The history of Kerala is very fascinating and intriguing. Many tales about the history of Kerala exist in the form of folklores. The most popular is the one in which an avatar of Lord Vishnu (one of the main Gods of the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) recovers the land of Kerala from the sea. The story is as follows.

According to ancient legends, the 6th incarnation of Lord Vishnu was born as the son of a sage. He was named Parashuram. Parashuram was an ace warrior and it is said that he traveled around the world 21 times and punished wrong doers for harassing the weak. It is said that Parashuram is one of the few immortals on earth. According to legends, it is said that Parashuram threw his battle-axe at the Arabian Sea. The sea respected and feared Parashuram and receded to reveal the beautiful land of Kerala. It is said that the sea never crossed the place where the axe fell.

The first recorded history of Kerala appears in the inscriptions of the Mauryan Emperor, Ashoka (269-232 b.c.).According to these Ashoka refers to four independent kingdoms that lay to the south of his empire and these were the kingdoms of the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Keralaputrasand the Satiyaputras.Among them, the Keralaputras or the Cheras, as they were called, reigned over Malabar, Cochin and North Travancore – all part of present-day Kerala.

These empires managed to maintain their independence because they were on good terms with the Great Maurya. Otherwise, Ashoka, who was a great empire builder, would surely have attempted to bring these kingdoms under his tutelage. The four South Indian Kingdoms extended a hand of friendship towards the Mauryas. It was really Hobson’s choice for them, having already experienced the Mauryan onslaught during the reign of Ashoka’s predecessor, Bindusara (297-272 b.c.).

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