Kerala is one of India’s 29 states and 7 union territories. Run by a communist Marxist party, its capital is Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) and its largest city is Kochi.
It was established as a state in 1956, has a population of 33,406,061 and covers 38,863 km². Its official language is Malayalam and, fortunately for us, its other official language is English.
Kerala has the 12th largest economy in India, the highest literacy rate, lowest positive population rate, highest life expectancy (of 77) and highest sex ratio: 1,084 women to 1,000 men in the country.
With the Arabian Sea and the Lakshapweep Islands to the west, the state runs 595 km along India’s south west Malabar Coast. At its widest it is only 120 km.
Running north to south along Kerala’s eastern border are the Western Ghats, also known as the Sahyadri (Benevolent Mountains), which are older than the Himalayas. They influence the movement of the monsoon and contain a large proportion of the country’s flora and fauna. UNESCO has listed a total of 39 heritage spots all along the Western Ghats, of which Kerala takes credit for as many as 20 heritage sites, making the state an important eco sensitive destination.