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) is a state
in south-western India
. It was
created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act
together the areas where Malayalam
is the dominant language. The state has an area of
and is bordered by Karnataka
to the north, Tamil Nadu
to the south and the
east and the Arabian sea
towards the west. Thiruvananthapuram
is the capital of Kerala.
are the other major cities.
Kerala is wedged between the Laccadive Sea
and the Western Ghats
. Lying between
north latitudes 8°18' and 12°48' and east longitudes 74°52' and 72°22',
experiences the humid equatorial
tropic climate. The state has a coast of length 590 km
and the width of the state varies between 35 and 120 km (22–75 miles).
Geographically, Kerala can be divided into three climatically distinct regions: the eastern
highlands (rugged and cool mountainous terrain), the central midlands (rolling hills), and
the western lowlands (coastal plains). Located at the extreme southern tip of the Indian
, Kerala lies near the centre of the Indian
; hence, most of the
state is subject to comparatively little seismic
and volcanic activity.
geological formations compose the bulk of Kerala’s terrain.
Eastern Kerala consists of high mountains, gorges and deep-cut valleys immediately west
of the Western Ghats' rain shadow
. Forty-one of Kerala’s west-flowing rivers, and three
of its east-flowing ones originate in this region. The Western Ghats form a wall of
mountains interrupted only near Palakkad
, where the Palakkad Gap
breaks through to
provide access to the rest of India. The Western Ghats rises on average to 1,500 m
(4920 ft) above sea level, while the highest peaks may reach to 2,500 m (8200 ft).
is the highest peak at an elevation of 2,695 metres (8,130 ft). Just west of the
mountains lie the midland plains comprising central Kerala, dominated by rolling hills
Generally ranging between elevations of 250–1,000 m (820–3300 ft), the
eastern portions of the Nilgiri
and Palni Hills
include such formations as Agastyamala
Kerala’s western coastal belt is relatively flat, and is criss-crossed by a network of
, lakes, estuaries
, and rivers known as the Kerala
. Lake Vembanad
—Kerala’s largest body of water—dominates the
Backwaters; it lies between Alappuzha and Kochi and is more than 200 km² in area.
Around 8% of India's waterways (measured by length) are found in Kerala.