God’s Own Country – ൈദവത്തിന്റെ സ്വന്തം നാട്

Hello Fellow Gallopers,

Have been doing a bit of travelling lately around parts of India and especially the state in India that I originally hail from, Kerala –  കേരളം* (also referred to as God’s Own Country – ൈദവത്തിന്റെ സ്വന്തം നാട്).

Kerala, in the Southern Region of India, was established as a state in 1956 and has a literacy rate of 90.92% (the highest in the country). Kerala has earned itself the unique reputation of being the country’s least corrupt state; the state has witnessed a significant migration of its people to the Middle Eastern countries and the state is uniquely dependant on remittances from its expatriate community. But with a population of close to 32 million (2001) (that is around 6 times the population of Scotland in mid 2009) jam-packed into an area of 15,005 square miles (around half the area of Scotland) one would wonder how could this place ever be conferred the title God’s Own Country – a congested, over populated, over polluted state with the highest literacy rate.

To see God’s Own Country and fully appreciate the beauty that this state holds one must travel to the interiors of Kerala where the real beauty lies.  With its lagoons, backwaters and tropical greenery, Kerala reveals the treasures held within its bosom as one travels deeper and deeper into the rural areas of the state. Tourists flock to this state to experience the exotic surroundings and to partake in the holistic treatments exclusively offered in Kerala, especially Ayurvedic Treatments.

In addition to what it has to offer tourists by way of holistic treatments, Kerala is rich in its biodiversity and is truly a Garden of Eden for the environmentalist . Almost a fourth of India’s 10,000 plant species are found in the state. Almost 24% of Kerala is forested – tropical wet evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, tropical moist and dry deciduous forests and montane subtropical and temperate forests cover the forested landscape of the state. 102 species of mammals (56 of which are endemic), 476 species of birds, 202 species of freshwater fish, 169 species of reptiles (139 of which are endemic) and 89 species of amphibians (86 of which are endemic) roam the state.  As one roams the forests of Kerala, one could easily cross paths with an Indian Elephant, a Bengal Tiger, an Indian Leopard, a Nilgiri Tahr or a Grizzled Giant Squirrel or one could as easily see a King Cobra, viper or python slither past in front of you. And as one looks up to the blue skies through a break in the canopy above, one could as easily see a Great Hornbill, an Indian Grey Hornbill, an Indian Cormorant, a Kingfisher or a Jungle Myna fly overhead.

You feel life all around you as you walk through the thick vegetation – the constant sound of crickets, the song of birds in the air, the rustling of leaves on the forest floor as something slithers or scurries past you, the sweat on your brow and the heat and humidity in the air – all goes to offer you a true sense of the Tropics – a true sense of God’s Own Country.

To see all the images** in this set, please click the link below:

http://koshy.smugmug.com/Places/Gods-Own-Country/12914964_TPxu6#933227701_XRiUa

http://koshy.smugmug.com/Places/Gods-Own-Country-1/12927694_FA8mk#934391875_3Znan

Till next time, take care and gallop free.

* – This is Malayalam – the local language spoken in Kerala. If you haven’t noticed, the word “Malayalam” is a palindrome.

** – images taken with the Canon 50D.

Ride with the Black Stallion: www.blackstallionphotography.co.uk

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