Kerala Culture – Complete Guide 2020

India is a country that has always been known for its traditions which are a part of its legacy from the past thousands of years. The reason which makes it more interesting is that the people still religiously follow the same.

Different parts of India have different cultures. The north is famous for its scenic beauty and food. The south is famous for its hospitality, exotic food, and awesome beaches.

The east is famous for tea production and momos while the west is famous because of Bollywood city Mumbai and the evergreen tourist destination Goa. But still, South India has an upper hand when it comes to the tourist attraction.

This is because various temples, exotic foods, different languages, and special traditions are present there which become the major reason for tourist attraction not only from India but from all around the world.

In this article, we would be discussing Kerala, which is one such state present in south India and is very rich in terms of culture, traditions, beliefs, rituals, flora, fauna, food items and thee hospitality of people.

Please stay with them till the end of this article as we would be covering many interesting trivia about the Kerala culture and also the best places to visit if you are planning to travel to this beautiful state during your summer or winter vacations.



Kerala is a beautiful state present in the southern part of India and also the southern part of Asia. It is present on the south-west portion of the famous Malabar coast.

This state is very famous for supplying a huge amount of fishes to various other states of India and also for supplying coconuts and its juice. The agriculture-related business is also a strength of this state.

People from all around the world come to visit this beautiful Indian state as it comes in the list of top 50 destinations one must visit n his or her lifetime.

As already stated above, the state of Kerala is famous for coconut production, thus, this is the reason it is known as Kerala. The word Kerala is made up of two words, Kera, which means a coconut tree.

The second word is Alam, which is a synonym of land. Thus, both these words together form the meaning as the land of the coconuts.

The slogan of the tourism department of this beautiful south Indian state is The country where god himself resides or the place of god. It is also considered as the gateway or window of India to the countries present in the middle east and gulf area.

The state of Kerala has a very diverse culture along with various varieties of flora and fauna. On one side of Kerala, you have the world-famous backwaters present and on the other side, Kerala also has beautiful hill stations.

So, in all Kerala offers a wholesome package for anyone who is planning to visit this state in terms of eating, shopping, site seeing, beaches and many more.

History of Kerala

The state of Kerala was formed in the year 1956 on the 1st of November. This was formed due to the state reorganization act which resulted in bringing all the Malayalam states together as on, named Kerala.

It is believed that this pious land of Kerala was reclaimed from the great seas and oceans when the Hindu mythology god Lord Parshurama, who is also believed to be an avatar or descendant of lord Vishnu threw his ax into the ocean.

He threw his ax in the region of Kanyakumari and the ax traveled a long distance and finally fell near Gokarna. The land which came in between was reclaimed and thus, Kerala was formed.

Stone carving is present in Kerala from the past thousands of years. The evidence for the same was found in the Edakkal caves which are present in Wayanad. It depicts the scenario from the time of the Ashoka, the emperor of the Mauryan Dynasty.

Then came the Sangam period. In this period, Kerala was ruled by 3 emperors’ turn by turn. The great Ays ruled the southern part of Kerala. King Cheras ruled the central part of Kerala and king Ezhimalas ruled the northern part of Kerala.

Talking about the early traders, Arabs and the Jews were the first of them to invade the land of Kerala and started the exportation of spices. Because of these traders, religions like Islam and Christianity were brought into the state of Kerala.

Church Destruction

The destruction of the Jerusalem church by the Roman invaders led to the migration of the Jews from Israel to Kerala in large numbers.

In the year 644 A.D., numerous mosques were constructed by the famous Malik Iben Dinar. He also popularised this religion by the means of word of mouth and also by organizing many public gatherings.

Early Trade Relations of Kerala

The early trade relations of Kerala were diverse. They enjoyed good trade relations with the Chinese people, the Egyptians, the Phoenicians and also with the Babylonians. All this happened till the beginning of the 3rd century B.C.

Then, the famous explorer Vasco da Gama arrived at the place of Kappad, which is situated near Kozhikode in the year 1498. This gave the platform to the Portuguese people to set their base in Kerala.

The British Rule in Kerala

The British came into Kerala somewhere around the 16th century. Apart from the British people, the French people also showed their dominance in the region of Kerala.  

But soon, the British people were able to overcome the French people and they established their supreme rule in the lands of Kerala. The region of Kerala was loved by the British people because of the abundance of resources in the region.

Kerala had a lot of spices and other such resources prevalent in the region. But, the people of Kerala also tried to oppose the British rule in the support of many revolting people like Velu Thampi, Paliath Achan and the famous Pazhassi Raja.

But all these three brave people were defeated by the hands of the British rule and British people thus, changed the lifestyle and the living habits of the local people of Kerala.

After the independence of Indian in the year 1947, Velu Thampi and Paliath joined the Indian union.

The Kerala state was thus shaped on the 1st of November 1956. Kerala showed drastic improvement over the years and by the year 1991, it became the first Indian state to get the 100% literacy rate.

Also, in the present scenario, Kerala has become one of the fastest-growing states of the country in terms of tourist attraction and tourism.  

Tradition and Culture of Kerala

tradition and culture of kerala

Out of the many states of India, Kerala is one of the states which is famous all around the world in terms of its hospitality for the tourists, their exotic food, their tourist destinations and also for their heritage.

The people of Kerala love their land and also brag about their traditions which are being followed by them from the past many centuries.

Please stay with us till the end of the article as we would be discussing many tourist places to visit in Kerala and also the various traditions which the people of Kerala follow religiously from the past hundreds of years.

Creation of Kerala Culture

The culture of Kerala was created by the uniqueness of its location. Kerala state deceits amid the enormous Arabian sea and the Western Ghats. This has given rise to many water-related activities, traditions and other daily wage-earning services.

The people of Kerala like to be called by the term Keralite. The Keralite is a heterogeneous group of people who consist of people from various diverse religions and cultures.

The people of Kerala or Keralite are very proud of their culture and religion. They love what they practise and like to brag about the same in front of the tourists whether they be from foreign or India itself.

They have always tried to protect their rituals and tried to differentiate themselves from what the other states are doing and offering to their guests or the tourists.

Literacy Rate of Kerala

Kerala is a state which is one of the most literate states present in India. Its literacy rate is somewhere near 100%, which means that almost every person who is a native of Kerala has got basic educational degree and knowledge.

These people are highly literate and have the capability of doing complex and difficult work better than the people of any other state.

Some of the people of Kerala also like to be addressed as the son of the Aryans or the Aryan Petras.

Thus, all the above factors have contributed to establishing peace, harmony and a mutual feeling of respect among the people of Kerala. The same respect is what these people transfer to their guests round the tourism year.

Language of Kerala

Majority of the people living in Kerala speak the Malayalam language. Malayalam is termed as the official language of the state of Kerala.

Apart from Malayalam, English is also spoken by the majority of the people. So, English is referred to as the second official language of the state of Kerala.

But with the changing scenario and more and more tourists coming in the state of Kerala every year, the local people have also gained their command on the national language Hindi to make the guests feel comfortable.

Some of the people of Kerala who work as the guide for the tourists have gained command over 8 to 10 languages which are spoken worldwide like German, French, English, Hindi, Malayalam, Japanese, Chinese etc.

Kerala Cuisine

cuisine of kerala
cuisine of kerala

The cuisine of Kerala is one of the best cuisines that is available in all of the Asian countries.

In the local Malayalam language, cooking or preparing a meal is referred by the term of Pachakam.

Almost in every dish, coconut is used. This is because it is widely available in the state of Kerala and also the local people enjoy the presence and the essence of coconut in the meals they consume.

Kerala is considered to be the land of spices all around the world as various varieties of spices are grown and harvested by the local people. Kerala also exports these spices to other states of India and also to other parts of the world.

Various Uses of Coconut

The coconut is used for a variety of purposes by the local people of Kerala. The people use coconut to make the food gravy thick by making the coconut milk or the coconut paste and adding it to the thin gravy.

The oil which is made from the coconut base is considered to be very healthy by the local people of Kerala and is widely used in almost every household for cooking purpose.

Coconut is also used by the chefs of various hotels and dhabas in Kerala for garnishing. They chop or blend the coconut and then sprinkle it over the various sabzis which they prepare or even above the sweet dishes.

Breakfast of Kerala

The local people of the state of Kerala like to consume idli, dosa, uttapam, vada sambhar, pathiri, puttu, appam etc. in the breakfast.

The same delicacies are served to the tourists for their breakfast.

Also, many people living in Kerala like to consume the meal which includes a lot of rice with fish curry on the side. This diet is considered to be the staple diet of the localities of Kerala.

Dance Forms of Kerala

Kerala is famous all around the world for its mesmerising dance forms and costumes.

These dance forms have originated many centuries ago and are practised as a tradition on various festivals regularly by the local people of Kerala.

Various tuition and coaching centres run in Kerala which provides training for these difficult but elegant dance forms.

Some of the major dance forms of Kerala culture are as follows:

1. Mohiniyattam

mohiniyattam is famous dance form of kerala culture (2)

The Mohiniyattam is one of the most common and famous dance forms from the Kerala culture. It is considered to be a dance of elegance which is also referred to as the dance of beautiful enchantress.

2. Kathakali

kathakali is one of the famous dance form of kerala culture

Kathakali is another famous dance form from the culture of Kerala. This dance form is considered to be more than 300 years old and since then is regularly practiced by the people of Kerala.

This dance is a combination of various other dance forms like ballet, opera, pantomime, and the masque.

3. Kalaripayattu

The Kalaripayattu is a dance form from Kerala which is very difficult to perform as it involves the techniques of martial arts mixed with certain dance steps.

It is performed mostly by experts only. It also involves high coordination of the mind, the body and the soul of the performer.

Festivals Celebrated in Kerala

Various festivals are celebrated in the state of Kerala at different times throughout the year. These festivals are celebrated in their traditional ways with joy and enthusiasm and all the people come together as a family and support each other.

Some of the most famous festivals celebrated in the state of Kerala are as follows:

1. Onam

Onam is famous festival of Kerala culture

Onam is a festival which is celebrated for one week every year in the state of Kerala. This centenary is eminent as a praise to the prodigious king Mahabali.

People believe that the spirit of King Mahabali visits the state of Kerala during the time of Onam. Onam is also considered to be the harvest festival by the people of Kerala state.

The jubilee of Onam has 4 main days. Every time, this fiesta is renowned in August and September. The second day of the festival is considered to be the main day of Onam.

The second day of Onam is known as Thiruvonam.

2. Vishu

Vishu is famous festival of Kerala culture

Vishu is another festival which is celebrated on a very large scale by the people of Kerala.

The festival of Vishu is celebrated every year in Kerala somewhere in April. It is celebrated as a tribute to Lord Vishnu and his avatar Lord Krishna.

Every year, Vishu marks the starting of the astronomical year. Thus, the people of Kerala worship lord Vishnu on the eve of the Vishu festival.

Vishu festival is synonymous to the Christian festival of Easter.

Kerala Ayurveda

Kerala has always been considered as a place where the people can come and relax their mind, body, and soul by releasing all the stress and tension because of their hectic lifestyle and work pressure.

All this is possible by the means of world-famous Ayurveda techniques.

These techniques of Ayurveda are being practiced in the state of Kerala from the past many centuries. The experts have invented these techniques and the knowledge is transferred from one generation to another.

The Ayurveda techniques involve the application of various herbal mixtures which are made from various medicinal plants and spices which are present in huge amount or abundance in the state of Kerala.

The majority of the spots for getting this exotic experience are located on the outskirts of the city of Kerala. This is because the silence and pristine atmosphere will add and advantage to the Ayurveda techniques.

Main Cities to Visit in Kerala

Many cities are present in the state of Kerala. Some of the major attractive ones are listed below:

1. Calicut

As we have already discussed above in the article that the state of Kerala is known as the state of the spices or the land of the spices. The major reason behind this is the city of Calicut.

The majority of the spices which are produced and exported from Kerala are harvested and processed in the city of Calicut.

2. Kochi

Kochi is the biggest city present in the state of Kerala. It has various ports available thus, it is famous by the name of the commercial capital of the state of Kerala.

All the types of industries like IT, oil refineries, manufacturing, processing, shipbuilding, etc. are situated in the metropolis of Kochi.

3. Trivandrum

Another beautiful city located in the state of Kerala in Trivandrum. It is the political capital of the state of Kerala. The majority of the IT companies and the work which lies in the IT sector are done in this city.

Various top educational institutes are located in the city off Trivandrum.

Tourist Destinations in Kerala

As we have already discussed in the article, Kerala is famous for its scenic beauty and beautiful tourist destinations. Some of the major attractions present in the state of Kerala are as follows:

1. Munnar

Munnar is the most romantic place present in south India. The city of Munnar is famous for its scenic beauty and various romantic spots.

People visit the city of Munnar mainly to celebrate their honeymoon vacation.

2. Alleppey

back water in kerala

The Alleppey present in the state of Kerala is famous for its backwaters all around the world.

The backwaters attract thousands of tourists throughout the year from all around the world.

3. Wayanad

Edakkal caves wayanad kerala
Edakkal Caves Wayanad Kerala

Wayanad is a hill station present in the state of Kerala. It is famous for its scenic beauty, cool climate, and romantic spots.


Some of the frequently asked questions about the Kerala Culture are as follows:

1. What is Kerala famous for?

heritage of kerala

The state of Kerala is famous for its heritage, culture, festivals, and backwaters of Alleppey.

2. What should I purchase from Kerala?

The major attractions that one could purchase from their way back from Kerala include coconut handicrafts, elephant figures, dance sculptures, and paintings, etc.

3. What is the local language of the state of Kerala?

The local people of Kerala speak Malayalam. Apart from Malayalam, English is considered to be the second local language of the state as the majority of the people living in the state are literate.

4. What is the traditional wear of Kerala?

Lungi is considered to be the traditional wear of the state of Kerala. Another name for lungi is Kaili or the mundu.

5. What type of culture is present in the state of Kerala?

The Kerala Culture is a mix blend of the Hindu culture and the Dravidian culture. But now, the state is also trying to copy the culture of the neighboring states.

6. Are people allowed to wear shorts in Kerala?

Yes, you are allowed to wear anything in which you are comfortable in the state of Kerala. The people of Kerala are comfortable with any attire as they are habitual of hosting tourists from all around the world.


The main aim of this article is to provide our readers with detailed information about the Kerala Culture.

In this article, we have tried to cover the history of Kerala, the languages spoken in Kerala, the cities and the tourist destination of Kerala.

We hope that you would have liked the article.

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Kerala Culture

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