Some of the song are devotional like Sarppam Pattu (serpant song), Bhadrakali Pattu (Bhadrakali is a goddness) and Ayyappan Pattu (Ayyappan is a god).

Sopanam
In the classical school, Karnatic music popular in Kerala, but the distinctive style developed here is ‘Sopanam’. This is a fusion of the symphonies of the great composer of classical music, Swathi Thirunal ( King of Travancore, early 19th century) and those of great composers like irayimman thampy, Shadkala Govinda Marar etc.

INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC

Kerala has a variety of its own musical instruments – percussion, wind and string. Chenda, the Kerala drum, is a remarkable instrument. There is a saying in Malayalam that ‘all the eighteen instruments are under the chenda’. Chendamelam – the playing of chendas – is inspiring and exhilarating. It is an inevitable item in any festive occasion – social cultural and religious. Panchavadhyam, Thayampaka, Nanthurni, etc. are the other varieties of instruments in vogue.

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Kerala: Historical Background

Posted by mullookkaaran on August 22, 2009

Kerala is a strip of enchanting land between the high Sahya ranges in the east and the vast Arabian Sea in the west. According to legends Parasurama, ithe incarnation of God Visnu., threw his axe from Gokarnav (now in south Karnataka) to Kanyakumari (now in Tamil Nadu), the southern most tip of the Indian peninsula, rising the land of Kerala stretches from Manjeswaranm in the North to Parassala in the South, excluding both Gokarnam and Kanyakumari areas. Kerala sate was formed in 1956 as part of linguistic re-organization of States in India. It is said that the name was derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Kera’, the coconut palm. There is another view that it might have derived from ‘Cheralam’ which means either ‘land of Chera Kings’ or ‘the marshy land’.

Before the formation of the state in 1956, Kerala was divided in to three kingdoms – Travancore, Kochi and Malabar. Travancore in the south and Kochi in the middle were princely states under the supremacy of British rulers in the Country while Malabar was a district of Madras State, a province of British India till 1947.

ANCIENT KERALA
Even befor Christ, Kerala had commercial relations with foreign countries like Rome, Greece, Egypt, Babylonia Palestine and Arabia. The early inhabitants of the State were Dravidians. Malayalam, the language of Kerala, belongs to the Dravidian family of languages. By the fourth or third century B.C., Aryans might have migrated to Kerala. In a second wave of Aryan migrations from North India in the seventh and eight centuries, the Aryan Brahmins called Namboothiries became very influential in the society. They introduced cast system in Kerala and considered themselves as the highest caste eligible for priesthood in Hindu temples. They had acquired ownership of the large areas of land as donations from the kings. Thus Kerala inherits a mixed culture and blood of Aryans and Dravidians.

During the first five centuries of Christian era, known as the ‘Sangham Age’ in Indian history, the first Chera Kings ruled major part of the state. The second Chera dynasty was in power during the period between A.D, 820 and 1102. After the fall of the mighty Chera dynasty, so many little kingdoms and principalities were formed throughout Kerala. The most prominent among them were Kozhikode, Kochi and Venad. The situation continued until the invasion of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sulthan (of Mysore0 during 1776-1790 in Malabar and the aggressive expansion programme of his kingdom by Marthanda Varma Raja of Venad. Later Malabar was seized by the East India Company in 1792 and the two kingdoms Travancore and Kochi were brought under their control.

TRAVENCORE
There were about 40 principalities in Travancore at the beginning of the 18th century. Marthand Varma, the king of Venad, the southern most and ancient principality, attacked so many small kingdoms and annexed them to Vanad, forming the biggest kingdom of Travencore in 1729AD. He defeated the Dutch army at Kulachal and made a pact with the British East India Company for the protection of his country and accepted their supremacy. The last king in the dynasty Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varama Maharaja continued in the throne from 1931 to 1949. He was appointed as the Rajapramukh (equal to State Governor) of the Travancore –Cochin state when both the kingdoms were united into a single state in 1949. He performed the duty as Rajapramukh till the formation of Kerala State in 1956. Travancore was one of the most prosperous and literate states at the time if independence.

KOCHI
The Kingdom of Kochi (Cochin) came into prominence in 16th century A.D. It was also known as ‘Perumpadappu Swaroopam’. The Portuguese in the 16th century and later the Dutch controlled the affairs of Kochi. In the 1781 British East India Company made a pact enforcing its supremacy on the kingdom. During the integration of Kochi with Travancore, Rama Varma Pareekshith Thampuran was the king of the country. The harbour at Kochi is well-known.

MALABAR
In 1972, Malabar the northernmost part of the States, was seized by the East India Company from Tipu Sulatan, the King of Mysore. From 13th century up to the invasion of Hyder Ali and his son Tippu Sulatan of Mysore, a major portion of the of Malabar region was ruled by the Zamorin, the King of Kozhikode (Calicut). Vasco-Da-Gama, the first sailor from Portugal landed at Kappadu kear Kozhikode in 1498.

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Kerala: Fast Facts

Posted by mullookkaaran on August 22, 2009


Language: Malayalam.
Tamil, Kannada, Kongini and Thulu are also spoken in the border districts of kerala. English is widely spoken. Hindi is also widespread.

Population: 3,18,38,619 (M- 1,54,68,654. FM- 1,63,69,955). density of Population: 819.
Literacy: 90.92 (100%).

The prawn shaped land lies in between the Western Ghats on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. The strip of this perennial green land extends 580 km in the north-south direction. The width varies from 35 to 120 km. The topography and geographical features vary distinctly from the East to the West.

The climate is tropical. The weather is pleasant throughout the year.
Summer- Feb – May
Monsoon- June – Sept.
Winter- Oct – Jan
Time- GMT – 5:30
Currency: Indian Rupee

Kerala is cosmopolitan. Major religions are Hinduism, Christianity and Islam.

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Kerala: A paradise On Earth

Posted by mullookkaaran on August 22, 2009

Kerala is delightful strip of land lying on the South-Western tip of the Indian peninsula. Vast stretches of green pastures, coconut palm groves, paddy fields, water falls, back waters, virgin beaches, lush green forests, huge mountains and hillocks adorned with rivers and rivulets make Kerala so fascinating and enchanting that people rightly call her the God’s Own Country.

This apart, Kerala has varied art forms and a rich cultural heritage. A trip through the mountain sides, back waters, forests and valleys is a real bonanza. Ms.Katherine, co-author of the book ‘Chasing the Monsoon’ found Kerala the most beautiful place in India.’ A walk through the villages having long stretches of paddyfields submerged in water was a rare experience,’ wrote Katherine.

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Kerala Beckons

Posted by mullookkaaran on August 22, 2009

Welcome to kerala, Gods own country. Natures bounteous beauty beckons you. Kerala is a land with a resonant past. Myths and legends abound. The ships of King Solomon, they say anchored along the Malabar coast of Kerala to collect timber of building the ‘Temple of the Lord’. Malabar is referred to as Oudh in ancient history. Apart from timber, the maritime explorers were in search of pepper and other spice. It was one such journey that had led to the discovery of America. Columbus mistook America for India. However, Vas Coda Gama, made it. Of course there is a dispute as to where Gama had exactly landed. According to some historians, Gama first reached Kappad near Kozhikode. There also a different version which says that it was at Panthalayani near Koyilandi in Kozhikode district that Gama had landed.

Kerala has always been a favorite destination for the intrepid foreign traveler. Europeans, Arabs and Chinese had visited our coasts. In his book of travel Marco Polo recounts his his visit to this parts of land. Kerala offers much more than what Goa can. Her beauty is so bewitching that you would love to frequent this enchanting piece of land. Lush green forests, pristine beaches, lakes, ancient and imposing forests, verdant mountains and hillocks dotted with meandering rivulets and water falls. A trip through the backwaters is really refreshing. Unique art forms, temple festivals, long line of caparisoned elephants and the breathtaking fire works are something which you can see in Kerala alone. Well decorated Kettuvallams are ready to take you on a holiday trip through the back waters. You can even spend a whole night inside the floating houses having two or three bed-rooms and kitchen facility.

Kerala has a rich variety of art forms which are of great interest to the foreign tourists. They include Kathakali, Margom kali, Thira, Theyyam, Poorakkali, Kolkkali, Parichamuttu Kali, Duffu Muttu, Yakshagana, Ottanthullal, Ratib and Kuthu Ratib. The temple festivals like Thissur Pooram, Kalpathy Car Festival, Pongala etc. evoke keen interest in the tourists, who through the temples and Kavus during the festival season. Be it eco-tourism, adventure tourism, pilgrimage tourism or Ayurveda tourism, there is abundant scope for all these in Kerala. Having realized the great tourism potential of the state, the Kerala state Tourism Department has started making all out efforts to tap it fully. As per the latest available figures, as many as 65 lakh tourists visited the state in 2007. The revenue generated from this industry during the same period was Rs.800 crores.

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