Incredible Kerala  By Govind Kumar   

 

She is incredible because of her scenic beauty, by the magnificence bestowed by Nature. Her green landscape lures tourists and makes them feel that it is a heavenly Paradise.  She gets three monsoons, the South West, the North East and Summer Rains. Her people are blessed by high academic education and her green landscape architecture is effected by Nature Herself !

The Coriolis Force of the Earth sways the South West Monsoon winds and precipitation occurs heavily in Kerala.  Even now it is raining ( Today is Sep 9 ). 

Wedged in between the Lakshadweep Sea and the mighty Western Ghats, Kerala lies between north latitudes 8.18 and 1248 and east longitudes 74.52 and 77.22.  Kerala is blessed with a humid equatorial tropical climate. Kerala is blessed by 44 rivers, 41 of them westward flowing and three of them eastward. 

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Kerala's western coastal belt is relatively flat and is interconnected by rivers, lakes, estuaries and  brackish canals  known as Kerala Backwaters.  Vembanad Lake, the largest body of water in the state, dominates the Backwaters and is more than 200 km^2 , lying between Alleppey and Kochi.  8% of the Inland Waterways of India are found in Kerala. 

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These are some of  Kerala's main rivers

Periyar -  244 km

Bharatapuzha - 209 km.

Pamba - 176 km

Chaliyar - 169 km

Kadalundi Puzha - 130 km  

 

41 west flowing rivers and 3 east flowing rivers originate from the Western Ghats, a high biodiversity area. Kerala lies at the centre of India's techtonic plate, and little volcanic and seismic activity  is reported in the state. The Western Ghats rise to almost 5000 feet above sea level. 

 

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The Climate of Kerala 

There are more than 140 rainy days per year and Kerala has a wet and maritime tropical climate, effected by the seasonal heavy rainfall of the South West and North East Monsoon. 65% rainfall occurs in the South West Monsoon ( known as Kala Varsha). Rest occurs during the second season of the North East season. The moisture laden from the cold Indian Ocean, divides itself  into two parts the Arabian Branch and the Bay of Bengal Branch. 

The Arabian Sea Branch of the S W Monsoon first hits the Western Ghats in Kerala, thereby heralding the Edava Pathi, on May 29th, when the Sun enters the 15th degree of Taurus. This makes Kerala the first state to receive rains from the SW Monsoon. During the North East Monsoon, when the Sun enters the First Degree of Libra, the pressure distribution pattern is reversed, as the Indian Ocean point near the Tropic of Cancer becomes considerably hot, and the cold winds from the North, pick up moisture laden winds from the Bay of Bengal and pours over the east coast of peninsular India ! 

In Kerala, the influence of the N E Monsoon is seen towards the southern districts only.

 

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Some of Kerala's dried lowlands average only 1250 mm, while the mountains of eastern Idukki district average more than 5000 mm of rains of orographic precipitation. 

The mean temperatures of Kerala vary from 19 to 38 degree C. 

 

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Mythology 

It is said that Parasurama, one of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, recovered Kerala from the seabed.  He was an axe weilding warrior sage, and as He threw His axe into the sea, the water receded as far as it reached. This tale is endorsed by scientific geographers that Kerala indeed was under the sea in ancient times. 

Kerala is associated with another mythological tale. The King of the demons, Maha Bali, was a prototypical king of Justice and when he won the war against the celestials, he drove them to exile. The celestials went to the Lord to complain about the loss of their kingdom and then the Lord incarnated as a Dward, Vamana, to push Maha Bali to the netherworld. Maha Bali used to visit Kerala once in an year and this Festival is the beloved Festival of the Keralites, Onam !

 

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KSAM, The Kerala School of Astronomy and Mathematics 

Brilliant astronomers founded the KSAM. Madhava of Sangramagrama was a great mathematicians and the modern sines, cos and tans are atrributed to him. Madhava Sine Tables were found to be very accurate. He was followed by great astronomers and mathematicians like Parameswara, Jyeshtadeva, Neelakanta, Chitra Bhanu, Achyutha Pisharody and the great poet Melpathur. 

It was Neelakanta who proposed a  Helio Geo centric Universe and it came to be known as the Neelakantan Model, like the Tychonic Model ( Tycho Brahe in the West proposed the same ).  The Threefold Trignometic Method, the method of longitude corrected thrice, was perfected by the Kerala astronomers.

It is said that the Western scholars, in order to understand Trignometry, sent Mattio Ricci to Kerala. The Gregorian Calendrical Reforms were initiated by Christopher Clavius, who learnt Maths from Pedro Nunes. For celestial navigation and to compute loxodromes, longitudes and latitudes, accurate  Sine Tables were needed and the Western scholars learnt it from Kerala mathematicians. In computing the celestial longitudes of planets, differential equations were used. 

In computing the Motional Strengths of Planets, differential equations had to be used, as Motion is a function of Time ( y = f(x) ) !

 

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