Famous for its backwaters and coconuts, here are a few facts about Kerala state which would make you pack your bags for a journey.
1. God's Own Country
The slogan used by the Kerala Tourism Department says it all about this alfresco state. With the Arabian Sea in the west and a channel of backwaters running throughout the state, Kerala indeed offers the most scenic backdrop for all your clicks! A horde of coconut trees can be witnessed, and its turquoise blue waters will surely take your breath away.
2. Cleanest State of India
According to a survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), Kerala is said to be the cleanest state of India along with Sikkim. The only state to have hospitals and banks in every village. Along with being the cleanest state it also offers necessary facilities in every corner. Kerala is the only state to have provided banking facilities and hospitals in its remotest locations, thus increasing its overall development.
3. The first state to receive rainfall in India
God's own country as it is famously known, Kerala gets the first spell of rains in India. While the rest of the nation experiences rain in July, Kerala witnesses it around the first week of June every year followed by Mumbai and Delhi.
4. The wealthiest Hindu temple in the World is in Kerala
Hinduism is a prominent religion of the Indian subcontinent and hence more than 1,60,650 temples are present in the country. Out of these, the richest Hindu temple in the world is located in Kerala. Padmanabhaswamy temple is the richest temple regarding gold and precious stones.
5. The Paradise of Ayurveda
Kerala is known for its pioneer in medication using Ayurveda as its treatment method. It is also home to Somatheeram, the world's first Ayurvedic Resort. Ayurveda is also used for beauty, massage and hair treatment.
Ayurveda is used for medical treatment primarily. Even today with the modernisation of medicine, Kerala uses age-old Ayurvedic techniques to fight and cure most of its diseases. It is also being used to treat arthritis in the state. Ayurveda is the primal mode of medicine in Kerala.
6. Highest female to male ratio
Kerala, along with Pondicherry, is the only Indian states to have a female - to - male ratio higher than 0.99. Kerala has 1084 females per 1000 males with a rate of 1.084 which is higher than the national figure of 0.940.
7. Highest gold consumption in the country
The state of Kerala consumes about 20% of the country's gold. Brides to be in Kerala can be seen submerged in gold from head to toe.
8. Highest literacy rate
Kerala is the most literate state in India with a literacy rate of 93.91% while the literacy rate of the country stands at a mere 74.04% according to the census of 2011. The rural area of Kottayam district in Kerala has a literacy rate of 97.17 percent while amongst the urban areas, Pathanamthitta has 97.42 percent.
9. The only state with the highest number of festivals being celebrated
Kerala doesn't only showcase diversity in wildlife but is also home to diverse forms of religion. It serves as an excellent example of people belonging to different religions living together in harmony and peace. It is quite common to see a worshipping sanctuary of every religion around the corner of every street or so.
10. Home to a vast variety of herbs
Herbs with medicinal properties such as turmeric, Cinnamon, Ashwagandha, Brahmi, Amalaki, Bharangi, and Phyllanthus Amarus etc. are found in abundance in Kerala.
11. The second least corrupt state in India
Kerala experiences about 4 percent corruption in public services according to CMS 'Indian Corruption Study of 2017. The least corrupt state was Himachal Pradesh with a bribery percent of about 3 %.
12. The largest rubber producers in the nation
India is the 4th largest rubber-producing country in the world. Kerala produces more than 90% of the total rubber in the country. Around 5.45 hectares of land in Kerala is being used for rubber cultivation.
13. The first state to have implemented education reform bills
Literacy is the backbone of Kerala and is considered to be an essential aspect of its development. The education bill of the Kerala education act, 1958 was introduced in the Kerala assembly by its then education minister, Professor Joseph Mundasseri.
14. National Geographic had declared it as Paradise of the world amongst ten others
The Traveler Magazine of National Geographic included Kerala in its list of Ten Paradises of the world in its 1999 edition. The magazine also included Kerala in its list of Top 50 destinations of the world.
15. Highest media exposure is enjoyed in Kerala
The NFHS-3 compiled a list of states according to the percentage of media exposure enjoyed by them. A whopping 99 percent of the males enjoy media exposure while 94 percent of the females have access to media exposure in the state. The newspapers in Kerala are printed in nine different languages.
16. Kerala shares a special bond with its elephants
Elephants in Kerala seem to share a special bond with its keepers and the people of the state. The elephants play a vital role in all the religious processions and the festivals being celebrated. The state animal of Kerala is the elephant which also features in its emblem.
17. The backwaters cover almost half of the length of Kerala
The backwaters of Kerala consist of a network of turquoise and serene streams and canals, all beautifully interwoven. These backwaters are mostly composed of lagoons and lakes that lie parallel to the Arabian Sea.
18. It has an abundance of coconut trees
About 7.70 lakh hectares of cultivated area in Kerala is used for coconut plantation. Its production plays a vital role in the state's economy. Even the state is named after it. 'Kera' stands for coconut tree whereas 'alam' means land. Thus, Kerala can be iterated as the land of coconut trees.
19. The first state to have 100 % primary education
The schools in Kerala are affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE), the Kerala State Education Board or the NIOS. Kerala became the first state in January 2016 to have achieved 100 % primary education through Athulyam, its literacy program.
20. It has the least infant mortality rate
According to the Sample Registration System (SRS) survey conducted by the Registrar General of India, Kerala's Infant Mortality Rate is 10 per 1,000 live births.
21. It is also known as the spice coast of India
Kerala is famous for its spices and hence is popularly known as the Spice Coast of India. It flavours an assortment of spices originating from the cultures of Jews, Christians, Muslims and merchants who settled down in this state. Thus, you can find a creamy texture and aroma to the original cuisine of Kerala.
22. Highest per capita of alcohol consumption
Yes, you heard it right! A BBC study states that Kerala has the highest per capita of alcohol consumption amounting to over 8 litres per person per year. This per capita consumption is even more than Punjab and Haryana which are considered to be hard bent drinking states. There are about 337 liquor shops run by the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (KSBC).
23. First Church, Mosque and Synagogue of India are in Kerala
St Thomas, Syro-Malabar Catholic church in Palayur was established in 52 AD by St Thomas one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ.
Built in the 629 AD, the first ever mosque in India Cheraman Juma Mosque is in Methala, Kodungallur, Kerala. It was built by Malik Deenar. Coming to the Synagogue, the oldest active synagogue is the Paradesi Synagogue that's in Kochi, Kerala. It is one among the seven synagogues of the Cochin Jewish community or the Yehudan Mapila people constructed in the year 1567.
24. India's first coir factory was set up in Kerala
Supplying 60% of the total global white coir fibre, the state houses the first ever coir factory in India that was set up in Alleppey in 1859.
25. Highest life expectancy
Kerala enjoys a high life expectancy that of 75 years as compared to 64 years in India and 77 years in the USA.
26. Home to one of the world’s hottest hotspotThe Western Ghats in India are home to one of the eight hottest hotspots in the world. Country’s flora and fauna is densely concentrated in the areas south of Tapti river in Gujarat to the southern-most tip of the Indian peninsula. Kerala is home to the majority of the wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and forests. Evergreen forest in Wayanad is the transitional point for northern hotspots. Post this area, the southern section of this natural hotspots begin. According to some scholars, Western Ghats are older than the Himalayas and responsible for maintaining ecological equilibrium in the country.
27. Highest Point in India, Anamudi Peak (excluding Himalayas)Anamudi peak of Anaimalai range is called the ‘Everest of South India’. Reaching a height of 8133 ft, it is the highest point on western ghats and the tallest in India after the Himalayan mountains. It shares the border with Idukki and Ernakulam districts.
28. Home to some of the rarest wetlandsKerala is home to three prominent wetland sites; Ashtamudi lake, Vembanad-Kol wetland and Sasthamkotta lake. These Ramsar sites serve great ecological roles and are the best-preserved secrets of Kerala. Multiple rivers serve as their beneficiaries. While Sasthamkotta is the largest freshwater lake in Kerala, Ashtamudi lake is a natural backwater lake, home to Karimeen of Kanjiracode Kayal, famous delicacy in Kerala. Vembanad-Kol is the largest lake in Kerala and known for its paddy fields, houseboats and rich marine life.
29. Home to world’s oldest teak treesNilambur Teak Plantation in Malappuram stretches across a massive region of 2.31 hectares and is home to the world’s oldest teak trees. H.V. Conolly, the collector of Malabar district during the mid 19th century, established the plantation around Nilambur town in the 1840s. Kannimari was the first sapling planted in the area and is now the oldest tree in the world. Besides the environmental significance, Kannimari is worshipped by many tribals living in the area.
30. No Domestic Airports in KeralaKerala is India’s first state with 4 operational international airports; Thiruvananthapuram, Kannur, Kozhikode and Cochin. There are no domestic airports in the southern state (excluding defence-based airport). Cochin international airport is the world’s first fully solar-powered airport and was awarded ‘Champion of the Earth’ by the UN for its contribution towards the environment.
31. Zero Homeless StateKerala government launched a scheme, aimed towards making the state first in India with zero homeless citizens. Project LIFE (Livelihood, Inclusion, Financial Empowerment) was curated in 2016 with a deadline of 5 years. More than 1.5 lakh homeless/landless families will be provided with either homes or land to improve living conditions in the state. Massive residential complexes will be built over a span of 5 years to cover maximum beneficiaries. These complexes will house all the basic amenities like water, electricity, cooking connections, security, solar panel system and rainwater harvesting.
32. India’s first digital stateIn February 2016, India’s then President, Pranab Mukherjee, conferred Kerala with the title of first digital state in the country. Kerala has the highest telecom literacy in the country, with almost 100% mobile connectivity and 75% internet connectivity. It is also the first state to include villages and panchayat systems under the National Optical Fibre Network Programme’s high-speed broadband connections. Besides a high rate of mobile usage, Kerala has the highest number of digital banking users and operational bank accounts.
33. Best place to die in IndiaKerala’s Pain and Palliative Society is one of a kind medical and emotional support initiative, that treats terminally ill patients with in-house assistance of medicine and care that is usually devoid in the hospital-centric treatment industry. Established in 1993 by two anaesthetists; Dr. MR Rajagopal and Dr Suresh Kumar, it was aimed at providing emotional support to patients in acute pain with free home care services. All the services; visits, medicines, consultations and support sessions are provided free of cost. Over 40,000 medical professionals and volunteers are trained in palliative care. They have treated more than 50% of the patient population in Kerala and believe in forming relationships that go way beyond conventional doctor-patient dynamic. Because of their noble efforts, they constitute two-thirds of the Indian population that receives such care and thus called the best place to die in India.
34. World’s first baby-friendly stateKerala is the world’s first baby-friendly state since August 2002. World Health Organisation and Unicef sponsored, the baby friendly initiative was launched in 1992 and adopted in Kerala by 1993. It focuses on the breastfeeding practices that are essential for maintaining a healthy development graph of a child. Hospitals and health professionals are trained in providing guided steps for breastfeeding to new mothers. More than 80% of hospitals are baby friendly in the state, including the private sector and not a single cradle is found in these hospitals. Infants spend maximum time with their mothers that positively affects both health and psychological state of mother and child.
35. Ranks first in Institutional DeliveryKerala is the only state in India that has the institutional delivery rate of 99.9%. According to the National Family Health Survey, almost 100% infants are born in hospitals and medical institutions.
36. World’s best drive-in beachMuzhappilangad beach of Kerala runs parallel to NH 66 and is the longest drive-in beach in Asia. Besides being the best drive-in beach in Asia, it ranks amongst the world’s top 6 beaches for driving by BBC. You can enjoy a 4 km drive on the sandy beach. Its curved territory is bordered by black rocks and the nearby Dharmadam island is visible from the shores. During low tide, a narrow passage emerges from the sea that connects Muzhappilangad beach and Dharmadam island.
Thus, God's own country offers a perpetual and heart-rending environment, lucid emerald backwaters, beautiful lagoons and a tale of exotic wildlife. This state is indeed a paradise to visit!