||Kerala is a state in the Indian Union located at the southern part of the Indian peninsula. It is bordered on the north by Karnataka, south and east by Tamil Nadu, and west by the Arabian sea. Thiruvananthapuram, the capital, Kochi and Kozhikode are the major Cities. The principal spoken language is Malayalam though other languages are also spoken. Kerala is one of the most densely populated states in India and ranks 12th among states in terms of population.
Kerala is mentioned in the ancient epic Mahabharata (800 BC) at several instances as a tribe, as a region and as a kingdom.Social and educational reforms enacted in the late 19th century by Cochin and Travancore were expanded upon by post-independence governments, making Kerala one of the most literate, healthiest, and gender-equitable regions in India.Kerala has one of the most advanced educational systems in India.According to legend, Kerala was an Asura-ruled kingdom under Mahabali. Onam, the national festival of Kerala, is dedicated to Maveli's memory. Another legend has Parasurama, an avatar of Mahavishnu, throwing his battle axe into the sea; from those waters, Kerala arose.
Kerala is wedged between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats. Lying between north latitudes 8°18' and 12°48' and east longitudes 74°52' and 72°22', Kerala is well within the humid equatorial tropics. Kerala’s coast runs for some 580 km (360 miles), while the state itself varies between 35 and 120 km (22–75 miles) in width. Geographically, Kerala can be divided into three climatically distinct regions: the eastern highlands (rugged and cool mountainous terrain), the central midlands (rolling hills), and the western lowlands (coastal plains). Located at the extreme southern tip of the Indian subcontinent, Kerala lies near the centre of the Indian tectonic plate; as such, most of the state is subject to comparatively little seismic and volcanic activity.Pre-Cambrian and Pleistocene geological formations compose the bulk of Kerala’s terrain.
With 120–140 rainy days per year, Kerala has a wet and maritime tropical climate influenced by the seasonal heavy rains of the southwest summer monsoon. In eastern Kerala, a drier tropical wet and dry climate prevails. Kerala's rainfall averages 3,107 mm annually. Some of Kerala's drier lowland regions average only 1,250 mm; the mountains of eastern Idukki district receive more than 5,000 mm of orographic precipitation, the highest in the state.
In summers, most of Kerala is prone to gale force winds, storm surges, cyclone-related torrential downpours, occasional droughts, and rises in sea level and storm activity resulting from global warming. Kerala’s maximum daily temperature averages 36.7 °C; the minimum is 19.8 °C. Mean annual temperatures range from 25.0–27.5 °C in the coastal lowlands to 20.0–22.5 °C in the highlands.Kerala's fourteen districts are distributed among Kerala's three historical regions: Malabar (northern Kerala), Kochi (central Kerala), and Travancore (southern Kerala). Kerala's modern-day districts (listed in order from north to south) correspond to them as follows:
Malabar: Kasaragod, Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad
Kochi: Thrissur, Ernakulam
Travancore: Kottayam, Idukki, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram
Main article: Corporations, Municipalities and Taluks of Kerala
Kerala's 14 revenue districts are further divided into 62 taluks, 1453 revenue villages and 1007 Gram panchayats.
Mahé, a part of the Indian union territory of Puducherry (Pondicherry), is a coastal exclave surrounded by Kerala on all of its landward approaches. Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) is the state capital and most populous city. Kochi is the most populous urban agglomeration and the major port city in Kerala. Kozhikode, Thrissur, and Kannur are the other major commercial centers of the state. The High Court of Kerala is located at Ernakulam. Kerala's districts, which serve as the administrative regions for taxation purposes, are further subdivided into 63 taluks; these have fiscal and administrative powers over settlements within their borders, including maintenance of local land records.
Like other Indian states, Kerala is governed through a parliamentary system of representative democracy; universal suffrage is granted to state residents. There are three branches of government. The unicameral legislature, known as the legislative assembly, comprises elected members and special office bearers (the Speaker and Deputy Speaker) elected by the members from among themselves. Assembly meetings are presided over by the Speaker and in his absence by the Deputy Speaker. Kerala has 140 Assembly constituencies. The state sends 20 members to the Lok Sabha and 9 to the Rajya Sabha, the Indian Parliament's upper house.
The judiciary comprises the Kerala High Court (including a Chief Justice combined with 26 permanent and two additional (pro tempore) justices) and a system of lower courts. The High Court of Kerala is the apex court for the state; it also hears cases from the Union Territory of Lakshadweep. Auxiliary authorities known as panchayats, for which local body elections are regularly held, govern local affairs.
Since its incorporation as a state, Kerala's economy largely operated under welfare based democratic socialist principles. In recent years, the state has liberalised its increasingly mixed economy, allowing greater participation by the free market and foreign direct investment. Kerala's nominal gross domestic product (as of 2004–2005) is an estimated 89451.99 crore INR,while recent GDP growth (9.2% in 2004–2005 and 7.4% in 2003–2004) has been robust compared to historical averages (2.3% annually in the 1980s and between 5.1% and 5.99%in the 1990s). The state has clocked a 8.93% growth in enterprises from 1998 to 2005 compared with the national average of 4.80%. Nevertheless, relatively few major corporations and manufacturing plants choose to operate in Kerala.This is mitigated by remittances sent home by overseas Keralites,which contributes around 20% of state GDP.Kerala's per capita GDP of 11,819 INR is significantly higher than the all India average,although it still lies far below the world average. Additionally, Kerala's Human Development Index and standard of living statistics are the nation's best. This apparent paradox—high human development and low economic development—is often dubbed the Kerala phenomenon or the Kerala model of development,and arises mainly from Kerala's strong service sector.