Kerala is one of the smallest states in India. Kerala’s area is 38.855 square kilometers which is around 1.3 percent of the total area of India.
India comprises the narrow coastal strip bounded by the Western Ghats in the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. “ Its unique geographical position and peculiar physical features have invested Kerala with a distinct individuality”, said by Sreedhara Menon. Hence it has played a vital role in the commercial and cultural history of India. Kerala is said to be “as the favorite child of nature.” Just like Kashmir in the north, Kerala in the south is famous for its breath-taking natural beauty.
Physical features differentiate the state into three natural divisions. They are the lowland adjoining the sea, the midland consisting of the undulating country east of the lowlands and the forest clad highland on the extreme east. The lowland bordering the sea is dotted with large amount of coconut palms and the expansive stretches of paddy crops. The midland regions consists of valleys, punctuated here and there by isolated hills.
The geographical position of Kerala as a narrow strip of land between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats has considerably influenced the course of its history. From the beginning of history it has created a kind of insularity. As a result, Kerala rarely felt the impact of many foreign invasions which had destroyed North India form time to time. Owing to this insularity, it took nearly two centuries for Buddhism to reach Kerala. She also evolved “its own way of life and social institutions unhampered by excessive interference from outside.
It is said that long ago, Lord Vishnu moved down from the heaven because of the incarnation of Parashuram. After killing the evil kings 21 times in order to abolish their force from earth, he did penance for waging the terrible war, and threw his axe into the sea. The area where the axe land- ed, from shaft to blade, rose from the sea as Kerala, a land of plenty and prosperity. Its geographical position has been responsible too for Kerala’s historic ebb and flow. The strip of land found a natural defense in the hills that sealed off one longitudinal section, leaving it open to access from the sea alone.