Kerala
"Kerala is a bizarre anomaly among developing nations, a place that offers real hope for the future of the Third World... Though mostly a land of paddy-covered plains, statistically Kerala stands out as the Mount Everest of social development..." Bill Mckibben, National Geographic Traveler in October 1999.

Geography

With the Arabian Sea in the west, the Western Ghats towering 500-2700 m in the east and networked by forty-four rivers, Kerala enjoys diverse geographical features. From tall mountains and deep valleys to endless backwaters and an extensive coastline, Kerala has it all.

History

Kerala's history is closely linked with its commerce, which until recent times revolved around its spice trade. Celebrated as the Spice Coast of India, ancient Kerala played host to travellers and traders from across the world including the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, French and the British. Almost all of them have left their imprint on this land in some form or the other - architecture, cuisine, literature.

People

One of India's most literate and socially advanced, the people of Kerala enjoy a unique cosmopolitan viewpoint, which is reflected in their spirit of tolerance and catholicity of outlook. This can be attributed to Kerala's composite culture to which several lands and races from across the world have contributed significantly.

Through the ages, Kerala has demonstrated a remarkable ability to adapt to new traditions and values in almost every sphere of human thought and endeavour. This positive response to changes and challenges is what sets the Keralan people as well as the society apart.

Keralites have a high degree of awareness and political consciousness. In the field of education too, Keralites hold a unique position. The literacy rate for women is one of the highest in all of Asia. Which is perhaps why the women in the State enjoy a privileged status both within the family and society.

Seasons

Bestowed with a pleasant and equable climate throughout the year, Kerala is a tropical land with the coast running down its entire length and the Western Ghats forming a protective barrier against the dry winds from up north. The monsoons (June-September & October-November) and summer (February-May) are the seasons markedly experienced here, while winter is only a slight drop in temperature from the normal range of 28-32C.

Eco Tourism

The term Eco tourism encompasses a whole lot of thing. For the starter it means visiting all those regions that exude a striking richness in their culture and nature. Moreover, eco tourism also implies being sensitive to one's surroundings and customs. This means that tourists are pretty well aware of the significance these places have in our lives and the need to protect them from being eroded by the fast pace of development.

Eco Tourism Destinations in Kerala :

Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks - The Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks of Kerala cover a considerable portion of the state. These Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks provide shelter to a number of endangered as well as rare species of wild animals and birds.

Beaches - If wildlife dominates mostly the eastern side of Kerala, then the beaches hold their own on the western part of the state. Flanked by the Arabian Sea, the western part of the state has a number of beaches that are a delight for the lover of eco tourism.

Backwaters - Kerala Backwaters, the undisputable king of all the tourists attraction in the state, is a network of rivers, canals, lagoons. The backwaters of Kerala meander unhurriedly through paddy fields, remote hamlets and plantations offering you a chance to witness life at its leisurely best

Plantations - Plantation visit in Kerala include a trip to the tea, rubber and spice plantations. Initially, these plantations were not open for tourist visit, nevertheless, today they make for an excellent tourists destination.

Hill Stations - Hill Stations of Kerala are abode of natural beauty par excellence. Visit these places to simply let yourself enjoy a feel of floating in the air.

Eco Resorts - Eco Resorts are fast gaining popularity amongst eco tourists for the simple reason that they allow to get close to the nature while enjoying the luxuries of a star category resort.

Travellers Guidelines for Responsible Tourism

Do an in-depth research on the customs and practices of God's Own Country before you plan your visit
Appreciate the culture of the land and its tradition
Be polite to the native people and appreciate their habits
Learn a few basic words of greetings and polite phrases in the native language before your visit
Respect the diverse religious and social customs of Kerala
Observe the local laws and codes of the land.
Try to actively involve yourself in the cultural and environmental concerns of Kerala and cooperate accordingly
Avoid trying to purchase or own things which are not legally permissible or might be protected
Do not force entry into prohibited or restricted areas that will disrupt the ecology or the cultural sentiments of the land
Conserve energy by minimising the use of fans, lights, geysers etc. whenever not required
Avoid overuse, wastage and pollution of water, contributing to the global conservation of water resources
Avoid littering public places and ensure that waste is disposed only in bins earmarked for the purpose