Thiruvananthapuram

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Last Updated Friday January 20 2017 05:29 PM IST

History

Famed as the Spice Coast of India, this tiny state in the Southern tip of India has a history that dates back to the Mauryan Empire of the 1st Century BC. Ancient Kerala played a vital role as a centre for trade which flourished around 3000 BC. Ivory, sandalwood and spices lured a lot of travellers to the state including the Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Phoenicians and Arabs. The earliest Europeans to arrive in Kerala, which was primarily ruled by the Chera Kings, were the Portuguese led by Vasco Da Gama in 1498 to be followed by the Dutch, the French and the British. These settlements have been etched into the warp and weft of Kerala history giving it one of the most assimilative cultures in India. Architecture, cuisine and literature had all been influenced by these foreign settlements in Kerala.

Kerala in its present state was created in 1956 by merging together the former states of Travancore, Malabar and Cochin. A stronghold of Communism, Kerala created history in 1957 when it became the first freely elected communist government in the world. Kerala€™s unique geography and history has contributed to making it one of the most cosmopolitan and peaceloving states in the country.

Today it is one of the world€™s top tourist destinations, listed by National Geographic Traveller as one of the 50 €˜places of a lifetime€™.