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History

The best place to begin a tour of Andhra Pradesh is Hyderabad, the capital. Hyderabad is very well - connected by air, rail and road to all major cities of India. The other major cities of the state are Secunderabad, Visakhapatnam, Waltair and Vijayawada. An efficient road and rail network connects every district to the state capital. Only Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Rajahmundry, Vijayawada and Tirupati are airlinked.

Andhra Pradesh has had its name changed many times. Emperor Ashoka called it 'The Land of the Andhras' the 'Satvahana' kings who were liberal and secular rulers and invited different religious people into the state ruled it. During Ashoka's rule, the state of Andhra Pradesh was a major Buddhist center. Around that time, the capital of the area was Amravati, where one can still find traces of the great artistic skills of the builders and artisans of the time.

In the 7th century, the Chalukya kings ruled over the state. They ruled for about 300 years and lost Description: History power around the 10th century AD to the Chola kings, who came invading from the south. Then, around the 13th century, the Kakatiyas came into power. They ruled from Warangal, which is situated in the North East of Hyderabad. Around this time, Sultans, who tried their luck over Andhra, were ruling Delhi. However, they could not get a foothold until 1323 AD, when Warangal was captured by Mohammad Bin Tughlag's army. But soon, the Hindus removed them from power. For the next 200 years, Andhra was popularly known as a part of the Vijayanagar Empire. These years saw many skirmishes between the Hindus and Muslims. Finally, in the 2nd half of the 16th century, the Vijaynagar Empire was removed after a crushing defeat at the Battle of Talikota and over a period of time, the Qutub Shahi Kings established themselves at Hyderabad. These kings are known for building the strong stone fortress of Golconda. Nearby are the impressive tombs of these Kings. At the end of the 17th century, this dynasty came to an end, when Andhra was taken over by a General of Aurangzeb. This general's successors came to be known as the Nizams of Hyderabad and took over after Aurangzeb's death. They ruled even after the Indian Independence of 1947. During the 18th century, the French and British immigrants spread their influence. They made an alliance with the then Nizam of Hyderabad, around the end of the 18th century. The Nizam gave the British, the right to trade as well as political control over the coastal areas of his province.

This helped him retain a certain kind of independence right through 1947. After Independence, the Nizam wanted to join Pakistan or keep an independent state, but in 1948, when the country was in deep chaos, the Indian Government took direct control of the state.

Description: HyderabadDuring the rule of the Nizams of Hyderabad the entire state became poorer and poorer, while the personal wealth of the Nizams increased. The last Nizam of Hyderabad was known as the richest man in the world. He had around 11,000 servants and more than half of his palace was used to store gold and jewellery. His paperweights were diamonds, the size of eggs, though he himself was quite a miser. During the rule of these Nizams, Hyderabad changed from the rest of the state and developed its own distinct manners, language and accents, cuisine, as well as crafts and festivals.

Hyderabad, the capital of the state was built by Sultan Quli Qutb Shah for his Hindu wife 'Bhagwati'. He called it 'Bhagyanagar'. Later, he bestowed upon his wife the title of 'Hyder Mahal' and in this way Hyderabad got its name. Today, Andhra Pradesh is an 'integral part of India, and is fast developing to become the forerunner in the field of Information Technology.

Post-Independence
Andhra Pradesh is one of the first states in India which was formed only on the linguistic basis. After India's independence, the andhras, that is, the Telugu-speaking people (although Urdu is widely spoken in Hyderabad) were distributed in about 21 districts. Out of them 9 were in the Nizam's Dominions and 12 in the Madras Presidency. But after an agitation, on October 1, 1953, 11 districts of the Madras State were consolidated to form a new andhra State with Kurnool as capital. Later, on November 1, 1956 the State Reorganization Commission recommended to enlarge the andhra State by adding nine districts which were in the Nizam's Dominion. The city of Hyderabad, became the capital of the enlarged Andhra Pradesh, which was also the capital of the Nizam.

Geography of Andhra Pradesh Description: Geography

·          Andhra Pradesh state (2001 provisional pop. 75,727,541), 106,052 sq mi (275,608 sq km), SE India, on the Bay of Bengal.

·         The capital is Hyderabad.

·         The state was created in 1956 from the Telugu-speaking portions of Madras and Hyderabad states.

·         Although the interior is mountainous, Andhra Pradesh is largely on a coastal plain drained by the Penner, Krishna, and Godavari rivers.

·         Rice, sugarcane, peanuts, and cotton are raised; coal, chrome, and manganese are mined. India's largest shipyard is located in Vishakhapatnam, and a satellite launch center is on Sriharikota Island.

Climate  Description: Climate

Temperature
Summer season lasts from March to May with temperatures ranging from 20 to 40 degrees centigrade. June to December is monsoon time and the weather remains hot and sultry. Winters are pleasant and last from October to February with temperatures varying from 13 to 32 degree centigrade.

Rainfall
Roughly, it can be said that rainfall is highest in the north and along the seaboard, varying between 40 and 45 inches, diminishing as one travels westward to 35, then 30, then 25, and finally to 20 inches in the south-western districts.

The Southwest monsoons play a major role in determining the climate of the state. Two-thirds of the state's rainfall is derived from the South West monsoon. Chittoor and Nellore districts experience the Northeastern monsoon that account for about one-third of the total rainfall in Andhra Pradesh.

In coastal areas rainfall is heavy; in some areas on the plateau especially in the north and west, it is sparse. Most of the region gets the oncoming monsoon rains from June to September, but the retreating monsoons around October-December bless the extreme south. The coastal regions are subjected to storms and cyclones in November-December.


Languages of Andhra Pradesh
Telugu, Urdu, Hindi, Banjara, and English followed by Tamil, Kannada, Marathi and Oriya.

Main Language :Telugu Language

The Origin of The Language
Teluguis a richly developed language and the biggest linguistic unit in India, second only to Hindi. Linguistically, the language has deviated a good deal from its southern sisters - Kannada, Tamil and Malayalam. It's an old one too, with origins as early as the 1st century AD, or perhaps even before as one of the later Vedas (700BC) mentions the Andhra’s, another name for the people of Andhra Pradesh.

Early inscriptions of the language date from around the 6th century, but a proper literary career starts five centuries later. The script, almost similar to that of Kannada, took shape in 1000AD from the Pahlava script of 7AD.

Telugu Translated From Sanskrit
Most literatures began with translations from Sanskrit. So did Telugu with Nannayabhatta (1020AD), the adikavi or 'first poet' of Telugutranslating the Mahabharata. It was a unusual translation, with lots of clever innovations but no deviations from the story. But Nannayabhatta couldn't complete the job. Tikanna came along sometime in the 13th century and furthered it. However, it was Yerrapragada (14th century) was finally able to clinch it. Nannaya, Tikanna and Yerrapragada are known as the kavitraya or 'the three great poets' of Telugufor this mammoth effort. Other such translations followed, like Marana's Markandeya Purana, Ketana's Dasakumara Charita, Yerrana's Harivamsa and others. Shaivite (in praise of Shiva) works like Sivatattwa Sara, Basavapurana and Panditaradhya Charitra were a part of this initial stash too.


How to Reach Hyderabad

By Air:
The Begampet airport is situated 8 km north of Abids. This airport is the nearest from the capital city of Hyderabad. It is well connected to most major Indian cities and some cities in abroad. Other important airports of the state include Tirupati, Vijayawada, and Vishakhapatnam.

By Rail:  There are three railway stations here - Hyderabad or Nampally, Secunderabad and Kacheguda. Secunderabad is the main station from where one can get trains to all major towns/cities of the country.

By Road:
 The several bus stands in Hyderabad, the main one is the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) Hyderabad/Imlibun complex at Gowliguda

Karnataka

History of Karnataka

A Pre-historic Brief
The pre-historic culture of Karnataka, the hand-axe culture, compares favourable with the one that existed in Africa and is quite distinct from the pre-historic culture of North India. The early inhabitants of Karnataka knew the use of iron far earlier than the North, and iron weapons, dating back to 1200 B.C have found at Hallur in Dhaward district.

Early rulers
The early rulers of Karnataka were predominantly from North India. Parts of Karnataka were subject to the rule of the Nandas and the Mauryas.

The Shathavahanas (30 B.C to 230 A.D of paithan) ruled over extensive areas in Northern Karnataka. Karnataka fell into the hands of the Pallavas of Kanchi. Pallavas domination was ended by indigenous dynasties, the Kadambas of Banavasi and the Gangas of Kolar, who divided Karnataka between themselves.

The Kadambas
The Kadamba Dynasty was founded by Mayurasharman in c. 345 A.D. Subjected to some kind of humiliation at the Pallava capital, this young brahmin gave up his hereditary priestly vacation and took to the life of a warrior and revolted aganist the Pallavas. The Pallavas were forced to recognise him as a sovereign when he crowned himself at Banavasi in Uttar Kannada Dt. One of his successors, Kakustha Varman (c. 435-55) was such a powerful ruler that even the Vakatakas and the guptas cultivated martial relationship with this family during his time. The great poet Kalidasa deems to have visited his court.

The Gangas
The Gangas started their rule from c. 350 from Kolara and later their capital was shifted to Talakadu (Mysore Dt.). Till the advent of the Badami Chalukyas, they were almost a sovereign power. Later they continued to rule ove Gangavadi (which comprised major parts of South Karnataka) till the close of the 10th century as subordinates of the Badami Chalukyas and the Rastrakutas.
The Badami Chalukyas

It is the Chalukyas of Badami who brought the whole of Karnataka under a single rule. They are also remembered for their contributions in the feild of art. Their monuments are found at Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal. The first great prince of the dynasty was Pulikeshin I (c. 540-66 A.D) who built the ashwamedha (horse sacrifice) after subduing many rulers including the Kadambas.

His grandson, Pulikeshin II (609-42) built a vast empire which extended from Narmada in the north to the Cauveri in the south. In the east, he overthrew the Vishnukundins and appointed his younger brother Vishnuvardhana, the voceroy of Vengi.

The Chalukyan empire included not only the whole of karnataka and Maharashtra, but the greater part of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Andra, and also parts of Orissa and Tamilnadu. Vikramaditya II (693-734) in the line defeated the Pallavas, entered the Pallava capital Kanchi victorious. The Chalukyan power was weakened in the long run by its wars with the Pallavas.

The Rastrakutas
In 753, Danthidurga, the Rastrakuta feudatory of the Chalukyas, overthrew the Chalukya king Keerthivarman II, and his family inherited the fortunes of the Chalukyas. The engraving of the celebrated monolithic Kailas temple at Ellora (now in Maharshtra) is attribuited to Danthidurga's uncle, Krishna I (756-74). Krishna's son, Dhruva (auto-93) crossed the Narmada, and after defeating celebrated princes like Vathsaraja (of the Gurjara Pratheehara family of central India) and Dharmapala of Bengal, extracted tribute from the ruler of Kanauji, 'the seat of India's paramountry'. His son Givinda III (793-814) also repeated the feast when he defeated Nagabhata II, the Gujara Pratheehara and Dharmapala of Bengal and again extracted tribute from the King of Kanauj.The achievements of the Chalukyas of Badami and the Rastrakutas by defeating the rulers of Kanauj have made their erathe "Age of Imperial Karnataka".

The Kalyana Chalukyas Description: http://www.onlytravelguide.com/images/karnataka/badami-caves_thumb2.jpg
The Chalukyas of Kalyana overthrew the Rastrakutas in 973, Someshwara I (10432068), succeeded in resisting the efforts of the Cholas to subdue Karnataka, and he built a new capital, Kalyana (mordern Basava Kaluyana in Bidar Dt.) The Chola king Rajadhiraja was killed by him at Koppar in 1054.

His son Vikramaditya VI (10762127) has been celebrated in history as the patron of the great jurist Vijnaneshwara, (work: mitakshara, standard work on Hindu law), and the emperor has been immortalised by poet Dilhana (haling from Kashmir) who chose this prince himself as the hero for his sanskrit poem, Vikramankadeva Charitam. Vikramaditya defeated the Paramaras of Centeral India thrice. In the South he captured Kanchi from the Cholas in 1085, and in the East, he conqured Vengi in 1093. His commander, Mahadeva built the Mahadeva temple at Itagi (Raichur Dt.) the finest Chalukyan monument. His son Someshwara III (1127-39) was a great scholar. He has written Manasollasa, a sanskrit encyclopedia and Vikrmankabhyudayam, a peom of which his father is the hero,

The Sevunas
The Sevunas (or Yadavas) who were foundatories of the Rastrakutas and the chalukyas of Kalyana, became a sovereign power from the days of Bhillama V (1173-92) who founded the new capital Devagiri (modern Daulathabad in Maharastra). Bhillama V captured Kalyana in 1186, and later clashed with Hoysala Ballala II at Sorarturu in 1190. Though he lost the battle.He built a vast kingdom, extending from the Narmada to the Krishna. His son Jaitugi (1192-99) not only defeated Parmara Subhata varma, but also killed the Kakatiya kings of Orangal, Rudra and Mahadeva.

Singhana II (11992247), the greatest of the Sevunas, extended the Sevuna kingdom upto the Tungabhadra. But the Servunas were defeated by the army of the Delhi Sultan in 1296, and again in 1307 and finally in 1318, and thus the kingdom was wiped out. The Sevunas have become in immortal in history by the writings of the mathematician Baskarasharya, of the great writer on music, Sharngadeva, and of the celebrated scholar Hemadri.

The Hoysalas
The Hoyasala continued the great traditions of their art-loving overlords the Kalyana Chalukyas, and their fine temples are found at Beluru, Helebidu and Somanathapura. Vishnuvardhana (11082141) freed Gangavadi from the Cholas (who had held it from 999), and in commemoration of his victory, built the celebrated Vijayanarayana (Chennakeshva) Temple at Belur.

His commander Katamalla built the famous Hoysaleshwara temple at Halebidu.

Though Vishnuvardhana did not succeed in his serious effort to overthrow the Chalukyan yoke, his grandson Balla II (11732220) not only became free, but even defeated Sevuna Bhillama V at Soraturu in 1190, after having defeated Chalukyas Someshwara IV in 1187. When the Cholas were attacted by the Pandyas in Tamilnadu, Balla II drove the Pandyas back and thus assumed the title "Establisher of the Chola Kingdom". Later, in the days of his son Narasimha II (1120-35), Hoysalas even secured a foothold in Tamilnadu and Kuppam, near Srirangam became a second capital of the Hoysalas.

Ballala III (12912343), the last Hoysala, had to struggle hard to hold his own against the invasion of the Delhi Sultan. He died fighting the Sultan of Madhurai. It was his commanders, Harihara and Bukka, who founded the Vijayanagra Kingdom, which later grew to be an empire. Hoyasala age saw great kannada poets like Rudrabhatta, Janna, Harihara and Raghavanka. Hoysala temples at Beluru, Halebidu, Somanathapur, Arasikere, Amritapura etc., are wonderful works of art.

Karnataka Under Vijayanagar Empire
The most celebrated dynasty that ruled Karnataka is the Vijayanagar dynasty. The Vijyanagar kings were the greatest of all medieval Hindu empires and were lovers of fine arts. They have contributed a lot to the culture and traditions of the state. Many foreign visitors who came to this place during this period have described it as one of the most prosperous states.

The Fall of Vijayanagar Empire
The grand Vijayanagar dynasty disintegrated with its capital at Hampi after the attack of the Deccan Sultan in 1565 A.D. Therefore, Bijapur was established as the capital and many monuments were build around the city. It was ruled by the Bahmani Shahis and the Adilshahis, who have contributed a lot to the architecture, art and the spread of Islam in the state.

The Muslim Domination and The British Control
Later, the state was ruled by Hyder Ali and his brave son Tipu Sultan. They were responsible for the expansion of the Mysore kingdom. Tipu was a great scholar and lover of literature. He was a good administrator and offered expensive gifts to the Hindu temples. Tipu Sultan was also known as "Tiger of Karnataka", since he fought bravely with the British and never allowed them to overpower Mysore . He was killed in 1799 A.D. and thus the throne of Mysore went into the hands of Wodeyar's. In the beginning of the 19th century, entire Karnataka came under the control of the British.

Karataka Post-Independence
After India's Independence, the state of Mysore was governed by the Maharaja of Mysore, who was appointed by Independent India. But later, on November 1, 1973, the integrated state was renamed as Karnataka.

GEOGRAPHY OF KARNATAKA

Vital Statistics

Area : 1,91,791 square kilometers
Population : 44,977,201 (1991 census)
Capital : Bangalore

  • Literacy rate : 56.04%
  • Extending over 1,92,000 sq. km. on the western half of the Deccan plateau bounded by Andhra Pradesh in the east, Maharashtra in the north and Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the south, Karntaka has a population of over 45 millions.
  • The coast about 330 km long with its silver sand beaches and blue lagoons hedged by miles and miles of tall, waving, palmgroves against the back drop of majestic mountain regions is strikingly beautiful.
  • The Malnad stretches about 650 km from north to south with an undulating range of mountains.

Karnataka Coastal Region Description: http://www.onlytravelguide.com/images/karnataka/geography_thumb.jpg

The Karnataka Coastal Region, which extends between the Western Ghats, edge of the Karnataka Plateau in the east and the Arabian Sea in the West, covers Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada districts. This region is traversed by several ridges and spurs of Western Ghats. It has difficult terrain full of rivers, creeks, water falls, peaks and ranges of hills. The coastal region consists of two broad physical units, the plains and the Western Ghats. The Coastal plains, represent a narrow stretch of estuarine and marine plains. The abrupt rise at the eastern flanks forms the Western Ghats. The northern parts of the ghats are of lower elevation (450-600 metres) as compared to Southern parts (900 to 1,500 metres). The Coastal belt with an average width of 50 to 80 km covers a distance of about 267 km. from north to south.

  • There are quite a few high peaks both in Western and Eastern Ghat systems with altitudes more than 1,500 metres.
  • Among the tallest peaks of Karnataka are the Mullayyana Giri (1,925 m), Bababudangiri (Chandradrona Parvata 1,894 m) and the Kudremukh (1,895 m) all in Chikmagalur Dt. and the Pushpagiri (1,908 m) in Kodagu Dt. There are a dozen peaks which rise above the height of 1,500 metres.

Climate

Climate Semi-tropical Seasons Summer, March to May (18oC to 40oC); Winter December, March to May (14oC to 32oC);
Seasons, South-West Monsoon: June to August; North-East
Monsoon October to December

Rainfall 500 mm to over 4000 mm

Language(Kannad):

The official Language of Karnataka State
Kannada is almost as old as Tamil, the truest of the Dravidian family. Initially the area of the Kannada speech extended much further to the north than present Karnataka, but was pushed back by the Aryan Marathi.

The Kannada Literature
The early (pre 800AD) bits and pieces of Kannada literature are insufficient to lay claims to the literature’s origins. The oldest extant book is king Nripatunga’s literary critique Kavi Raja Marga (circa 840). Jainism being a popular religion at the time, there were some Jaina poets like Srivijaya and Guna Varman I.
A new trend began with the ‘Three Gems’ of Kannada literature, Pampa, Ponna and Ranna in the 10th century, where prose and verse were mixed – the campu style. The three poets extensively wrote on episodes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata and Jain legends and biographies. Chavunda Raya, Ranna’s elder contemporary then came up with an elaborate work – a history of all the 24 Jaina tirthankaras (saintly teachers). The Chola kings of Tamil-land got too aggressive around the 11th century and fought wars.
This meant a lean phase in literary activities except for the works of a few writers like Naga Chandra, known for his Jain Ramayana, the Jain poetess Kanti, the grammarian Naga Varman II who wrote Karnataka Bhasha Bhushana in Sanskrit sutras (aphorisms), and Kirtti Varman and Vritta Vilasa.

The middle phase--(1150-1800AD)
The middle phase of Kannada literature (1150-1800AD) saw the power of Puranic Hinduism over Jainism. A very distinct phase of writing began the second half of the 12th century in the Vira-Shaiva phase with Basava’s Vachanas.
There was a spate of writers like Harihara, Raghavanka and Kereya Padmarasa writing fervently about Shiva in the 12th-13th centuries.
Rebellion against the orthodox rituals came from the brilliant poetess Akkamahadevi, a harbinger of Bhakti poetry (see below).
The Jains, too, weren’t idle all this while; they composed legendary histories of various tirthankaras (ford makers). In all, the 13th century was chock-full with poems, literary criticism, grammar, natural science and translations from Sanskrit.

Kannada literature Has Strong Hindu Influence
Kannada literature took a strong Hindu bend with the orthodox Vijayanagara kings (14th-15th AD). Some eminent names were Bhima Kavi, Padmanaka, Mallanarya, Singiraja and Chamarasa. The Bhakti movement also affected Kannada literature in the 15th and 16th centuries. The Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas were translated afresh using the folk meters satpadi and regale. Devotional songs of dasas or singing mendicants were compiled, which formed an important part of popular literature.

The Change of Language From Middle To Modern Kannada
The next two centuries were a busy period with many rules, of the Wodeyar kings, Bijapur Sultans and Mughals, and much literary activity.
Bhattakalanka Deva’s Karnataka Shabdaushasana (1604AD) on grammar, Sakdakshara Deva’s romantic campu the Rajshekhara Vilasa (1657AD), the historical compositions of the Wodeyar period (1650-1713AD), Nijaguna Yogi’s Viveka Chintamani of Shaiva lore (mid 17th century), Nanja Raja’s Puranic works the Shiva Bhakti Mahatmya and Hari Vamsa (circa 1760), were some of the notable creations.
All this while the language was changing from Middle to Modern Kannada. The popular Yakshagana, dramatization of Puranic tales with much singing, was an innovation of the late 18th century. A good mass of folk poetry thus came to be written.

Modern education made a late entry in Karnataka as compared to other parts of India. Works based on Sanskrit models, like Shakuntala of Basavappa Shastri, continued till the late 19th century. With a little initiation from the Christian missionaries, the Academy of Kannada Literature was set up in Bangalore in 1914.

Gradually modern literature gained tempo and translations were made from English, Bengali and Marathi. Kerur and Galaganatha attempted the first novels in Kannada, followed by a host of novelists like Shivarama Karanta, K. V. Puttapa, G P Rajaratnam, Basavaraja Kattimani, Nanjanagudu Tirumalamba (the first major woman writer in modern Kannada) and others.

The short story too made its advent with Panje Mangesha Rao and Masti Venkatesha Ayyangar. A new trend in drama began with the use of colloquial language. Poetry, too, wasn’t left behind; B. M. Shrikanthayya too Kannada poetry to great heights with innovations like the blank verse.

Literature in Kannada today is a big enterprise, with bustling centres like the University of Mysore, the Karnataka University at Dharwar and the Kannada Sahitya Parishad of Mysore.

HOW TO REACH Karnataka

By Air: There are many flights catering to national and international places. Karnataka is connected with Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Madras, Pune, Coimbatore, Goa, Trivandrum, Hyderabad and Calicut.

By Rail: One can depend on railways for getting to Karnataka. Bangalore, the main city, has two railway stations. There are railways running directly to Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bombay, Kolkata, Cochin, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Mangalore, Mysore, Madras, Nagpur, Trivandrum and Goa.

By Road: The well-maintained bus-routes and stands in Karnataka allow people to travel to Karnataka by road. Bus is a most economical way to reach here.

 

HISTORY OF KERALA

Description: http://www.onlytravelguide.com/images/kerala/thalassery-fort_thumb.jpgKerala is truly the undiscovered India. It is God's own country and an enchantingly beautiful, emerald-green sliver of land. It is a tropical paradise far from the tourist trial at the southwestern peninsular tip, sandwiched between the tall mountains and the deep sea. Kerala is a long stretch of enchanting greenery. The tall exotic coconut palm dominates the landscape.

There is a persistent legend which says that Parasuram, the 6th incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the Hindu Trinity, stood on a high place in the mountains, threw an axe far in to the sea, and commanded the sea to retreat. And the land that emerged all from the waters became Kerala, the land of plenty and prosperity.

Kerala is a 560-km long narrow stretch of land. At the widest, Kerala is a mere 120-km from the sea to the mountains. Gracing one side of Kerala, are the lofty mountains ranging high to kiss the sky. And on the other side the land is washed by the blue Arabian Sea waters. The land is covered with dense tropical forest, fertile plains, beautiful beaches, cliffs, rocky coasts, an intricate maze of backwaters, still bays and an astounding 44 glimmering rivers. Kerala's exotic spices have lured foreigners to her coast from time immemorial.

Earlier, Kerala was made up of three distinct areas. Malabar as far up the coast as Tellicherry, Cannanore and Kasargode with the tiny pocket-handkerchief French possession of Mahe nearby (it was returned to India in the early 1950 's and is now administratively part of Pondicherry). This area belonged to what was once called the Madras Presidency under the British. The middle section is formed by the princely State of Cochin; the third comprises Travancore, another princely State.

Early inhabitants of Kerala
Archaeologists believe that the first citizens of Kerala were the hunter-gatherers, the ting Negrito people. These people still inhabit the mountains of southern India today, consequently, they had a good knowledge of herbal medicine and were skilled in interpreting natural phenomena. The next race of people in Kerala were believed to be the Austriches. The Austric people of Kerala are of the same stock as the present-day Australian Aborigines. They were the people who laid the foundation of Indian civilizations and introduced the cultivation of rice and vegetables, which are still part of Kerala scene. They also introduced snake-worship in Kerala. Traces of such worship and ancient rites have been found among the Aboriginal tribes of Australia. Austric features can still be seen fairly and clearly among the people of Kerala today. Then came the Dravidians (The Mediterranean people). Dravidian absorbed many of the beliefs of the Negrito and Austric people, but they were strongly inclined to the worship of the Mother Goddess in all her myriad forms: Protector, Avenger, Bestower of wealth, wisdom and arts.

The Dravidians migrated to the southwards, carrying their civilization with them, though leaving their considerable cultural input on their successors, the Aryans (indo - Iranians). But Kerala is still strongly influenced by the Dravidian culture: urbane, cash-crop and trade oriented, and with strong maternalistic biases. The Aryans have made a deep impression on Kerala in late proto-historic times.

Jewish and Arabs trade's were the first to come to Kerala sailing in the ships to set up trading stations. The Apostle of Christ, St. Thomas is believed to have come to Muziris in AD 52 and established the first church in Kerala .

Portuguese discovered the sea route to India from Europe when Vasco da gama landed with his ship near Kappad in Calicut in AD 1498. Slowly the Kerala society became a mix of people belonging to various sects of Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. The arrival of Portuguese was followed by the Dutch, the French and finally the British.The State of Kerala was created on the 1st of November 1956. The Keralites celebrate this day as 'Kerala piravi' meaning the 'Birth of Kerala'.

Geography
Description: http://www.onlytravelguide.com/images/kerala/geography_thumb.jpg

  • It has an area of 15,005 sq. miles. [38,863 sq. km. ] about one percent of the total land area of India.
  • The state stretches for about 360 miles along the Malabar coast on the western side of the Indian peninsula; its width varies from 20 to 75 miles. It is bordered by the states of karnataka on the north, Tamil Nadu to the east and the arabian sea to the west (map).
  • Kerala is situated at the Southwest tip of India main land on the Arabian Sea.
  • Kerala is bound by Arabian Sea on the west, Karnataka on the north and northeast, and Tamil Nadu on the east.
  • The state can be divided into hills and valleys, midland plains and coastal belts.
  • The hills of Kerala dot the Western Ghat from Ponmudi in the south to Munnar in the centre and Sultan's Bathery in the north.
  • In the coastal belts of this state are situated world famous backwaters that are more or less main attraction of Kerala.
  • Climate of the Kerala is tropical

Climate
Climate: Equable Climate that varies from Season to Season
Major Factors affecting the Climate: The Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats
Best time round the year: September to February
Kerala, the land surrounded by the pristine waters of the Arabian Sea, has an equable climate that varies from season to season.

The presence of the Western Ghats on the eastern side of the state and across the path of the southwest monsoon creates an important climatic zone with copious rainfall on the windward side and a dry belt on the lee side in the east.

The Climate of Kerala can be clasified roughly into three categories. The summer in Kerala lasts from March to May and is followed by the southwest monsoon spell lasting until the middle of October. The northeast monsoons take over the relay around this time and linger on till the month of February.

Temperature
Even at the height of the monsoons, the temperature rarely dips below a pleasant 18 degrees c. It has a warm and pleasant tropical monsoon climate with seasonally excessive rainfall.

The climate is pleasant from September to February, which is also the peak tourist season. The summer months are warm and humid with a mean max temperature of about 33 degree c.
Temperature
Winter Max: 21°C ; Min: 18°C
Summer Max: 33°C ; Min: 27°C

Rain Fall
Kerala is blessed with plentiful rain, 54% to 85% of which is contributed by the monsoons. Monsoons bring to Kerala two rainy seasons-the southwest monsoon or the Edavappathi, bringing rains during June-September, and the north east monsoon or the Thulavarsham during October to December.

Kerala is directly exposed to the southwest monsoon but also receives rain from the reverse (northeast) monsoon. Rainfall averages about 118 inches (3,000 millimetres) annually statewide, with some slopes receiving more than 200 inches.

The north east monsoon season begins from the middle of October and lasts upto the end of February, though the rain associated with it ceases by December. The total annual rainfall in the state varies from 380 cms over the extreme northern parts to about 180 cms to the south.

The amount of rainfall decreases towards the south almost in proportion with the decrease in altitude of the Western Ghats. July receives the maximum rainfall with all meterological centres recording about 25 rainy days. Neriyamangalam in Ernakulam district records the highest amount of rainfall 104 cms.

Language

Main Language : Malayalam
Malayalam is the official language of Kerala. It belongs to the Dravidian languages category. The language is rich in literature as many literary. The language has close resemblance to Tamil, another language of Dravidian origin. Tamil greatly influenced the early development of Malayalam. English stands only second to Sanskrit in its influence in Malayalam. Hundreds of individual lexical items and may idiomatic expressions in modern Malayalam are of English origin.

The Changing Trends of Malayalam
Malayalam literature takes a lazy and winding route till the end of the 18th century, after which the modern period begins. The Ramacharitam (1300AD) is the oldest Malayalam text. Writings of the first few centuries were in Mani-pravalam or the ‘high style’.

This went on until Cherusseri Namboodiri turned his attention to pure Malayalam and wrote Krishna Gatha in early 15th century. This was again followed by a generation of campu compositions, a mixture of prose and verse with a liberal sprinkling of Sanskrit words. The themes were from the great Sanskrit epics and Puranas. As late as the 17th century, the first big Malayali poet, Tunchattu Ramanuja Ezhuttachchan adopted the Sanskrit alphabet in place of Malayalam’s incomplete one. A new literary type arose in the 18th century, the Tullal or dance drama, which again dipped into the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas for themes.

Kotungallur and Trivandrum -- The Major Centers of Literary Activities
Kotungallur (in North Kerala) and Trivandrum (in South Kerala) became the two hectic centers of literary activity in the second half of the 19th century. Volumes of translations were being written – Valiya Koyil Tampuran’s Shakuntala (1881), Kunnikkuttan Tampuran’s Hamlet and Mahabharata, Vallattol Narayana Menon’s Ramayana (1878) and others.

The Famous Writers
It was a period of original works too, with a flood of essays on historical and literary topics, dramas, novels and poems, and literary journals. The first and original novel in Malayalam was T. M. Appu Netunnati’s Kundalata (1887), but more popular was Chantu Menon’s Indulekha (1889).

Some of the later novelists were Vennayil Kunniraman Nayanar, Appan Tampuran, V. K. Kunnan Menon, Ambati Narayana Potuval and C. P. Achyuta Menon who grounded the present day Malayalam prose style. Vaikkom Mohammad Bashir is one of the most loved literary figures of Kerala. Some poets of the modern school are Kumaran Ashan, G. Sankara Kurup, K. K. Raja, Channampuzha Krishna Pilla and N. Balamaniyamma.

As the state with the highest literacy rate, Kerala is one of the intellectual centers of the country. It is just the place for literature and litterateurs today.

HOW TO REACH KERALA

Geographical Kerala is located in the southwestern tip of the Indian peninsula and extends between the latitude 10°00 North and longitude 76°25 East. Kerala is bound by the Arabian Sea on the west, Karnataka on the North and Northeast, and Tamil Nadu on the east.

The Malabar Coast of India is the site of Kerala location. Geographical Kerala is a part of the coastal belt with the hill ranges known as the Western Ghats running along the length of Kerala. Rain bearing clouds of the South west monsoon bring heavy rainfall to geographical Kerala during the months May to September. Tropical rainfall occurs often during the year. Geographical Kerala is a tropical region, with weather being pleasant for most of the year. Humidity increases during the monsoon season. Kerala location gives it its unique climatic and geographic features.

Kerala has a coastal belt with sandy beaches and palm lined shores. The seaside Kerala location, makes it a pleasant holiday destination, with sunny beaches and serene backwaters. The hill ranges of Kerala have hill stations, wildlife sanctuaries, tea estates and spice plantations. Geographical Kerala exhibits diversity in climate within the compact Kerala location on the Malabar Coast of India.

The state of Kerala is a narrow strip located along Arabian Sea in the southernmost tip of Indian Peninsula. The state has been crisscrossed by a number of water bodies (popularly known as backwaters). This has given birth to internal water navigation systems, which also work as the major trade ways in the state. These backwaters of late have become the major tourist attractions of Kerala and people have started offering luxurious houseboat accommodations to the visitors.

Air Transport
Reaching to Kerala is not a difficult thing. Thiruvananthapuram, the state capital, is connected to most of the major airports in India, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Bangalore. As the Thiruvananthapuram is an international airport, there are considerable connections to gulf countries also from this airport. Kochi and Calicut are other two airports connected from air to other cities in India.

Rail Transport
Rails are another good way of moving inside and from the outside Kerala. There are around 200 railway stations in Kerala connecting most of the places in the state to places in the other parts of the country and inside the state. Long-distance express trains connect important places in Kerala to places outside the state like Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, and Kolkata.

Road Transport
Roads in Kerala are in much better shape than other states in India. Major modes of road transport are buses, tourist taxis, cars, and local taxis and autos. State is connected with other parts of South India by a number of National Highways. Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh are some of the neighboring states that are easily connected to Kerala through roads.

Water Transport
From Cochin (Kochi), there are regular ships venturing towards the Lakshadweep Islands. Inside, backwaters of Kerala act not only as a popular transportation medium but are tourist attractions in themselves. These internal water navigation systems are today the single most popular travel product of Kerala.

Tamil Nadu

HISTORY OF TAMIL NADU

Description: Arjuna_PenanceTamil Nadu which holds in itself a land, a language and a culture existed since the prehistoric times. Human settlement here is said to have existed cotemporary to the civilizations in other parts of world. They existed not as isolated regions of human settlements but was connected through trade. Tamil Nadu was earlier known as Tamilham. The existence of ports such as Arikamedu, Karipattinam, Korkai ware proofs of the Tamilian advancement in establishing relations with other regions of the world. The Tamilians were said to be of Dravidian origin and they originally resided in the north west. With the advancement of the Indo-Aryans the Dravidians were e pushed south. The Sangam literature is the basis of Tamil History, culture and organisations from the 3rd century AD. The Cholas , the Pallavas, the Pandyas and the Cheras had their influence on Tamil Nadu and established their kingdoms. The Pallavas established their reign at kanchipuram in about the 4th century Ad. They held power over the land of the Tamils from 6th and 9th centuries. At the end of the 9th century the Cholas established themselves they extended their empire and established contacts South East Asia.

In the 13 the century the Pandyas dominated. The establishment of the Vijayanagar empire brought the downfall of the Pandyas. This empire ruled till the 16th century preserving and promoting Hindu culture. The Muslim powers influenced this region politically. The Marathas also influenced Madurai and Thanjavur till the advent of the English who wrested power from the French. During the 17th and the 18th centuries, conflicts between the trading companies of Europe for control of the major parts in the east. The British managed to control this region in the 19th century. This region was under the domain of the East India Company and continued till independence after which the three states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa were formed. The region under the jurisdiction of the Madras Presidency formed into a single unit and named Tamil Nadu in 1969.

Modern History (17th century)
Description: Thirumalai Nayak Mahal
The Dutch accomplished a settlement in Pulicat around 1609. The British, under the British East India Company, established a settlement further south, in present day Chennai, in the year 1639. The British took advantage of the petty quarrels among the provincial rulers (divide and rule) to expand their area of power.

The British fought with the various European powers, notably the French at Vandavasi (Wandiwash) in 1760, and the Dutch at Tharangambadi (Tranquebar), driving the Dutch away entirely, and reducing the French dominions in India to Pondicherry. The British also fought four wars with the Kingdom of Mysore under Hyder Ali and later his son Tipu Sultan, which led to their eventual domination of India's south. They consolidated southern India into the Madras Presidency.

The nationalist movement in Tamil Nadu was a movement of historical depth. Its starting point is the late eighteenth century. Early manifestations of anti-colonial feeling in Tamil Nadu were the rebellions led by the Poligars of Tirunelveli and Shivagana, and the sepoy revolt at Vellore in 1806.

Some important Chieftains or Poligars of Tamil Nadu, who fought the British East India Company as it was expanding, were Veerapandya Kattabomman, Maruthus and Pulithevan.

Tamil Nadu After Independence
After India gained independence in 1947, Madras Presidency became Madras State, comprising of present day Tamil Nadu, coastal andhra Pradesh, northern Kerala, and the southwest coast of Karnataka.

The state was later divided on the basis of linguistic lines. In 1953 the northern districts formed Andhra Pradesh. Under the States Reorganization Act, 1956, Madras State lost its western coastal districts. The Bellary and South Kanara districts were given to Mysore state, and Kerala was formed from the Malabar district, the former princely states of Travancore and Cochin. Finally, in 1968, when the Central Government imposed Hindi as the national language, the state of Madras was renamed Tamil Nadu, to reduce the resistance against this decision of the government.

Today, Tamil Nadu is one of the most prominent states of India, famous for its tourist attractions and drawing innumerable visitor's to the state.

The People: Tamil, the official state language, is spoken by most of the people. The main religions in the state are Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, and Jainism. Hindu families owe allegiance to a number of sectarian monastic institutions, or maths, of which the most important is the Shankara Math at Kumbakonam. Although Tamil Nadu is one of the most urbanized states of India, it is still a rural land; agriculture is the mainstay of life for about three-quarters of the rural population. Tamil Nadu is rich in handicrafts; notable among them are handloomed silk, metal icons, leather work, kalamkari (hand-painted fabric, using natural dyes), brass, bronze, and copper wares, and carved wood, palm leaf, and cane articles.

HOW TO REACH TAMIL NADU

By Air
The Anna International Airport, 16 km south of Chennai, has flights to/from Sri Lanka, Dubai, Germany, Jakarta, Malaysia, England, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore. Most major Indian cities are also connected to Chennai by regular domestic flights. By Rail
The railway station at Chennai has connecting trains to/from all major cities in India.

By Road
The entire state is connected through an extensive network of metalled roads. Ferry services are also available in Chennai. touristplacesinindia can arrange for all local transport during your visit to any of the cities of Tamil Nadu.

Local Transportation: For local transportation local trains, city buses, auto rickshaws and taxis are available. But buses and trains are the most popular public transport for traveling within the state.

So, just plan to visit Tamil Nadu and discover numerous temples, beautiful beaches, diverse wildlife sanctuaries and the richness of other monuments. From the Meenakshi Temple to Rock Fort Temple, from Ooty to Chennai, from Marina Beach to Covelong Beach; from Bharatnatyam to Kanjeevaram Sarees, Tamil Nadu is truly an awesome experience.