November 25, 2006 4:06pm CST
Kerala lies on the southwest coast of the Indian Peninsula, stretching 360 miles along what is known as the Malabar coast. Its area of 15,000 square miles comprises just over one percent of the total land area of India, though its 29 million person population accounts for 3.5% of the Indian population. The state is bordered by Karnataka to the north and Tamil Nadu to the east, but Kerala is physically separated from neighboring states by the Western Ghat mountain range; this feature isolated Kerala from other Indian cultures for many years, and as a result allowed it to develop a society in which foreign culture is actually more evident than is the Indian influence.
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