|Area||38,863 sq. km.|
|Density (persons per sq.km)||860/sq.km|
|Sex Ratio (females per 1000 males)||1,084|
The state of Kerala is a narrow strip of land, tucked away in the southwest corner of India. Though it covers only 1.18% of the total area of India, it supports about 3.43% of the total population of the country.
Kerala can be divided into 3 Geographical regions. 1) Highlands, 2) Midlands and 3)Low Lands . The High lands slope down from the Western Ghats which rise to an average height of 900 m, with a number of peaks well over 1,800 m in height. This is the area of major plantations like tea, coffee, rubber, cardamom etc.
The midlands lying between the mountains and the lowlands, is made up of undulating hills and valleys. This is an area of intensive cultivations. Cashew, coconut, arecanut, cassava (tapioca), banana, rice, ginger, pepper, sugar-cane and vegetables of different varieties are grown in this area.
The lowlands or the coastal area, which is made up of the river deltas, backwaters and shore of Arabian sea, is essentially a land of coconuts and rice., Fisheries and coir industry constitute the major industries of this area.
Kerala is a land of rivers and backwaters., Forty-four rivers(41 west-flowing and 3 east-flowing) cut across Kerala with their innumerable tributaries and branches but these rivers are comparatively small and being entirely monsoon fed, practically turn into rivulets in summer, especially in the upper areas.
The backwaters form a specially attractive and economically valuable feature of Kerala. They include lakes and ocean inlets which stretch water into the Vembanad Lake, some 200 sq.km. in area, which opens out into the Arabian Sea at Cochin Port. The Periyar, Pamba Manimala, Achenkovil, Meenachil, and Movattupuzha rivers drain into this lake. The other important lakes are AnjuThengu,Edava, Nadayaram Paravoor, Ashtamudi (Quilon), Kayamkulam, Kodungallor, (Cranganore) and Cheruva. The deltas of the rivers interlink the backwaters and provide excellent water transportation in the lowlands of Kerala. A navigable canal, 367 Km long, stretches from Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala, to Tirur in the far north.
When India became free, there were three administrations were ruling this region - two princely states Travancore and Cochin, and Malabar which was under the direct administration of the British. One of the first steps taken by independent India was to amalgamate small states together so as to make them viable administrative units.
Accordingly Travancore and Cochin states were integrated to form Travancore-Cochin State on 1st July 1949. However, Malabar remained as part of the Madras Province. Under the States Re-Organisation Act of 1956, Travancore-Cochin state and Malabar were united to form the State of Kerala on 1st November 1956
Some Territorial adjustments had necessarily to be made on re-organization. In this adjustment, Kerala lost to Madras(now Tamil nadu) the taluks of Thovala, Agasteeswaram, Kalkulam, and Vilavancode in the far south and Shencotta in the East, while it gained the Malabar District and the Kasargod taluk of South Kanara district in the north. The Laccadive Minicoy and Amindivi were detached from Kerala and declared as Union Territory.
Administration: The state has unicameral legislature. The Legislative Assembly has 141 members.
More details about the state is available at www.kerala.gov.in
The Western Ghats constitute the range of hills running almost parallel ot Arabian Sea through Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karanataka, Goa, and Maharashtra. Of the total length of about 1800 km., approximately 450 km falls in Kerala, ith a break at Palaghat. The western ghats region of Kerala covering nearly 21856 sq km or 56% of the total geographical area of the State and 42.7% of the entire Western Ghats region is the watershed of all the 44 rivers that sustain the agro-economy of the state. Kerala sub region has population limit of 382 persons per km sq, against the national figure of 221. It was the treasure house of forest and mineral resources and controlled the soil water regimes. It possessed the most luxuriant tropical moist vegetation in the country comparable to any similar type of vegetation in the world. The phenomenal spurt in the population, demand for more and more forest land, for non forestry purposes coupled with indifferent attitude of those in authority led to the shrinkage of the forests to less than 20% of the land area. Fire, gazing, excessive and unscientific felling etc, also resulted in the degradation of forests.