Cut off from the Deccan plateau by the rocky belt of the Western Ghats, but with a long coastline open to foreign effects. Kerala has evolved as a unique culture. It is a politicized region, but has a long tradition of religious amity. It is an educationally superior state with its own language, Malayalam, and has the highest rate of literacy (100%) among Indian states.
Women in Kerala have high social status. Talent forms of Kerala vary from Kalaripayattu, the martial art believed to be the origin of various other Asian ones, to Kathakali, one of the dance forms of Kerala considered to be amongst the oldest indian dance methods. The graceful boat races have always been the favorite of tourists visiting Kerala.
Kerala is a land of innate natural beauty. From the majestic heights of the Western Ghats the country ripple westward. Among the many rivers that flow across the plains to merge their waters with the Arabian Sea, the most important are the Periyar, the Pamba and the Bharatha puzha. The elegant waterfall at Athirampally near Trichur is a well-liked tourist spot. Along the coast, there is a chain of lagoons and backwaters the still waters. Only the coos of koels, a type of cuckoo breaks the silence of the clear skies. The highest peak of peninsular India Annai Mudi is located in this state. The picturesque Thekkady Wild Life Sanctuary is a popular vacation destination for nature lovers.
The climate is calm and varies little. The temperature ranges from 80 to 90 F in the plains but drops to about 70 F in the highlands. The state gets both the southwest as well as the northeast monsoons, and the rainfall is heavy.