This land of Parasurama stretches north-south along a coastline of 580 kms with a varying width of 35 to 120 kms. (File Photo)
This land of Parasurama stretches north-south along a coastline of 580 kms with a varying width of 35 to 120 kms. (File Photo)

Keralam, the land of kera or coconut, is a never-ending array of coconut palms…sun blanched beaches…kettuvallams over enchanting backwaters… magical monsoon showers…silent valleys vibrant with flora and fauna…misty mountains of the Western Ghats…fragrance of spices…evenings reverberating with the rhythm of a thousand artforms...fairs and festivals... Welcome to Kerala benign and beautiful!

Origin of Kerala has been linked to a legend dating back to Satya Yug. According to this legend, Kerala rose up from the sea when Lord Parasurama threw his axe into  it and the sea receded to bring up this narrow strip of land from underneath.

Lord Parasurama, believed to be the sixth avatar of Lord Mahavishnu, threw his axe from Gokarnam southward across the ocean in rage and in repentance for his actions of killing Kshatriyas. The land of Kerala emerged from the waters  of the Arabian Sea with the blessing of Varuna-the God of Oceans and Bhumidevi- the Goddess of Earth. The sobriquet "God's own Country" thus bestows itself on Kerala.

Kerala lies along the coastline, to the extreme south west of the Indian peninsula, flanked by the Arabian Sea on the west and the mountains of the Western Ghats on the east. This land of Parasurama stretches north-south along a coastline of 580 kms with a varying width of 35 to 120 kms.

Cascading delicately down the hills to the  coasts covered by verdant coconut groves, the topography and physical characteristics change distinctly from east to west. The nature of the terrain and its physical features, divides an east west cross section of the state into three distinct regions- hills and valleys, midland and plains and the coastal region. Located between north latitudes 8018' and 12048' and east longitudes 74052' and 72022', this land of eternal beauty encompasses 1.18 per cent of the country.

The Western Ghats, bordering the eastern boundary of the State, form an almost continuous mountain wall, except near Palakkad where there is a natural mountain pass known as the Palakkad Gap.

The average elevation of the Ghats is about 1500 meters above sea level, occasionally soaring to peaks of 2000 to 2500 m. From the Ghats, the land slopes to the west on to the plains, into an unbroken coastline.