Kerala, renowned as God’s own country, is a state in South India blessed with much natural beauty. With attractive beaches, rivers, backwaters, forests inhabited by varieties of flora and fauna, hills and mountains etc. nature has well molded the land. Along with the charming natural beauty, Kerala is a land enriched with so many cultural and historical centers. Kerala not only provides a peaceful habitat for the inhabitants, but also turns out to be a major attraction for the tourists around the world. In all these ways, Kerala proves to be eligible for the name “God’s own country”.
Kerala’s history takes us millenniums back. Stone carvings proving habitation in Kerala during the Neolithic age have been found in the Edakkal caves located at Edakkal of Wayanad, a northern district in Kerala. Many archaeological remains believed to be of the early stone ages have also been found in various parts of Kerala. The stone age sites include Perumkadavila (Thiruvananthapuram), Poredam, Valiyapadam, Sasthamkotta (Kollam), Kadamankulam (Pathanamthitta), Koothuparambil (Kannur) etc. Coming to the historical ages, Kerala had good trade relationship with the Sumerians, Egyptians, Arabs etc. Kerala was renowned as a spice center on those days also. Records say that Chera dynasty was the first powerful kingdom to rule parts of modern Kerala. Their kingdom once covered northern half of Kerala along with parts of TamilNadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The southern part of today’s Kerala was then ruled by Pandyas, who later invaded and ruled all regions covered by modern Kerala and TamilNadu along with parts of many other states and even Sri Lanka. It is said that Neendakara of Kollam was a renowned port in those days known by the name Nelcynda. Various Chola kings also ruled Kerala during those days. Some parts of Kerala were under the rule of Ays and Mushikas. A Keralite identity in language, culture, customs etc. distinct from Tamils emerged during the rule of Kulasekhara dynasty. The end of this rule due to frequent attacks brought Kerala under the rule of many Nair chieftains as small warring territories. Among them, Venad (in the south), Kochi(in the middle) and Zamorin/Samuthiri (in the North) were powerful and prominent. The expansion of Venad by emperor Marthandavarma led to the formation of the kingdom of Travancore with its capital at Padmanabhapuram (now part of Kanyakumari district), later shifted to Thiruvananthapuram, the current capital of Kerala. The kingdom extended from Kanyakumari in the south up to a part of Ernakulam district of modern Kerala in the north, including historical, heritage, tourist and pilgrim centers. During that period, the power over various regions of today’s Ernakulam, Thrissur and Palakkad districts vested in the hands of Kingdom of Kochi also known by the name Perumpadapp Swaroopam. It is believed that the first Maharaja of this kingdom was Veerakerala Varma, the nephew of last Cheraman Perumal, but records say that it was Unniraman Koyikal I. This kingdom once extended up to Ponnani of Malappuram district but later shrank to minimal extent and even had to shift their capital from Perumpadapp to Thrippunithura due to frequent attacks from Samuthiri. Zamorins of Kozhikode, otherwise known as Nediyirupp Swaroopam, ruled the parts of Kozhikode and Malappuram districts of today’s Kerala. Later, invading the kingdom of Kochi, Zamorins extended their power up to Edappally, a part of today’s Kochi. Many palaces and temples (including Guruvayur temple) in these regions have tales to tell about the rivalry between these two kingdoms. Later, Kerala witnessed the rivalry between the landlords being used up by the foreigners who tried to acquire power over these regions. Portuguese rule in India began following the arrival of Vasco da Gama at Kappad of Kozhikode district during the reign of Zamorin. Their power was overthrown by the Dutch who began their rule by conquering Kollam from the Portuguese. Later, the warring territories fell into the hands of British one by one. Kerala gave birth to many freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives and belongings for the liberation of homeland from the foreigners. Nine years after the independence of India, the state of Kerala was formed on 1st November 1956.