COCHIN

With foreign influences as disperate as chinese and portughesa,Arab and Dutch,Kerala is the spice coast of India.The state is composed of intensively green paddy fields and a unique network of rivers and lagoons.Upland kerala is composed of hills, thickly wooded with teak and rubber.It is here that Kerala's most precious spices are grown; cardomom,pepper and nutmeg.Thiruvanathapuram, the state capital,with an international airport, has an exceptionally fine museum set in an amusement park. Ten miles away is Kovalam, one of the most beautiful and popular beaches in the country. Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Trivandrum and Padmanabhapuram Place, a short drive away, are important monuments.
Kochi, with a fine natural harbor, has been Kerala's center of maritime trade for centuries.Along the harbor,rows of Chinese fishing nets indicate kerala's trade with China.Kerala's traditions of dance forms can be witnessed at regularly held performances.Lecture demonstrations of the most spectacular if these-Kathakali are held daily at many centers in kochi.A five hours drive from Cochin leads into southern India's tea growing district centered at old world Munnar.