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Most Viewed Favorites in State of Kerala

  • Justin_goa's Profile Photo

    Rise of Travancore

    by Justin_goa Written Aug 15, 2006

    Favorite thing: Travancore or Venad occupied centre stage in the political arena of Kerala around 18th century, thanks to the deeds of its two illustrious rulers, Marthanda Varma (1729-58) and Rama Varma, popularly known as Dharma Raja (1758-98). In his lifetime, Marthanda Varma successfully annexed the territories under the Dutch. Known as the Maker of Modern Travancore, Marthanda’s tenure is a remarkable period in the history of Kerala.

    Rama Varma ascended the throne and ably carried out the task of administration. Two distinguished ministers, Ayyappan Marthanda Pillai and Raja Kesava Das assisted him in administering the kingdom.Rama Varma had to bear the brunt of Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan’s invasion. But Rama Varma’s defence system withstood even the might of Tipu’s forces.
    Travancore was fortunate enough to be governed by many enlightened administrators like Velu Thampi, Rani Gouri Lakshmi Bai (1810-15), Gouri Parvati Bai (1815-29), Swati Tirunal (1829-47), Ayilyam Tirunal (1860-80), Sri Mulam Tirunal (1885-1924) who did much to see science, art and culture flourish in Travancore.

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    Trade Link With Dutch

    by Justin_goa Written Aug 15, 2006

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    Favorite thing: Lured by the possibility of trade with India, the Dutch landed on the western coast. Various treaties signed in 1608 and 1610 ensured trading facilities for the Dutch. With the treaty of 1619, the Dutch joined hands with the British to eliminate competition from the Portuguese.

    The Dutch were able to fortify and monopolise trade in the regions of Purakkad, Kayakulum, Quilon and Travancore by 1662. One of the most singular achievements of the Dutch contingent in India was the conquest of Cochin in 1663. The decline of the Dutch became inevitable with the unprecedented rise of Travancore under Marthanda Varma (1729-58) and the Mysore invasion. The Zamorin also succeeded in depriving the Dutch of Cochin, Cranganore, Parur and Trichur at one go. By 1759, curtains fell on the Dutch power in India.

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    The Arrival of Europeans

    by Justin_goa Written Aug 15, 2006

    Favorite thing: The arrival of Vasco da Gama at Calicut in 1498, was a landmark event in the annals of history. At that time, Kerala was in the throes of political turmoil. Although the Portuguese did not enjoy cordial relations with the Zamorin, they succeeded in procuring some trading facilities at Quilon and Cannanore. But the Portuguese were intent on stopping the Arabs from trading with India.

    Hostilities between Cochin and Calicut were exacerbated because the Raja of Cochin acted as a willing supporter of the Portuguese. However, the Zamorin faced a crushing defeat at the hands of the Portuguese when they laid siege on Cochin. The Portuguese gained permission to fortify Cochin and Cranganore in 1503 and 1504, respectively.

    After Vasco da Gama, the most notable Portuguese to set foot on Indian soil, was Albuquerque. He managed to make peace with the Zamorin. A treaty was signed in 1513, which gave the Portuguese the right to construct a fort in Cochin and to carry on trade. However, the successors of Albuquerque were incompetent and corrupt. Naturally, that led to the decline of Portuguese power in Kerala.
    The Portuguese had a strong impact on the educational and cultural life of the people of Kerala. The introduction of the printing press in Kerala can be counted as one of their biggest achievements. However, religious intolerance and bigotry marked their rule, leading to strife and disharmony among the local populace. This period also saw the revival of the Bhakti movement.

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    Emergence of Calicut

    by Justin_goa Written Aug 15, 2006

    Favorite thing: During the medieval period, Calicut rose to prominence from the ashes of the mighty Kulasekhara Empire, in the northern part of Kerala. The Zamorins (literally Lord of the Sea) were the hereditary rulers of Calicut who traced their lineage to the old Perumal dynasty of Kerala. Calicut emerged as a major seaport during the reign of the Zamorins.

    Trade with foreigners like the Chinese and Arabs was the main source of revenue for the Zamorins. But it was the Arabs who managed to establish stronger trade links with the rulers of Calicut. Art and culture flourished under the Zamorins who were great patrons of literature.

    Accounts of travellers like Ibn Batuta (1342-47), Ma Huan, the Chinese scholar, Abdur Razzak (1443), Nicolo Conti (1444) and Athanasius Nikitin (1468-74) corroborate this fact. Not content with the size of their kingdom, the Zamorins set about expanding its boundaries. The powerful Zamorins conquered Beypore, Parappanad, Vettat, Kurumbranad, Nilambur, Manjeri, Malappuram, Kottakal and Ponnai. By the 15th century, clashes between Cochin and Calicut became increasingly frequent. The reigning Zamorin emerged as the undisputed monarch of the North Malabar area, extending up to Pantalayani Kollam.

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    The Venad Kingdom

    by Justin_goa Written Aug 15, 2006

    Favorite thing: After the fall of the Kulasekharas, Venad emerged as an independent power. The kingdom reached its zenith under Udaya Marthanda Varma (1175-1195) and Ravi Varma Kulasekhara (1299-1314). An efficient ruler, Udaya Marthanda Varma was the architect of a brilliant administrative system for temples. The copper plates, which he issued during his rule, and which were called the Kollur Madham Plates and the Tiruvambadi Inscription of1183, testify to this fact.

    Ravi Varma Kulasekhara was the most important ruler of the dynasty. He was a brave and active warrior. He brought peace and order to the strife-torn Pandya Empire, after Malik Kafur, lieutenant of the Delhi Sultan, Ala-ud-din Khilji (1296-1315), ravaged it. His reign saw the development of art and learning. A scholar and musician himself, he patronised intellectuals and poets during his tenure. The Sanskrit drama Pradyumnabhyudayam is ascribed to him. Trade and commerce also flourished during his rule and Quilon became a famous centre of business and enterprise.

    After the death of Ravi Varma Kulasekhara, the history of the Venad Kingdom is not of special interest. The kingdom lingered on until the middle of the 18th century before it disintegrated.

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    Rajasekhara Varman Rul (a.d. 820-44)

    by Justin_goa Written Aug 15, 2006

    Favorite thing: (succeeded Kulasekhara Alvar. He founded the ‘Kollam Era’ of Kerala, which began in a.d. 825. He is also reputed to have issued the Vazhappali Inscription, the first epigraphical record of the Chera Kingdom. Rajasekhara Varma was followed by Sthanu Ravi Varman (a.d. 844-55), a contemporary of the Chola King, Aditya I (a.d. 870-906).

    The Tillaisthanam Inscription indicates that he was on friendly terms with the Chola monarch. His reign witnessed a flourishing trade between Kerala and China. This is borne out by the Arab merchant Sulaiman who visited India in a.d. 851. His first love was astronomy and Sankaranarayana, who composed the astronomical work Sankaranarayaniyam, adorned his court.

    After Rajasekhara’s death, hostilities broke out between the Cheras and the Cholas, which continued until the disintegration of the Chera Kingdom. The Pandyas of the Madurai also involved themselves in the conflict.

    Rama Varma Kulasekhara (a.d. 1090-1102) was the last of the Chera Kings. He shifted his capital to Quilon when the Cholas sacked Mahodyapuram during his reign. His death signalled the atomisation of the Chera Empire, from the ruins of which arose the independent kingdom of Venad.

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    The Second Chera Empire

    by Justin_goa Written Aug 15, 2006

    Favorite thing: Just after the eclipse of the Kalbhras, the Second Chera Empire made its appearance in the annals of Kerala history. Mahodyapuram (modern Kodangallur) was its capital. It was founded by Kulasekhara Alvar (a.d. 800-820), one of the 12 Alvars. Alvars were Tamil saints who composed and sang hymns in praise of Vishnu (The Preserver in the Hindu Holy Trinity of Creator-Preserver-Destroyer). They were exponents of the Bhakti (devotional) cult in South India. The Alvars gave a great impetus to the Bhakti cult in South India between the seventh and the 10th centuries. Kulasekhara Alvar was a scholar and a great patron of the arts. He composed five dramas – the Perumal Tirumozhi in Tamil, and Mukundamala, Tapatisamvarna, Subhadradhamala and Vichchinnabhiseka – all in Sanskrit, which testify to his scholarship.

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    Shankaracharya – The Great Theologian

    by Justin_goa Written Aug 15, 2006

    Favorite thing: Kalabhra Interregnum

    After the Sangam Age, Kerala passed through a dark period that lasted four centuries. This era is known as the ‘Kalabhra Interregnum’. At the end of the eighth centurya.d., South Indian kingdoms such as the Pallavas, the Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas and the Pandyas succeeded in overthrowing the Kalabhras.

    ¤ Shankaracharya – The Great Theologian

    It is a paradox that Buddhism disappeared (until its revival in recent years) from the land of its origin. One of the main reasons for this development was that a revived and reformed Hinduism began to emerge after the sixth century a.d.

    In the eighth century, this reform movement was led by Adi Shankaracharya, whose position with respect to Hinduism is similar to that of St. Thomas Aquinas in the Roman Catholic Church. He travelled the length and breadth of India and got the better of many Buddhist missionaries in public discourses. Kalady, situated 25 kilometres northeast of Cochin, was the birthplace of Shankaracharya. A great philosopher and theologian, he propagated the advaita (monism) philosophy, which is also known as kevaladvaita (strict monism). Shankaracharya was also a great organiser. His missionary zeal was best exemplified in his establishment of four mathas (Hindu monastic establishments) in the four corners of the country. These are located at Sringeri in Karnataka, Dwarka in Gujarat, Puri in Orissa and Badrinath in Uttar Pradesh. Shankaracharya died at the young age of 32.

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    III The Chera Kingdom

    by Justin_goa Written Aug 15, 2006

    Favorite thing: The Sangam Age witnessed three political powers ruling the area which now constitutes the State of Kerala. These were the Ays in the south, the Cheras in Central Kerala and Ezhimalas to the north. The Ays established a kingdom which in its halcyon days, extended from Tiruvalla in the north to Nagercoil in the south. Antiran, Titiyam and Atiyan were the most prominent of the Ay rulers.

    The first Chera ruler was Perumchottu Utiyan Cheralatan – a contemporary of the great Chola, King Karikalan. After suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Chola ruler at the battle of Venni, he committed suicide.

    His son, Imayavaramban Nedum Cheralatan, another important Chera ruler, succeeded him. During his long rule of 58 years, Imayavaramban Nedun Cheralatan consolidated the Chera Dynasty and extended its frontiers. He inflicted a crushing defeat on his sworn enemies, the Kadambas of Banavasi (see Uttar Kannad for details). Imayavaramban’s reign is of special significance to the development of art and literature. Kannanar was his poet laureate.

    However, the greatest Chera King was Kadalpirakottiya Vel Kelu Kuttuvan, who is also identified with the mythical hero of the Silappadigaram (The Jewelled Anklet). Silappadigaram is one of the three great Tamil epics of the Sangam Age. The other two are Manimegalai and Sivaga-Sindamani. The great Tamil poet, Paranar, refers to his military exploits including his famous victory at Mogur Mannan and Kongar. Kuttuvan was the proponent of the Patni (wife) cult. The cult emphasised the utter devotion of a wife towards her husband. He dedicated a temple at Vanchi to Kannagi (the female protagonist of Silappadigaram), and the present Kurumba Bhagavati Temple at Kodungallur (Cranganore) is modelled on it. Kannagi’s devotion towards her husband was legendary. Recently, the Indian Government has instituted an award in her memory, which is given to the women.

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    The Sangam Age

    by Justin_goa Written Aug 15, 2006

    Favorite thing: Information about the Cheras during the Mauryan times is very scarce. It is only in the Sangam Age that the history of Kerala emerges from myths and legends. The Sangam Age refers to the period during which Sangam literature was composed. Sangam literally means academy and these great works in Tamil were written in the first four centuries of the Christian era.
    Tradition has it that the first three academies met at Madurai and were attended by kings and poets.
    However, the literature composed at the First Sangam is no longer extant.

    Tolkappiyam : The earliest work on Tamil grammar, was composed during the Second Sangam.
    Ettutogai : The Third Sangam produced a remarkable collection of Tamil literature known as Ettutogai (“Eight Anthologies”). These anthologies give us a detailed description of the political, social and economic conditions of that period.

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    Kerala History Dates Back To Mauryan Empire

    by Justin_goa Written Aug 15, 2006

    Favorite thing: The first recorded history of Kerala appears in the inscriptions of the Mauryan Emperor, Ashoka (269-232 b.c.).In these inscriptions, Ashoka refers to four independent kingdoms that lay to the south of his empire. These were the kingdoms of the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Keralaputrasand the Satiyaputras.Among them, the Keralaputras or the Cheras, as they were called, reigned over Malabar, Cochin and North Travancore – all part of present-day Kerala. They managed to maintain their independence because they were on good terms with the Great Maurya. Otherwise, Ashoka, who was a great empire builder, would surely have attempted to bring these kingdoms under his tutelage.
    The four South Indian Kingdoms extended a hand of friendship towards the Mauryas. It was really Hobson’s choice for them, having already experienced the Mauryan onslaught during the reign of Ashoka’s predecessor, Bindusara (297-272 b.c.)

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    Political History

    by Justin_goa Written Aug 2, 2006

    Favorite thing: Kerala is a very politically sensitive state, to the extent that you will find heated political discussions even in remote village teashops. Kerala is one of the states in the world, if not the only one where right wing political alliance and the leftists are democratically elected to power. The political sensibility of Kerala is the result of decades of political movements, people is participation and, historically, the nobility who were committed to reforms and changes in society.
    Kerala is unique in many ways. It is the state in India with the highest rate of literacy, where the quality of health care available is competent with many European countries and, more significantly it is one of the few states in India where people's movements and empowering initiatives at the grassroots level are part of day to day life.

    Fondest memory: There will not be a day in Kerala without a public demonstration of some kind. The demonstrations could be for the right of the workers and peasants, against multi-national corporations, or lately for the land rights of indigenous people.

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    Nature's best -the early morning scene

    by ushar Written Sep 23, 2004

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    Favorite thing: Vellayani lake in early morning hours..
    Sit there near the water and see the orange shade of the sky. see the the fisher man set out for fishing...Then the Goden yellow globe of sun appears.. the busy day starts....

    Fondest memory: The dip in the cristal clear water of local river in our village....

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    Kerala

    by indiabazaar Written Feb 23, 2004

    Favorite thing: Temples
    Padmanabhaswamy Temple
    East Fort Ganapathy Temple, Pazhavangadi
    Bhagavathy Temple, Attukal
    Hanuman Temple, Vikas Bhavan
    Sree Parasurama Temple, Thiruvallam
    Janardhan Swamy Temple, Varkala
    Aruvipuram siva Temple, Neyyattinkara
    Sree Kanteswaram Temple, Trivandrum

    Churches
    St.Joseph Church, Palayam
    Christ Church, Paslayam
    LMS Church, Palayam
    Lourdes Church, Near PMG Jn.
    Pentacostal Church, Charachira

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    Drinking water

    by dmirebella Written Jan 26, 2004

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    Favorite thing: Do not drink water of the tap. Bottled water is highly recommended or better yet, the `jiregam water' or the spice water the locals drink. Its cools the body and is good to the health.

    Fondest memory: The thosai's and the chutneys! I have never tasted such delicacies anywhere yet and the assortments of chutneys are amazing!! Better yet, try the payasam which is a Malayalee dessert. The `chacka *jackfruit to you non Malayalees.. heheheh* payasam altho a tad too sweet for my liking, still brings back the best memories to my wonderful stay.

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