According to one popular theory, “Kerala” name derives from “Kera” (means “coconut tree” in Malayalam) and “alam” (means land). Thus, it is called “land of coconuts” which also happens to be a nickname for the state due to plenty of coconut trees and its use by the locals. In another theory, the word “Kerala” is first recorded as Keralaputra, which means Cherathala makan or Cheraman in a 3rd-century BCE rock inscription left by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka (274-237 BCE). The inscription indicates to the local ruler as Keralaputra, means “son of Kerala” or “son of Chera”. This is against the theory that “Kera” is from coconut tree.
Kerala is one of India’s most developing states in respect of social welfare and quality of life. The State takes pride in having one of India’s top literacy rates, top life expectancy and least child mortality rates. The literacy rate for women is one of the top in all of Asia. Enjoying a unique sophisticated viewpoint, the people of Kerala, at all levels of society, have more access to services and opportunities as well as a greater say in their governance.
According to Hindu mythology, the lands of Kerala were recovered from the sea by the axe-wielding warrior sage Parasurama, the sixth avatar of Vishnu. Hence, Kerala is also called Parasurama Kshetram (“The Land of Parasurama”). According to legend, Parasurama threw his axe across the sea, and the water receded as far as it reached. This new area of land extended from Gokarna to Kanyakumari. The land which rose from sea was filled with salt which was unsuitable for habitation. So, Parasurama calls the Snake King Vasuki, who spat holy poison and transformed the soil into fertile lush green land. Thereafter, Vasuki and all snakes were appointed as protectors and guardians of the land.
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