Kerala has two geographical 'faces'. On one side, the State is bordered by a long coastline and on the other it is covered with the relief of the Western Ghats, mountains that rise about 3000m high. Wedged between the two mountains, the valleys host rice fields and tea, coffee, pepper plant, teak wood and bamboo plantations. In the centre, the city of Munnar and its surrounding areas are the commercial centre for Kerala's tea production.
Kerala's beaches are renowned for their stunning beauty. Among the most popular ones are Kovalam and Kervala. Other ones that also attract a lot of crowds are Thanagasseri, Cheria, Tanur, Beypore and Kappad. This last one, located near Calcutta, is admittedly small but no less important than the others from a historical point of view. Indeed, it was in Kappad that Vasco de Gama landed with 170 men in three ships on 27 May, 1498.
Wooden sculptures are the state's main art from, where the artists use all their know-how to create extremely impressive pieces out of the most modest of materials.
Kathakali is a style of dance more than 300 years old, which is only practised in Kerala. It combines a mix of different influences ranging from opera and ballet to masquerade and pantomime, and is a mixture of colours, movements, music, drama and expressions.
Kerala has also given birth to various styles of music, like the Panchavadyam, the Nadanpattu, the Omanathinkal Kidavo, among several others.
Keralan cuisine is known for its many varieties of crepes and steamed rice cakes.
Kerala has several National Parks which are mainly former private hunting reserves for the Indian and British aristocracy. The best time to visit these reserves is at sunlight or sunest, where the plants, animals and their surrounding scenery look their best.