Kerala is the southern most state of India. The name Keralam is believed to have been origined from the word “kera” and “alam”. Kera means coconut and alam means land or location – Thus it is meant by “The Land Of Coconut Trees”. (Now known as Gods Own Country) It was a part of “Thamizhagam” (present Tamil Nadu) which covered the then Chola, Chera and Pandya region. The music, dance and language of Kerala are same to that can be seen in rest of Thamizhagom. The arrival of Vasco da Gama, coming of foreign traders and invitation by Portuguese defined a new cultural heritage in its people.
The mother tongue of Kerala is Malayalam and the natives are known as Malayalees. It is believed that Parasurama is the creator of Kerala. He converted a portion of sea into land by throwing his axe.
Kerala has a rich cultural heritage. Its diverse culture is influenced by three main religions of Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. Exquisite sculptures, music and dance forms can be seen in the historic development of Kerala’s cultural traditions. The traditions of Kathakali and Mohiniattam are highly developed Art forms that have developed from their folk origins into highly evolved classical dance forms. Kathakali is a 300-year-old dance form developed exclusively in Kerala combining the performing art forms of opera, ballet, masque, and pantomime. The dance is a beautiful blending of color, dance, music, drama, and expressions. In a sense, a lot of the fame that the state has gained is mainly due to the popularity of this dance form. Other dance forms of Kerala are Krishnanattom, Mohiniyattom, Thullal, Koodiyattom, Kolkkali, Thiruvathirakali, Kakkarishi Natakom, Oppanna, and Chavittunatakom. Panchavadyam, Nadanpattu, Omanathinkal Kidavo and many music forms have evolved over the centuries in Kerala.