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Kerala, India’s Way Of Life: Human By Nature Campaign


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Ally Mckee



Kerala, also known as “God’s Own Country,” is a mesmerizing state located in the southern part of India. It is renowned for its vibrant culture, breathtaking landscapes, rich heritage, and warm hospitality. With its unique blend of tradition and modernity, Kerala offers a truly captivating experience for travelers.


Steeped in history and culture, Kerala has a fascinating past that can be traced back to ancient times. It was a major trading hub for spices, attracting traders from around the world. The influence of different civilizations, including Dutch, Portuguese, and British, has left its mark on the architecture, cuisine, and lifestyle of Kerala.


Geographically, Kerala is blessed with diverse landscapes, ranging from serene backwaters, stunning beaches, lush tea plantations, and majestic mountains. The state’s equable climate makes it a perfect year-round destination, with pleasant temperatures that invite visitors to explore its natural wonders.


One of the most enchanting aspects of Kerala is its rich cultural heritage. The state is known for its traditional dance forms like Kathakali and Mohiniyattam, vibrant music, and colorful festivals that showcase the vibrant spirit of the people. The art and craft traditions of Kerala, including wood carving, metalwork, and painting, are highly esteemed and reflect the intricate craftsmanship of the local artisans.


A visit to Kerala would be incomplete without experiencing the famous backwaters. These serene and picturesque waterways, comprising of lakes, canals, and lagoons, provide a unique opportunity to witness the unhurried pace of life and marvel at the beauty of the surrounding landscapes. Cruising along the backwaters on a traditional houseboat, known as a “kettuvallam,” offers an unforgettable and tranquil experience.


For wildlife enthusiasts, Kerala is a haven with its numerous wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. The Periyar Tiger Reserve, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, and Silent Valley National Park are home to a variety of flora and fauna, including elephants, tigers, deer, and exotic bird species. Exploring these protected areas not only helps in conserving the biodiversity of the region but also offers a chance to connect with nature on a deeper level.


Another highlight of Kerala is its association with Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine. The state has numerous Ayurvedic resorts and wellness centers that offer traditional therapies and rejuvenation treatments. Visitors can indulge in Ayurvedic massages, yoga sessions, and wellness programs to rejuvenate their mind, body, and soul.


The cuisine of Kerala is a gastronomic delight, known for its spicy flavors and abundance of seafood dishes. The traditional Sadhya, a feast served on banana leaves, is a must-try, offering a delightful combination of flavors and textures. From crispy dosas and fluffy idlis to spicy fish curries and coconut-based desserts, Kerala’s cuisine is a true reflection of its diverse culinary heritage.


Kerala is also known for its religious tolerance and is home to numerous temples, mosques, and churches. The famous Sabarimala Temple, Guruvayur Temple, and Padmanabhaswamy Temple are significant pilgrimage sites attracting devotees from all over the country. The architecture and intricate detailing of these religious structures are awe-inspiring and offer a glimpse into the spiritual richness of the region.


With its unique blend of culture, natural beauty, and warm hospitality, Kerala has become a popular destination for travelers seeking an authentic and enriching experience. In recent years, the state has embarked on the “Human by Nature” campaign, which promotes sustainable tourism and aims to showcase the responsible and compassionate nature of the people of Kerala. Through this campaign, Kerala aims to create a harmonious balance between tourism development and environmental conservation.


History of Kerala

Kerala has a rich and diverse history that spans over several millennia. The origins of Kerala date back to the ancient period, with archaeological findings suggesting human habitation as early as the Neolithic era. The region has witnessed the rise and fall of various dynasties, invasions, and influences from different civilizations.


One of the significant ancient kingdoms in Kerala was the Chera dynasty, which ruled the region from the 3rd century BCE to the 12th century CE. The Cheras were known for their strategic location along the Arabian Sea, which made them prominent players in the maritime trade network. Their contact with the Romans, Greeks, Arabs, and Chinese led to the flourishing of trade in spices, especially black pepper.


The medieval period saw the emergence of several powerful kingdoms in Kerala. The most notable among them were the Zamorins of Calicut, who controlled the Malabar region, and the Rajas of Kochi, who governed the central part of Kerala. These kingdoms had strong maritime trade connections with Europe, especially the Portuguese, Dutch, and British.


The arrival of European powers had a significant impact on Kerala’s history. The Portuguese were the first to arrive in the late 15th century, followed by the Dutch in the 17th century and the British in the 18th century. These colonial powers established trading posts and forts in various parts of Kerala, leading to their influence on the region’s politics, culture, and economy.


Kerala played a crucial role in India’s freedom struggle against the British. The state witnessed various movements and protests, with notable leaders like K. Kelappan, A.K. Gopalan, and EMS Namboodiripad emerging as prominent freedom fighters. The struggle for independence culminated in the formation of the state of Kerala in 1956, with the unification of the Malayalam-speaking regions.


Today, Kerala is one of the most progressive and literate states in India, known for its social indicators and human development. The state’s emphasis on education, healthcare, and social welfare has earned it the reputation of being a model state in terms of human development. Kerala’s unique history, cultural diversity, and vibrant society make it a fascinating destination for history buffs, with numerous historical sites, museums, and monuments showcasing its rich past.


Geography and Climate

Kerala is nestled on the southwestern coast of India, bordered by the Arabian Sea on the west and the Western Ghats on the east. The state is known for its diverse geography, consisting of lush coastal plains, picturesque backwaters, rolling hills, and sprawling tea estates.


The coastal belt of Kerala stretches for about 580 kilometers, adorned with stunning sandy beaches, palm-fringed shores, and tranquil fishing villages. The famous beach destinations in Kerala include Kovalam, Varkala, and Cherai, where visitors can soak in the warm sun, indulge in water sports, and enjoy breathtaking sunsets over the Arabian Sea.


The Western Ghats, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, form a prominent part of Kerala’s landscape. It is a mountain range that runs parallel to the western coast of India. The Ghats are home to numerous peaks, rivers, and waterfalls, creating a picturesque backdrop for nature lovers. The highest peak in Kerala, Anamudi, stands tall at an elevation of 2,695 meters, offering mesmerizing panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.


The backwaters of Kerala are perhaps the most iconic feature of the state’s geography. These serene and interconnected waterways consist of lakes, canals, and lagoons, forming a unique ecosystem that is both ecologically important and a source of livelihood for the locals. The backwaters offer a tranquil and immersive experience, with options for houseboat cruises, kayaking, and village visits along the banks.


Kerala experiences a tropical monsoon climate, with distinct seasons throughout the year. The state generally has four main seasons: summer, monsoon, post-monsoon, and winter. Summers in Kerala, from March to May, are characterized by hot and humid weather, with temperatures ranging from 25 to 35 degrees Celsius (77 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit).


The monsoon season in Kerala, from June to September, brings heavy rainfall due to the southwest monsoon winds. This period is vital for the state’s agriculture and the replenishment of lakes and rivers. The lush green landscapes during monsoons add to the region’s overall charm.


The post-monsoon season, from October to November, is a transition phase characterized by intermittent rains and pleasant weather. Winter in Kerala, from December to February, is relatively cooler, with temperatures ranging between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius (68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit). This is considered the peak tourist season, as the weather is comfortable for outdoor activities and sightseeing.


Kerala’s geographical diversity and pleasant climate make it a year-round destination. Each season offers a unique experience, from enjoying the monsoon showers to basking in the winter sun. Whether exploring the lush greenery of the Western Ghats or relaxing on the pristine beaches, Kerala’s geography and climate create a perfect setting for a memorable vacation.


Culture and Traditions

Kerala is a land steeped in culture and traditions. The state is known for its strong cultural heritage, which is a harmonious blend of various influences, including indigenous practices, Dravidian traditions, and the impact of colonial rule.


One of the most prominent aspects of Kerala’s culture is its performing arts. The state is famous for classical dance forms like Kathakali, a highly stylized dance-drama that showcases mythological stories through elaborate costumes, facial expressions, and intricate movements. Another popular dance form is Mohiniyattam, known for its graceful movements and themes of love and devotion. Kerala also has its own traditional martial art form called Kalaripayattu, known for its dynamic movements and physical prowess.


The music of Kerala is diverse and soulful. The state has its own unique style of classical music called Carnatic music, which is deeply rooted in spirituality. Traditional musical instruments like the chenda, mridangam, and violin are widely used in performances and festivals. Kerala also has a vibrant folk music tradition, with songs and melodies passed down through generations.


Religion plays a significant role in the lives of the people of Kerala. The state is home to people of various faiths, including Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. The religious harmony and coexistence are evident in the numerous temples, mosques, churches, and synagogues scattered across the state. The architecture of these religious structures, with their intricate carvings, paintings, and rituals, is a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Kerala.


The festivals of Kerala are a colorful and joyous affair. Onam, the harvest festival, is perhaps the most important and widely celebrated festival in the state. It marks the homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali and is a time of feasting, floral decorations, and traditional performances like pulikali (tiger dance) and Vallamkali (snake boat race). The Thrissur Pooram, a grand temple festival held in Thrissur, is another spectacular event that showcases the cultural pomp and splendor of Kerala.


The cuisine of Kerala is renowned for its distinctive flavors and use of locally sourced ingredients. Rice is a staple food, and coconut, spices, and seafood play a prominent role in the traditional culinary repertoire. The famous Sadhya, a sumptuous feast served on banana leaves, is a must-try experience that showcases a wide array of vegetarian delicacies and flavorsome curries. Seafood lovers can indulge in fresh catches prepared in traditional Kerala style with rich spices and coconut milk.


Handicrafts and traditional arts thrive in Kerala. The state is known for its intricate woodwork, with artisans skillfully carving designs on teak and rosewood. The coconut shell craft, bell metal craft, and mural paintings are also highly regarded. Kerala is also a hub for traditional weaving, with Kasavu sarees, made of white cotton with golden borders, being a popular choice among women.


Kerala’s culture and artistic traditions are deeply rooted in the daily lives of its people. From vibrant festivals and cultural performances to delectable cuisine and traditional crafts, the state’s rich cultural heritage embodies the warmth, hospitality, and vibrant spirit of the people of Kerala.


Backwaters of Kerala

The backwaters of Kerala are a unique and enchanting feature that sets the state apart from other destinations in India. These interconnected network of lakes, canals, and lagoons form a serene and picturesque landscape, offering a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.


The backwaters of Kerala are primarily located in the coastal regions, particularly in the districts of Alappuzha, Kottayam, and Ernakulam. The famous backwater destinations include Alappuzha (also known as Alleppey), Kumarakom, and Kollam. These places offer a multitude of experiences, from leisurely houseboat cruises to exploring the charming villages and lush green paddy fields along the banks of the backwaters.


The traditional houseboats, locally known as “kettuvallams,” are the iconic symbol of the backwaters. These beautifully crafted houseboats were originally used for transportation of goods, but have now been transformed into floating hotels, offering a unique and comfortable way to experience the backwaters. Cruising on a houseboat allows visitors to unwind and soak in the mesmerizing views of the surrounding landscapes, including swaying palm trees, emerald green waters, and quaint fishing villages.


While on a houseboat, visitors can savor delicious Kerala cuisine, cooked by skilled chefs using fresh and local ingredients. The meals served on board are a highlight of the backwater experience, with a variety of traditional dishes ranging from spicy fish curries to mouthwatering vegetable preparations.


Exploring the villages and hamlets along the backwaters provides a glimpse into the lifestyle of the local people. Visitors can witness firsthand the traditional fishing practices, coir-making industry, and other activities that have been part of the local livelihoods for generations. Interacting with the friendly locals and understanding their daily routines and customs adds to the authenticity of the backwater experience.


For those seeking an active adventure, kayaking and canoeing are popular activities on the backwaters. Paddling through the narrow canals, surrounded by lush greenery and the melodious sounds of nature, offers a more intimate and immersive experience of the backwaters.


While the backwaters are known for their tranquility, they are not devoid of cultural festivities. One of the most famous backwater events is the Nehru Trophy Boat Race, held annually on the Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha. This thrilling boat race, featuring long snake boats known as “chundan vallams,” attracts thousands of spectators who gather to witness this adrenaline-filled competition.


The backwaters of Kerala are not only a delight for the senses but also play a significant role in the ecosystem and local economy. The waterways offer a habitat for various bird species, including the elusive kingfishers and beautiful egrets. Additionally, the backwaters support agriculture and fisheries, providing livelihoods to thousands of people through farming and fishing activities.


A visit to the backwaters of Kerala is an escape into a world of tranquility, where time seems to stand still. Whether it’s a leisurely cruise on a houseboat, kayaking through narrow canals, or simply enjoying the scenic beauty from the shores, the backwaters of Kerala offer an unforgettable experience that is in harmony with nature.


Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks

Kerala is blessed with abundant natural beauty and is home to several wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. These protected areas showcase the rich biodiversity of the region and provide a habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna.


One of the most famous wildlife destinations in Kerala is the Periyar Tiger Reserve, located in Thekkady. This sanctuary is known for its diverse wildlife, including elephants, tigers, leopards, and various species of deer. Visitors can embark on thrilling jungle safaris, nature walks, and boat cruises in the Periyar Lake, offering a chance to spot animals in their natural habitat.


Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, nestled amidst the mountains of the Western Ghats, is another popular wildlife spot. This sanctuary is home to numerous endangered species, such as the Indian elephant, Indian bison, and the elusive Bengal tiger. Trekking trails, jeep safaris, and bird-watching opportunities are available for nature enthusiasts to explore the sanctuary’s diverse ecosystem.


Silent Valley National Park, located in the Nilgiri Hills, is a pristine and untouched wilderness teeming with wildlife. It is one of the last remaining rainforests in India and is home to rare and endangered species like the lion-tailed macaque and the great Indian hornbill. Nature lovers can take guided walks through the dense forests, immersing themselves in the sights and sounds of the exotic flora and fauna.


Eravikulam National Park, near Munnar, is renowned for its unique ecosystem and is home to the endangered Nilgiri Tahr, a mountain goat species. This park offers breathtaking views of the rolling hills, mist-covered valleys, and blooming Neelakurinji flowers, which bloom once every twelve years, painting the landscape in vibrant shades of blue and purple.


Aside from these prominent sanctuaries and national parks, there are several other wildlife reserves in Kerala. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, and Parambikulam Tiger Reserve are just a few examples, each offering a unique flora and fauna experience.


Visiting these wildlife sanctuaries and national parks not only provides an opportunity to witness the incredible diversity of Kerala’s wildlife but also contributes to conservation efforts. These protected areas play a vital role in preserving the natural habitats and ensuring the survival of endangered species.


It’s important to note that while exploring these wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, it’s crucial to practice responsible tourism. This includes following park rules and regulations, maintaining a safe distance from the animals, and not littering or disturbing the ecosystem. By adhering to these guidelines, visitors can ensure the preservation of these precious natural habitats for future generations to enjoy.


Ayurveda and Wellness Tourism

Kerala is often referred to as the birthplace of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine. The state has a rich tradition of Ayurvedic practices, making it a leading destination for wellness tourism. People from all over the world come to Kerala to experience the healing and rejuvenating benefits of Ayurveda.


Ayurveda, which translates to “science of life,” focuses on achieving a balance between mind, body, and spirit. It emphasizes the use of natural herbs, oils, and therapies to promote overall well-being. Kerala’s abundant flora, with its extensive variety of medicinal plants, provides the perfect setting for Ayurvedic treatments.


Visitors to Kerala can stay in Ayurvedic resorts and wellness centers, where they can undergo personalized treatments and therapies under the guidance of experienced Ayurvedic practitioners. These treatments can include massages, herbal oil therapies, detoxification procedures, yoga, and meditation sessions.


The benefits of Ayurveda go beyond physical rejuvenation. It offers a holistic approach to wellness, addressing not only physical ailments but also mental and emotional well-being. The serene surroundings and tranquil atmospheres of Ayurvedic retreats in Kerala create an ideal environment for relaxation and self-reflection.


Kerala’s Ayurvedic treatments are based on individual body types or doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Ayurvedic physicians examine a person’s dosha and prescribe treatments tailored to their specific needs. This personalized approach ensures that each individual receives a unique and targeted healing experience.


Furthermore, Kerala’s Ayurvedic treatments are not limited to specific ailments but cover a wide range of wellness goals. Whether seeking stress relief, rejuvenation, weight management, chronic disease management, or simply a general wellness retreat, Kerala’s Ayurvedic centers offer a variety of programs to meet different needs.


While undergoing Ayurvedic treatments, visitors also have the opportunity to learn about the principles and philosophy of Ayurveda. Ayurvedic experts educate guests about various aspects of healthy living, including diet, lifestyle, and daily routines that promote overall well-being.


It is important to choose authorized Ayurvedic centers and resorts in Kerala to ensure the authenticity and effectiveness of the treatments. Accredited centers follow strict quality standards and employ trained professionals to provide genuine Ayurvedic therapies.


Ayurvedic tourism in Kerala not only benefits individuals seeking wellness but also contributes to the local economy and preserves the traditional knowledge and practices of Ayurveda. Kerala’s focus on sustainable and responsible tourism extends to Ayurveda as well, with many resorts promoting eco-friendly practices and utilizing locally sourced ingredients for their treatments and products.


Visiting Kerala for Ayurveda and wellness tourism offers a unique opportunity to experience the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda in a serene and rejuvenating environment. It provides a pathway to achieving balance, harmony, and overall well-being, leaving visitors refreshed and rejuvenated.


Famous Temples and Religious Sites

Kerala is a land of cultural diversity and religious harmony, with numerous temples and religious sites of historical and spiritual significance. These places of worship attract devotees and tourists alike, offering a glimpse into the rich religious traditions and architectural marvels of the state.


The Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram is one of the most famous and revered temples in Kerala. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple is renowned for its intricate architecture, exquisite carvings, and its massive idol of Lord Vishnu reclining on the sacred serpent Ananta. The temple’s underground vaults have gained international attention due to the hidden treasures discovered within.


Sabarimala Temple, nestled in the Western Ghats, is another significant pilgrimage site in Kerala. It is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa and attracts millions of devotees, especially during the annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku season. The pilgrimage involves a rigorous 41-day fasting period and a trek through the dense forests of Sabarimala, culminating in the darshan (holy sighting) of Lord Ayyappa.


Guruvayur Temple, located in Thrissur, is considered one of the most important Krishna temples in India. It is believed to be one of the oldest temples in Kerala and is renowned for its spiritual aura and architectural grandeur. The temple’s chief deity is Lord Krishna, whose idol is adorned with exquisite ornaments and receives daily offerings of food and flowers.


The Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple, situated near Kochi, is dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Bhagavathy. Devotees believe that the goddess possesses healing powers, and the temple is visited by people seeking relief from various ailments. The temple is a blend of traditional Kerala and Dravidian architectural styles, with beautiful murals depicting mythological stories.


The Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur is an ancient Shiva temple and one of the largest temples in Kerala. It is renowned for its classical Keralite architecture, featuring a circular sanctum, intricately carved wooden roofs, and gopurams (tower-like structures). The Pooram festival celebrated at this temple is a grand spectacle, showcasing a vibrant display of caparisoned elephants, percussion ensembles, and fireworks.


The Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple, located in Kottayam, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is famous for its beautiful wood carvings, especially the ornate entrance known as the Chengannur Kodimaram. The annual festival, Ettumanoor Shivaratri, draws a large number of devotees who come to witness the spectacular procession showcasing decorated elephants and cultural performances.


Aside from these prominent temples, Kerala is also home to mosques, churches, and synagogues that are significant religious landmarks. The Beemapally Mosque in Thiruvananthapuram, for example, is known for its annual Urs festival, while St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in Kochi is believed to be one of the seven churches established by St. Thomas the Apostle.


Visiting these famous temples and religious sites in Kerala provides not only a spiritual experience but also an opportunity to appreciate the rich architectural heritage and diverse religious traditions. It showcases the cultural tapestry and spiritual depth that is an integral part of Kerala’s identity.


Adventure Tourism in Kerala

Kerala, often associated with its serene backwaters and tranquil landscapes, also offers thrilling opportunities for adventure enthusiasts. From trekking through scenic mountains to engaging in water sports and wildlife safaris, Kerala provides a wide range of activities to satisfy the adventurer’s spirit.


One of the prime adventure destinations in Kerala is Munnar, a hill station nestled in the Western Ghats. The picturesque mountains of Munnar offer excellent opportunities for trekking, with trails that take you through tea estates, spice plantations, and mist-covered valleys. The hike to the Anamudi Peak, the highest peak in South India, promises breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.


For water sports enthusiasts, the beaches of Kerala provide ample opportunities for adventure. Kovalam and Varkala, two popular coastal destinations, offer activities such as surfing, snorkeling, kayaking, and parasailing. The crystal-clear waters and gentle waves make these locations ideal for both beginners and experienced water sports enthusiasts.


Periyar Tiger Reserve in Thekkady is not only known for its wildlife but also offers thrilling adventure activities. Visitors can engage in bamboo rafting across the tranquil Periyar Lake, keeping a lookout for wild animals, especially elephants, on the shores. Jungle treks and nature walks in the reserve also provide an opportunity to explore the rich biodiversity of the region up close.


Kerala’s rivers and backwaters offer exciting opportunities for canoeing and kayaking. Paddle through the narrow canals, witness the scenic beauty of the surrounding landscapes, and get a glimpse of local village life. The backwaters of Alappuzha, Kumarakom, and Kollam are popular destinations for these water-based adventures.


Adventure enthusiasts can also embark on wildlife safaris and bird-watching expeditions in the numerous sanctuaries and national parks of Kerala. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Silent Valley National Park, and Parambikulam Tiger Reserve are some of the places where visitors can spot a variety of animals and birds in their natural habitats.


Kerala’s diverse geography offers opportunities for rock climbing and rappelling as well. Chembra Peak in Wayanad and Meesapulimala in Munnar are favorite destinations for these adrenaline-pumping activities. The rugged terrain and stunning views from the top make these experiences exhilarating.


Additionally, Kerala is emerging as a popular destination for adventure tourism with activities like paragliding, zip-lining, and off-road jeep safaris gaining popularity. These thrilling experiences allow visitors to witness the beauty of Kerala from a different perspective and create unforgettable memories.


It is important to ensure safety while participating in adventure activities. Choosing authorized and experienced operators, following safety guidelines, wearing appropriate gear, and being aware of one’s fitness level are crucial aspects to consider. Respecting and preserving the natural environment is also essential to ensure sustainable adventure tourism in Kerala.


Kerala’s adventure tourism offerings provide a unique opportunity to experience the state’s natural beauty and engage in thrilling activities. Whether it’s traversing rugged mountains, exploring serene backwaters, or getting an up-close view of wildlife, adventure enthusiasts will find plenty to satisfy their quest for excitement in Kerala.


Food and Cuisine of Kerala

Kerala’s cuisine is a gastronomic delight, known for its distinct flavors, rich spices, and abundant use of coconut. The state offers a culinary experience that is both diverse and delectable, with a wide range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes to tantalize the taste buds.


One of the defining characteristics of Kerala’s cuisine is its emphasis on fresh, local ingredients. The state’s fertile soil and abundant water resources contribute to the availability of a variety of vegetables, fruits, and seafood. Rice, coconut, fish, and spices are the staples of Kerala’s culinary tradition.


Seafood holds a prominent place in Kerala’s cuisine. From fish curries to prawn fry and crab dishes, the coastal region offers a plethora of options for seafood lovers. Karimeen Pollichathu, a delicacy made with marinated pearl spot fish, wrapped in banana leaves, and grilled to perfection, is a must-try dish that showcases the culinary artistry of Kerala.


The use of coconut in Kerala’s cuisine cannot be overstated. Coconut oil, coconut milk, grated coconut, and coconut water are used generously in various preparations. The creamy and subtle flavors of coconut add depth to curries, stir-fries, and desserts. Payasam, a sweet dish made with coconut milk, rice, jaggery, and nuts, is a popular dessert enjoyed during festive occasions.


The Sadhya, a traditional vegetarian feast served on banana leaves, is a highlight of Kerala’s cuisine. It is a lavish spread that includes a variety of dishes such as parippu (dal), sambar (lentil and vegetable stew), avial (a medley of mixed vegetables in a coconut-based gravy), rasam (a tangy soup), and numerous side dishes. The Sadhya is typically served with red rice and enjoyed with hands for a more authentic experience.


Dosa, idli, and appam are popular breakfast choices in Kerala. Dosa is a thin crispy pancake made from fermented rice and lentil batter, while idli is a steamed rice cake. Appam, a soft and fluffy pancake with a crispy golden lace-like edge, is usually paired with coconut milk-based stew called ishtu or egg roast.


Kerala is also known for its unique snacks and treats. Unniyappam, a sweet dumpling made with rice flour, jaggery, and banana, is a popular snack during festivals. Banana chips, made by frying thinly sliced raw bananas, and Parippu Vada, a deep-fried lentil fritter, are other favorites among locals and visitors alike.


To wash down the delicious flavors, Kerala offers an array of refreshing beverages. Elaichi (cardamom) tea, made by infusing tea leaves with cardamom pods, is a popular choice. Sambharam, a spiced buttermilk flavored with ginger, curry leaves, and green chilies, provides a cooling respite from the heat.


Kerala’s food is not only a treat for the taste buds but also a reflection of the state’s vibrant cultural heritage. The traditional methods of cooking and the unique blend of spices create a culinary experience that is distinctly Kerala. Exploring the local markets, trying street food, and immersing oneself in the flavors of Kerala’s cuisine is a must for any food lover visiting the state.


Traditional Arts and Crafts

Kerala is renowned for its rich artistic traditions and craftsmanship, which have been passed down through generations. The state is a treasure trove of traditional arts and crafts that reflect the creativity, skill, and cultural heritage of its people.


One of the most prominent art forms of Kerala is Kathakali, a highly stylized dance-drama that combines elaborate costumes, intricate makeup, expressive facial movements, and mind-boggling footwork. Kathakali performances depict mythological stories and are characterized by their vibrant colors, exaggerated gestures, and powerful emotions.


Mohiniyattam, another classical dance form of Kerala, is known for its graceful movements and lyrical expressions. It is performed predominantly by women and is characterized by slow, swaying movements with subtle facial expressions. The dance form narrates stories from Hindu mythology and folklore.


Koodiyattam, recognized as one of the oldest surviving theater traditions in the world, originated in Kerala. It is a form of Sanskrit theater that combines dance, music, and acting. Koodiyattam performances are based on ancient texts and require rigorous training and expertise.


Kerala’s association with martial art is evident in Kalaripayattu, a traditional martial art form that originated in the region over 2000 years ago. It is a blend of physical combat techniques, self-defense, and weaponry. Kalaripayattu practitioners display agility, flexibility, and utmost discipline in their performances.


Wood carving is another celebrated craft of Kerala. Intricate designs and motifs are carved into wood, creating exquisite sculptures, furniture, and decorative items. Artisans skillfully carve elaborate patterns and images of deities, animals, and cultural symbols, showcasing their mastery of this ancient craft.


Metalwork is also a prominent traditional craft of Kerala. The state is known for its skilled brass and bronze artisans who create magnificent sculptures, lamps, and utensils. The craft involves intricate detailing and intricate wax casting techniques that produce stunning works of art.


Kerala’s tradition of handloom weaving is legendary. The state is known for its finest quality sarees, known as Kasavu sarees, with their distinctive golden borders. The weavers meticulously create intricate designs on cotton or silk threads, often incorporating traditional motifs and patterns.


Coir products hold a special place in Kerala’s craftsmanship. Coir is derived from the husk of coconuts and is used to make a variety of products, including mats, carpets, rugs, and decorative items. These eco-friendly products are woven by skilled artisans using traditional looms.


Mural paintings, a unique art form found in Kerala, adorn temple walls and other religious structures. The paintings depict mythological stories and are characterized by bright colors, bold lines, and intricate detailing. The art of mural painting requires precision and skill in bringing ancient tales to life through vibrant visuals.


Exploring the traditional arts and crafts of Kerala offers a glimpse into the rich cultural and artistic heritage of the state. From the captivating performances of dance forms like Kathakali and Mohiniyattam to the intricate woodwork, metalwork, and weaving traditions, each art form reflects the creativity, talent, and artistic sensibilities that have flourished in Kerala for centuries.


Famous Festivals of Kerala

Kerala is known for its vibrant and colorful festivals, which celebrate the rich cultural heritage and religious diversity of the state. These festivals bring communities together, fostering a sense of unity, joy, and devotion. From spectacular processions to cultural performances, the festivals of Kerala are a sight to behold.


Onam is the most significant and widely celebrated festival in Kerala. It marks the homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali, and its festivities extend over ten days. The highlight of Onam is the grand feast known as the ‘Onasadya,’ where a variety of vegetarian dishes are served on banana leaves. The festival also features traditional dance forms like Thiruvathira Kali and Vallamkali (snake boat race), along with pookkalam (floral carpet) decorations.


The Thrissur Pooram is a grand temple festival held in the city of Thrissur. It is celebrated at the Vadakkunnathan Temple and attracts thousands of devotees and spectators. The festival features a vibrant procession of caparisoned elephants, percussion ensembles, and firework displays. The spectacular display of cultural traditions and the electrifying atmosphere make it a must-see event.


Makaravilakku is a significant festival held annually at the Sabarimala Temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. It takes place on Makar Sankranti, and millions of devotees gather to witness the divine moment when a celestial light, known as the “Makaravilakku,” appears atop the Ponnambalamedu peak. The festival is marked by prayers, rituals, and a mesmerizing procession of the sacred idol of Lord Ayyappa.


Attukal Pongala is a unique festival celebrated exclusively by women. It takes place at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram. On this day, women gather to cook a special offering called ‘Pongala,’ which is made with rice, jaggery, and coconut in clay pots. The sight of thousands of women, dressed in traditional attire, cooking the offering on the streets around the temple is a remarkable spectacle.


Vishu is a new year festival celebrated with great enthusiasm in Kerala. It falls in mid-April every year and is considered an auspicious time. The festival is marked by the Vishu Kani, where an arrangement of auspicious items like rice, fruits, and gold is placed in front of deities. The day begins with an early morning ritual of seeing the Vishu Kani, followed by feasting, cultural performances, and the bursting of firecrackers.


Eid-ul-Fitr is an important festival celebrated by the Muslim community in Kerala. It marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. The day begins with special prayers at mosques, followed by gatherings with family and friends. Traditional delicacies like biryani, sweets, and snacks are prepared and shared as part of the festive celebrations.


Kerala’s festivals are not limited to specific communities. Other notable festivals include Navratri, Christmas, and Vishuva Sankranti, which are celebrated by people of different religious backgrounds. These festivals provide an opportunity for people to come together, embrace diversity, and experience the cultural richness of Kerala.


Attending these vibrant festivals in Kerala offers a chance to witness the state’s cultural and religious traditions in all their splendor. The festivities, colorful processions, rituals, music, dance, and sumptuous feasts create an atmosphere of joy, harmony, and a deep connect to the spiritual and cultural heritage of Kerala.


Human by Nature Campaign: Concept and Objectives

The ‘Human by Nature’ campaign is an initiative launched by the Kerala Tourism Department with the aim of promoting sustainable tourism and showcasing the responsible and compassionate nature of the people of Kerala. It recognizes the harmony between humans and nature in the state and aims to create a balance between tourism development and environmental conservation.


The concept of the campaign revolves around the idea that humans are part of nature and can coexist with it in a harmonious and sustainable way. It highlights the deep-rooted connection that the people of Kerala have with their surroundings, emphasizing their respect for nature and their commitment to preserving it.


The primary objective of the ‘Human by Nature’ campaign is to raise awareness about sustainable tourism practices among tourists, locals, and stakeholders in the tourism industry. It aims to encourage responsible and ethical tourism that respects the environment, local communities, and the cultural heritage of Kerala.


One of the core objectives of the campaign is to promote the conservation of Kerala’s natural resources. This includes preserving the backwaters, forests, and wildlife sanctuaries, as well as adopting sustainable practices in tourism infrastructure and operations. This ensures that the natural beauty and ecological integrity of the state are protected for future generations.


The campaign also seeks to promote community-based tourism initiatives that empower local communities and preserve their cultural traditions. By involving local communities in tourism activities, the campaign aims to create economic opportunities and enhance the well-being of residents, while also encouraging visitors to engage in authentic and meaningful experiences.


The ‘Human by Nature’ campaign aims to foster a sense of environmental responsibility among tourists. Through educational programs, information campaigns, and the promotion of sustainable practices, it encourages tourists to minimize their impact on the environment, conserve resources, and respect local customs and traditions.


An integral part of the campaign is to promote responsible tourism practices among tourism operators and industry stakeholders. This involves encouraging businesses to adopt eco-friendly policies, reduce carbon footprints, and support local communities and conservation efforts.


Through the ‘Human by Nature’ campaign, Kerala aims to position itself as a leading sustainable tourism destination that cares for its natural beauty, cultural heritage, and the well-being of its people. By showcasing the responsible and compassionate nature of the people of Kerala, the campaign seeks to attract conscientious tourists who appreciate the value of sustainable travel and are eager to support and contribute to the preservation of this remarkable state.


Initiatives under Human by Nature Campaign

The ‘Human by Nature’ campaign in Kerala has led to the implementation of various initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable tourism and fostering a harmonious relationship between humans and nature. These initiatives are designed to create awareness, develop responsible tourism practices, and ensure the preservation of Kerala’s natural and cultural heritage.


One of the key initiatives under the campaign is the promotion of eco-friendly accommodations and resorts. The campaign encourages the use of eco-friendly practices, such as solar power, rainwater harvesting, waste management, and the preservation of natural habitats in the construction and operation of tourism establishments. Certifications, such as the Green Leaf and Responsible Tourism labels, are awarded to those accommodations that meet the required sustainability criteria.


The campaign also emphasizes the importance of responsible waste management. Initiatives have been implemented to encourage proper waste disposal and recycling practices in tourist areas and accommodations. Awareness programs educate both tourists and locals on the importance of reducing waste, segregating recyclables, and adopting sustainable waste management practices.


Community-based tourism initiatives have been promoted under the campaign. These initiatives involve the active involvement of local communities in tourism activities, allowing visitors to experience authentic cultural exchanges and contribute to the economic development of the community. Homestays, village tours, and local cultural performances are some examples of community-based tourism experiences offered in Kerala.


Education and awareness programs play a crucial role in the ‘Human by Nature’ campaign. Sustainable tourism practices, environmental conservation, and cultural sensitivities are promoted through workshops, seminars, and information campaigns targeted at tourists, tour operators, and local communities. These programs aim to foster a sense of responsibility and appreciation for the natural and cultural heritage of Kerala.


The campaign also highlights the importance of preserving Kerala’s biodiversity. Initiatives have been launched to protect and restore natural habitats and to promote responsible wildlife tourism. Efforts are made to create awareness about the ecological significance of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks and to discourage practices that may harm the natural environment.


To encourage responsible tourism behavior among tourists, the campaign promotes responsible traveler principles. These include respecting local customs and traditions, conserving resources, practicing responsible wildlife viewing, supporting local economies, and minimizing waste. Tourists are encouraged to make informed choices that contribute positively to the social, cultural, and environmental aspects of the places they visit.


The ‘Human by Nature’ campaign also focuses on capacity building and skill development for tourism stakeholders. Training programs are conducted to enhance the skills and knowledge of tour operators, guides, and hospitality staff in sustainable tourism practices. By equipping tourism professionals with the necessary skills, the campaign aims to ensure that sustainable tourism practices become an integral part of Kerala’s tourism industry.


These initiatives under the ‘Human by Nature’ campaign reflect Kerala’s commitment to promoting sustainable and responsible tourism. By integrating environmental and cultural conservation, community engagement, and responsible tourism practices, these initiatives contribute to the long-term sustainability and preservation of Kerala’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.


Impact and Success Stories

The ‘Human by Nature’ campaign in Kerala has made a significant impact on the tourism industry and the preservation of the state’s natural and cultural heritage. Through its initiatives and efforts, the campaign has achieved several success stories that highlight the positive outcomes of promoting sustainable and responsible tourism.


One of the notable impacts of the campaign is the increased awareness and understanding of sustainable tourism practices among tourists and local communities. Tourists visiting Kerala are now more conscious of their environmental footprint and are actively seeking out eco-friendly accommodations and experiences. This has led to a greater demand for responsible tourism offerings, encouraging more businesses to adopt sustainable practices.


The ‘Human by Nature’ campaign has also supported the growth of community-based tourism initiatives. By involving local communities in tourism activities, these initiatives have empowered residents, provided additional income opportunities, and preserved traditional cultural practices. Many success stories can be seen in villages across Kerala where local families have opened their homes as homestays, offering visitors an authentic and immersive cultural experience.


The campaign’s emphasis on waste management has resulted in significant improvements in waste disposal practices in tourist areas. Awareness programs and infrastructure developments have led to the proper segregation and recycling of waste, reducing the environmental impact of tourism and improving the overall cleanliness of popular tourist destinations.


Kerala’s commitment to preserving its biodiversity and wildlife has been strengthened through the ‘Human by Nature’ campaign. The campaign has raised awareness about responsible wildlife tourism, promoting ethical practices and respect for the natural habitats of animals. This has contributed to the conservation of wildlife and the protection of endangered species in the state.


Success stories can also be seen in the increased collaboration between tourism stakeholders, local communities, and governmental organizations. The campaign has facilitated partnerships that promote sustainable tourism practices, ensuring that all stakeholders work together to preserve Kerala’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. This collaborative approach has fostered a sense of shared responsibility and a commitment to the long-term sustainability of the tourism industry.


Furthermore, the ‘Human by Nature’ campaign has garnered recognition and accolades nationally and internationally. It has received awards and certifications from organizations acknowledging its role in promoting sustainable tourism and responsible practices. This recognition has not only showcased Kerala as a leader in sustainable tourism but has also inspired other destinations to adopt similar approaches.


The impact and success stories of the ‘Human by Nature’ campaign demonstrate the positive outcomes that can be achieved through responsible and sustainable tourism practices. By combining environmental conservation, community engagement, and a focus on cultural preservation, the campaign has played a crucial role in preserving Kerala’s natural beauty, empowering communities, and creating a more sustainable tourism industry.


Challenges and Opportunities

The ‘Human by Nature’ campaign in Kerala, while successful in promoting sustainable tourism practices, still faces certain challenges. Addressing these challenges effectively presents opportunities for further improvement and growth.


One of the key challenges is striking a balance between tourism development and environmental conservation. Managing the increasing tourist footfall while ensuring the preservation of fragile ecosystems and scenic landscapes requires careful planning and implementation of responsible tourism practices. This involves establishing carrying capacities for tourist destinations, creating infrastructure that minimizes environmental impact, and educating tourists about sustainable behavior.


Community participation and ownership are essential for the success of sustainable tourism initiatives. However, engaging and empowering local communities can be challenging. In some cases, communities may lack adequate resources, knowledge, or control over tourism activities. Providing support, capacity building, and ensuring that local communities benefit from tourism through fair economic opportunities are crucial steps to overcome this challenge.


There is a need for continued awareness and education among tourists about responsible tourism practices. While the ‘Human by Nature’ campaign has made significant progress in this regard, more efforts are needed to reach a wider audience and influence behavior change. Collaborations with travel agencies, tour operators, and online platforms can help disseminate information about sustainable tourism and encourage responsible choices by tourists.


Infrastructure and waste management continue to be areas that require attention. As tourism grows, ensuring adequate waste disposal facilities and systems becomes crucial. Increased investment in waste management infrastructure, including recycling facilities and waste treatment plants, can help address this challenge. Encouraging and incentivizing tourism businesses to adopt sustainable practices in waste management is also vital.


However, these challenges also present opportunities for Kerala’s tourism industry. By addressing these issues, the campaign can further develop Kerala as a leading sustainable tourism destination. The state’s unique natural and cultural heritage, coupled with its commitment to responsible tourism, positions it at an advantage to cater to the growing market demand for sustainable travel experiences.


The ‘Human by Nature’ campaign can explore collaboration opportunities with the private sector to promote sustainable tourism practices. Partnering with accommodations, tour operators, and other tourism businesses committed to sustainability can enhance the impact of the campaign and provide tourists with a wider range of responsible options.


Furthermore, the campaign can leverage technology to foster sustainable tourism practices. Digital platforms and mobile applications can be utilized to provide tourists with information on sustainable tourism opportunities, eco-friendly accommodations, and responsible travel tips. Technology can also facilitate better waste management practices and enable real-time monitoring of tourist activities to ensure compliance with sustainability guidelines.


Kerala’s commitment to sustainable tourism and its strong foundation in cultural heritage provide opportunities to develop niche tourism products. Ecotourism, rural tourism, wellness tourism, and community-based tourism can be further developed and marketed to attract responsible travelers seeking authentic and immersive experiences. These niche tourism segments not only showcase Kerala’s unique offerings but also provide economic benefits to local communities.


Overall, addressing the challenges and leveraging the opportunities presented by the ‘Human by Nature’ campaign will contribute to the long-term sustainability and success of Kerala’s tourism industry. It will help preserve the state’s natural beauty, empower communities, and create a destination that is celebrated for its commitment to sustainable and responsible tourism.



The ‘Human by Nature’ campaign in Kerala has emerged as a transformative force in promoting sustainable tourism practices, preserving the state’s natural beauty, and celebrating its cultural heritage. Through its initiatives and efforts, the campaign has successfully raised awareness about responsible tourism, encouraged community engagement, and fostered a harmonious relationship between humans and nature.


Kerala’s commitment to sustainable tourism has resulted in numerous positive outcomes. Tourists are now more conscious of their environmental impact and seek out eco-friendly accommodations and experiences. Waste management practices have improved, contributing to cleaner and greener tourist destinations. Community-based tourism initiatives have empowered local communities and preserved traditional cultural practices. Wildlife conservation and responsible wildlife tourism have gained importance, preserving the biodiversity of the state.


Challenges still exist, such as managing the balance between tourism development and environmental conservation, ensuring community participation, and educating tourists about responsible behavior. However, these challenges present opportunities for growth and improvement. Collaborations, technological advancements, and investment in infrastructure can address these challenges and propel Kerala’s sustainable tourism industry forward.


In conclusion, the ‘Human by Nature’ campaign in Kerala has demonstrated the importance of sustainable tourism practices in preserving the state’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. By promoting responsible tourism, involving local communities, and conserving the environment, Kerala has positioned itself as a leading destination for conscientious travelers. The success stories and impacts achieved so far serve as inspiration for other destinations to follow suit and adopt similar approaches.


As the ‘Human by Nature’ campaign continues to evolve, it is crucial to maintain the momentum and further strengthen the commitment to sustainable tourism in Kerala. By doing so, the state can continue to provide exceptional travel experiences, support local communities, and protect the natural and cultural treasures that make Kerala truly unique. Through responsible and compassionate practices, Kerala will undoubtedly remain a thriving and sustainable destination for generations to come.