Kerala is a state located in southwestern India. Neighbouring states include Karnataka to the north and Tamil Nadu to the south and east, and the Arabian sea is to the west. Major cities include the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi , Kollam, Thrissur and Kozhikode. Malayalam is the principal spoken language,
A 3rd-century-BC rock inscription by emperor Asoka the Great attests to a Keralaputra. Around 1 BC the region was ruled by the Chera Dynasty, which traded with the Greeks, Romans and Arabs.The Tamil Chera dynasty,Ays and the Pandyan Kingdom were the traditional rulers of Kerala whose patriarchal dynasties ruled until the 14th century AD.Pliny the Elder who visited Kerala in the first century AC reported in his book Natural History (Pliny) that the Northern Kerala was ruled by the Chera Kings while the
southern Kerala was ruled by King Pandion of Madura(the Pandyan Kingdom) who had the capital at Nelcynda with port at Porakkad (Ambalapuzha). The Dravidian Villavar tribe which established the Chera Kingdom were Patriarchal in descendency. Ay kings ruled southern Kerala. The Later Chera Kingdom otherwise called the Kulasekhara dynasty was founded by King Kulasekhara Alwar who is considered as a Vaishnavaite saint. After the repeated attacks of Rashtrakutas in the end of first millennium the Northernmost portions of Kerala,Matriarchal Naga dynasties appeared in North Kerala at Ezhimalai. later Chera Dynasty came to an end weakened by the Rashtrakuta and Chola invaders. Feudal Namboothiri Brahmin and Nair city-states subsequently gained control of the region. Kolla Varsham or Malayalam Era, which is assumed to have been established by King Udaya Marthanda Varma, King of Kollam, in 825 AD, serves as the official calendar of Kerala. Early contact with Europeans gave way to struggles between colonial and native interests. Kerala state was created on 1 November 1956 via the States Reorganisation Act which merged the former state of Travancore-Cochin, Malabar district of the former Madras State, and Kasaragod taluk of Dakshina Kannada.
The state has a 91 percent literacy rate, among the highest in India. A survey conducted in 2005 by Transparency International ranked Kerala as the least corrupt state in the country. Kerala has witnessed significant migration of its people, especially to the Gulf countries, starting with the Kerala Gulf boom, and is uniquely dependent on remittances from its large Malayali expatriate community.
Kerala has the lowest rate of population growth in India, with a birth rate of 1.6 per parents.
Kerala, situated on the lush and tropical Malabar Coast, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Named as one of the "ten paradises of the world" and "50 places of a lifetime" by the National Geographic Traveler magazine, Kerala is especially known for its ecotourism initiatives. Its unique culture and traditions, coupled with its varied demographics, has made Kerala one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Growing at a rate of 13.31%, the state's tourism industry is a major contributor to the state's economy. Until the early 1980s, Kerala was a relatively unknown destination; most tourist circuits focused on North India. Aggressive marketing campaigns launched by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, the government agency that oversees tourism prospects of the state, laid the foundation for the growth of the tourism industry. In the decades that followed, Kerala's tourism industry was able to transform the state into one of the niche holiday destinations in India. The tagline Kerala- God's Own Country has been widely used in Kerala's tourism promotions and soon became synonymous with the state. In 2006, Kerala attracted 8.5 million tourist arrivals, an increase of 23.68% over the previous year, making the state one of the fastest-growing destinations in the world.
Popular attractions in the state include the beaches at Kovalam, Cherai, Varkala, Kappad, Muzhappilangad and Bekal; the hill stations of Munnar, Nelliampathi, Ponmudi and Wayanad; and national parks and wildlife sanctuaries at Periyar and Eravikulam National Park. The "backwaters" region, which comprises an extensive network of interlocking rivers, lakes, and canals that centre on Alleppey, Kollam, Kumarakom, and Punnamada (where the annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held in August), also see heavy tourist traffic. Heritage sites, such as the Padmanabhapuram Palace and the Mattancherry Palace, are also visited. Cities such as Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram are popular centres for their shopping and traditional theatrical performances. During early summer, the Thrissur Pooram is conducted, attracting foreign tourists who are largely drawn by the festival's elephants and celebrants.