Sunday, 1 July 2012

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Lush green coconut groves, sunny beaches and meandering backwaters has made Kerala the most visited attraction in the country. The fishing villages with boats standing in the harbor, roaming through the palm fringed backwaters and many other activities provide superb view on a clear day of Kerala.






Kerala is an enchantingly beautiful, emerald green sliver of land, flanked by the Western Ghats on one side, the Arabian Sea on the other, and strewn with rivers, lagoons, backwaters and rich vegetation in between. 


For the tourist, Kerala offers nature in form of the blue Lagoons at Veli, the Hill stations of Ponmudi and Munnar, the backwaters of Quilon and Allepppey, the greenland plantations in the highranges, the wildlife, the high mountain peaks, picturesque valleys, the magnificent forts and intricately decorated temples. All of which offer you a unique experience


Kerala have some of the most fabulous beaches of world specifically Alappuzha Beach, Kovalam Beach, Varkala Beach. The beaches of Kerala have clean sands bound by everlasting rows of palm trees. This adds to the magic created by sunbathing, boating and swimming in these waters.


Apart from natural beauty, you can also experience the healing touch of the Kerala's ancient medical science, in the most serene ambiances. And relax, recoup and rejuvenate yourself. Kerala is also the land of classical art & craft. Tourist visiting Kerla enjoys the uniqueness of Kathakali dance. For the lovers of art and culture Kerala offers much more. The cultural heritage of Kerala is very rich and its performing arts have cast a magic spell on travellers from time immemorial.











Ayurveda in Kerala


Kerala's climate, its natural abundance of forests, with a wealth of herbs and medicinal plants and the cool monsoon season are best suited for Ayurveda's curative and restorative packages. In fact, today, Kerala is the only State in India which practices this system of medicine with absolute dedication and is known as the home of the most perfected herbal health care system.









Kerala ayurveda system stresses on the prevention of body ailments in addition to curing them. Ayurveda tours in Kerala India provide you a chance to refresh yourself, eliminate all toxic imbalances from the body and regain resistance and attain good health, in a natural way. Apart from treating various diseases, Kerala possess distinct types of rejuvenation therapies.








Kerala Ayurveda Threpies:


Rasayana Chikitsa: It tones up the skin and rejuvenates and strengthens all the tissues so as to achieve ideal health and longevity. Increases the vitality of your body and improves mental clarity and thereby increases the resistance of the body. It includes head and face massage with medicated oils and creams, body massage with herbal oil or powder, byhand and foot, intake of rejuvenate medicines and medicated steam bath. Herbal baths are also used.






Body Immunisation And Longevity Treatment: 'Kayakalpa Chikitsa' prime treatment for retarding the aging process, arresting the degeneration of body cells and immunization of the system. The treatment includes intake of 'Rasayana', special Ayurvedic medicines and diet along with comprehensive body care programs. The program is most effective for either sex if undertaken before the age of 50. 


Body Sudation: 'Sweda Karma' medicated steam baths eliminate impurities from the body, improve the tone and complexion of the skin, reduce fat and are recommended for certain rheumatic diseases, particularly for pain. Precious herbs and herbal leaves are boiled and the steam is passed over the entire body for 10 to 20 minutes daily. Hand massage with herbal oils or herbal powder improves blood circulation and tones up the muscles









Abhyanga: This total body massage with herbal oils tones up the skin and rejuvenates and strengthens all the tissues so as to achieve ideal health and longevity, strengthens the immune system, is beneficial for the eyes and gifts sound sleep. This is also a cure for rheumatism




Culture of Kerala




Kerala culture has deeply influenced and enriched the Indian cultural heritage and has been its integral part. Kerala is isolated from the deccan plateau by the mountainous belt of the Western Ghats, but with a long coastline open to foreign influences, Kerala has evolved a unique culture. Kerala's population comprises of a large number of the people from the Dravidians race, who also inhibit most of the southern part of India. Hinduism is the principal religion with considerable percentages of Muslims and Christians

Kerala's culture is also a composite and cosmopolitan culture to which several people and races have made their significant contributions. It is an educationally advanced state with its own language, Malayalam, and has the literacy rate of 100%, the only state in India to achieve such honor. With passing phase, Kerala is adjusting to the new values and at the same time trying to maintain the good things of its old tradition.

Kerala Culture is also revealed in its varied dance forms, martial arts and cuisine. Kathakali, a 300-year-old dance form is one of the most popular dance forms, developed exclusively in Kerala. This dance is a beautiful combination of color, dance, music, drama and expressions. Other dance forms of Kerala are Mohiniyattom, Thullal, Krishnanattom, Koodiyattom, Kolkkali, Thiruvathirakali, Oppanna and Chavittunatakom. 

Apart from classical art and dance, Kerala excels in the marital art form known as Kalaripayattu. It is the comprehensive system regarded as one of the oldest and most scientific in the world. Even kung-fu is believed to have originated from Kalaripayattu.

Thus, in its totality, Kerala's culture represents the triumph and success of it's people in every sphere, be it art and architecture, education or it's multifaceted religion. The present culture of Kerala is the result of the unique process of cultural synthesis and social assimilation.










Kerala's culture is also a composite and cosmopolitan culture to which several people and races have made their significant contributions. It is an educationally advanced state with its own language, Malayalam, and has the literacy rate of 100%, the only state in India to achieve such honor. With passing phase, Kerala is adjusting to the new values and at the same time trying to maintain the good things of its old tradition.
Kerala Culture is also revealed in its varied dance forms, martial arts and cuisine. Kathakali, a 300-year-old dance form is one of the most popular dance forms, developed exclusively in Kerala. This dance is a beautiful combination of color, dance, music, drama and expressions. Other dance forms of Kerala are Mohiniyattam, Thullal, Krishnanattom, Koodiyattom, Kolkkali, Thiruvathirakali, Oppanna and Chavittunatakom.
   

                                                           






Apart from classical art and dance, Kerala excels in the marital art form known as Kalaripayattu. It is the comprehensive system regarded as one of the oldest and most scientific in the world. Even kung-fu is believed to have originated from Kalaripayattu.



Thus, in its totality, Kerala's culture represents the triumph and success of it's people in every sphere, be it art and architecture, education or it's multifaceted religion. The present culture of Kerala is the result of the unique process of cultural synthesis and social assimilation.




Kathakali

ELEMENTS of the art of Kathakali are believed to have been gradually developed in Kerala from early as the 2nd century until the end of the i6th century. Kathakali as an individual style of dance-drama emerged as a 'people's theatre’ from the traditional dances of the past. Kathakali as we now see it therefore dates back to about the time that Shakespeare was writing his plays. The performances given in Malabar at that time by troupes of actors were formed by and enjoyed the patronage of the local Rajahs and other noblemen (especiallycially the Namboodiris, or Brahmins of Malabar) must in many ways have been s to the Masques which were in vogue in England in the i6th and 17th centuries, in masked performers acted and danced, developing into a form of drama with music, then Kathakali has passed through many stages of improvement in make-up and costume, dance forms and acting techniques.




Kerala Festivals

The fairs and festivals of Kerala are as diverse as the land itself. Kerala is a land of colourful festivals. The spirit of celebration among the people is an amazing thing to observe. Celebrated with intensity and vivacity Kerala festivals are like gems, ornamenting the crown of Kerala culture and tradition. Each and every Kerala festival has a long tradition and history and every festival stand out because of their uniqueness. 
All the seasons come up with new festival and celebration in Kerala. Wrapped with excitement and fun festivals are the time to get together, clean and decorate the houses, exchange gifts, prayer, pagentry and of course devouring delicious food. These celebrations exhibit an eternal spirtit of harmony and keep the green land vibrant rhythm




Onam





Onam is a time for sports and festivities and in Kerala where one third of the area is low lying, covered with canals, lakes and backwaters; the people comes out with their boats and country crafts to celebrate. It is one of the greatest festivals of Kerala, which is celebrated unitedly without the difference of caste and religion.



Onam is related with King Mahabali, a past ruler of Kerala, who was very nice and trueful. During his ruling time it is said that people don't even locked their house because , there was no thieves,no corruption,no betrayal. All where facing a good time. At that time the Hindu lord Mahavishnu decided to test King Mahabali. He came to earth as vamana a poor dwarf, and went straight to King Mahabali, asking three feet of land to live as he had nothing. The king hearing this laughed and told Vamana to take three feet of land from where ever he wishes. Suddenly Vamana began to grow and he covered the whole earth by one foot and covered the sky with other foot. And asked Mahabali where is the space for the third foot. By seeing all these, the king understood that Vamana is not an ordinary person, and Vamana has come to test him so the king without hesitating showed his head to keep the third foot. Vamana kept his third foot on the King's head and the King was pushed down under the earth. The king after going under the earth, asked Vamana his true identity, Suddenly Vamana vanished and Lord Mahavishnu stood before Mahabali. The lord told Mahabali that he wanted to test Mahabali and he has won in that. The lord also asked Mahabali to ask any boon for himself. Mahabali told the lord that, he loved his people very much so he wanted permission to visit Kerala once in a year. And the lord gave permission for that. It is that day ie. the day Mahabali visits kerala is celebrated as Onam.

Onam is celebrated when it's time to reap the harvest and is a celebration of ten days. People put flower mats in front of their houses, to welcome the King. Keralites all over the world will be celebrating this ten days will pomp and gaiety. They wear new dresses and visit almost all temples which they can




Boat Race Festival


Boat race reflects the enthusiasm and jubilance of people during the celebration of their main festival, Onam. Various types of boat race are held and each are distinct from one another. Scores of long snake boats and other smaller crafts participate in these events. Hence the festival is also known as Long Boat Racing Festival. The largest team sport in the world,the snake boat races are preceded by colorful water parades. 


Champakulam Moolam Boat Race
It is the oldest and most popular snake boat race in Kerala that is closely connected to the Sree Krishna Temple at Ambalappuzha. The race is held on the Champakulam Lake on the day of the installation of the deity at the Temple. An exotic procession of water floats, boats decorated with colorful parasols and performing arts greets the spectator before the race. The race proper is held in various stages for various categories of boats. 

Aranmula Uthrattadi Vallamkali 
Aranmula Uthrittathi Vallomkali is conducted in the Pamba River in front of Sri Parthasarathi Temple. The Aaranmula Boat Race is staged each year in the scenic village of Aaranmula in August/ September. This river carnival is part of the Aaranmula Temple festival. Masses throng the shores of the River Pamba to watch an imposing cluster of snake boats called 'Palliyodams'. Though, large snake boats take part in this festival they do not race with each other. Instead, they row in union, to the accompaniment of songs and reach their destination 

Payippad Jalotsavam 
The three day annual fiesta on the Payippad Lake, 35 km from Alappuzha, commemorates the installation of the deity at the Subramanya Swamy Temple, Haripad. 

Nehru Trophy Boat Race
The Nehru Trophy Boat Race, the most colorful water sport in Kerala, is conducted at Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha on the second Saturday of every August. Though it is a festival, the attraction about this is the sportive spirits among the participants of the race. 

In the year 1952, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru visited the erstwhile Travancore - Cochin. On his way to Alappuzha from Kottayam the people of Alappuzha, escorted by the huge snake-boats, gave him a roaring reception. Having gone through the tremendous excitement of sailing in a snake-boat popularly known as Chundan, Jawaharlal Nehru donated a rolling trophy to be awarded to the winner. The trophy is a replica of a snake-boat in silver, placed on wooden abacus on which the following words of Punditji are inscribed above his signature



Pongal


The festival of Pongal signifies the great diversity of Indian religious beliefs and the varied cultured traditions of the different states.

Pongal, known as Sankaranthi in North India, is is an important festival as we pray to the Sun God on this occasion. The sun is very powerful and helps in the growth of the paddy and other plantations. So this festival is very important for farmers and it is celebrated in a grand manner in villages. The house is cleaned, and all maintenance jobs are done before this festival









This festival of Pongal falls in the month of January after the winter solstice and as such this Pongal festival marks the favorable course of the Sun. During the four day festival, different varieties of Rangoli are drawn in front of the houses early in the morning.


The first day is celebrated as the Bhogi Pongal and is usually meant for domestic activities and of being together with the family members. This first day is celebrated in honor of Lord Indra, the supreme ruler of clouds that give rains. Homage is paid to Lord Indra for the abundance of harvest, thereby bringing plenty and prosperity to the land. 


The second day of Pongal is known as Surya Pongal and is dedicated to the Sun God. On this day the granaries are full, sun shines brightly, trees are in full bloom, bird-songs resound in the air and hearts overflow with happiness that get translated into colorful and joyous celebrations. 


The third day is Mattu Pongal which is the festival of cattle. To the village people cow, the giver of milk and the bull which draws the plough in the fields are very valuable and therefore the farmers honor their dumb friends by celebrating it as a day of thanks-giving to them. On the Mattu Pongal day Lord Ganesh and Goddess Parvati are worshipped and Pongal is offered to them in the `puja'. 


Fourth day is known as Kaanum Pongal. On this day, people go out for places and enjoy this day. This is a day to spend time and entertainment outside. 


Pongal is a festival when god is praised with a simple faith and sincerity. Old vices are all washed out and all that is good is welcomed in this New year. This festival is of all living things, of man, his beast and his crop and of the birds that fly in the sky making man look up to the heaven in joy and thankfulness to God



Thrissur Pooram


Thrissur Pooram is the spectacular festival of light and color, percussion and elephants. It is the most colorful temple festival of Kerala, which attracts large masses of devotees and spectators from all part of the state and Globe




Celebrated in April-May, it consists of processions of rich caparisoned elephants from various neighboring temples to the Vadakunnatha Temple. This is a two century old festival of procession of caparisoned elephants and enthralling performances in a never ending succession is an 36 hours marathon event of incredible beauty, a feast for the eye and the ear, unfolding between 6 am to 12 noon the other day. Different from the usual temple festival, Thrissur Pooram is participated and conducted by people across all barriers of religion and caste.


The most impressive processions are those from the Krishna Temple at Thiruvambadi and the Devi Temple at Paramekkavu, both situated in the town itself. The hours-long dazzling fire works submerge the Thrissur city of Kerala in an ocean of color. The commissioning of elephants and parasols is done in the utmost secrecy by each party to excel the other. Commencing in the early hours of the morning, the celebrations last till the break of dawn, the next day



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