SEMESTER INDIA PROGRAM
WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF KERALA

WHY KERALA?

The University of Kerala, the study abroad destination in India, is located in the Southern tip of India in a small state called Kerala.

Known as “Gods Own Country” this beautiful state is squeezed between the Arabian Sea on the west and Western Ghats on the east and is known for its lush vegetation and stunning greenery. The various shades of the greenery contributed by the endless acres of rice-paddy fields, coconut palms, banana, rubber, coffee and tea plantations as well as the spices plants like pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and vanilla, made the reputation of Kerala both in India and abroad, as a green miracle. Merchants from far off countries even traded with this part of India before the Christ and the discovery of a new sea route by Vasco de Gama in 1498 from Europe to Kerala made the spices from this tropical region popular among Western countries.

The Western Ghats, the mountain ranges on the eastern side of Kerala, is blessed with thick tropical rain forests and has been identified as one of the world’s twenty five “biodiversity hotspots” This highland region of Kerala is the natural home for more than 50000 exotic species of animals and plants, 11 wild life sanctuaries, one bird sanctuary, a tiger reserve and two national parks.

The 540 kilometer coastline of Kerala hugging the Arabian Sea on the west is famous for the sandy beaches, backwaters, lagoons, estuaries and rivers. The fertility of the soil combined with the high rainfall and 44 perennial rivers criss- crossing the state has made this region of India a “farmers’ paradise”. More than 500 species of birds and high numbers of butterflies, fishes, frogs, flowering and non-flowering plants are the basis for the richness of the flora and the fauna of this state. There is no surprise as to why the magazine National Geographic Traveler has ranked Kerala as the top ten tourist paradises in the world.

In addition to the stunning natural beauty of the state, Kerala is also known as the most progressive state in India in terms of physical qualities of life, religious harmony, political governance and rich culture. Literacy for the state is the highest in India at over 95%, population growth and infant mortality are the lowest while life expectancy is higher. This shows the excellent education and the best medical care available in Kerala. Women’s position in the society is admirable and they enjoy gender equality, a rare exception in India.

The richness and authenticity of various indigenous traditions and art forms are also the reasons for the tourists to visit Kerala. Kathakali, the traditional dance-drama of Kerala, the Ayurveda, the ancient system of healing based on herbal medicine and the millennium old Kalaripayattu, the martial arts unique to Kerala, as well as the extensive and elaborate temple festivals are some of the cultural reasons that attract countless number of visitors to its shore. The mouth watering and tasty cuisines special about Kerala are contributed by the spices, vegetables and crops grown in this fertile land.


Kerala at a Glance

Capital

Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum)

Language

Malayalam

Area

38,863 sq.km

Number of districts

14

Population

33,387,677

Density of population

860 / sq.km

Sex ratio

1058 females per 1000 males

Life expectancy

71.3

Time zone

IST (UTC+05:30)

Literacy rate

95.5%

Taluks

63

Major religions

Hinduism, Christianity, Islam

Rivers

44

Economy

Agricultural

Official animal

Elephant

Official bird

Hornbill

Official flower

The Indian Laburnum

Official tree

Coconut palm

No.of universities

8

National parks

5

Wild life sanctuaries

15

Annual average rainfall

3100 mm

Website

Kerala.gov.in

Orientation tour of Kerala

“Spend a Semester in Kerala” comes with the added attraction of the exhilarating experience of enjoying the unspoiled beauty of nature along with cultural immersion activities to learn a new culture, its people and society before the start of each semester.

This two week free tour of Kerala organized by IISAC is a part of the program that allows the new batch of students to bond together and reduce their cultural shock before integrating with the university life.

Destinations and activities are carefully selected to stimulate the physical senses of the incoming U S students. The scenic tour locations include Kovalam, the worlds famous beach, Thiruvanathapuram, the capital of Kerala, famous for museums, temples and art galleries, Kochi, nicknamed as “Queen of Arabian Sea”, famous for colonial artifacts, Chinese fishing nets, and the first Jewish Synagogue of the Commonwealth, Moolamattam in Western Ghats for mountain climbing and hiking, Thekkady for the tropical rain forest and also to see herds of elephants and groups of monkeys. Munnar is famous for tea plantations and the highest mountain peak and finally Kumarakom for its pristine backwaters.

Throughout the tour we met somany people, and went to so many locations.With out fail,in every place we went,we found people willing to help out a stranger.Some times it was because we warewhite, but most times it was because we needed help.Here in this culture,hospitality is not just expected of the people,the people are happiest when their gust are happy.People are good until proven otherwise, and all the human beings you see on the street are willing to talk and help and love you because you are unique and different. The tour take you all over Kerala and because of that you get to see this featureof Indian people in action in every setting imaginable.Truly it was a memorable and magical experience David Cogswell

David Cogswell