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Kerala- God's Own Country

"God's Own Country" is a phrase meaning an area, region or place supposedly favored by God. 

According to legends, Lord Parasurama threw his axe across the sea, and the water receded as far as it reached. The new area of land extended from Gokarna to Kanyakumari. The land which rose from sea was filled with salt and was unsuitable for habitation; so Parasurama invoked the Snake King Vasuki, who spat the holy poison and converted the soil into fertile lush green land. Out of respect, Vasuki and all snakes were appointed as protectors and guardians of the land.

Again much earlier Puranic character associated with Kerala is King Mahabali, an Asura and a prototypical just king, who ruled the earth from Kerala.

According Hindu Mythology, the Asura or demon King Mahabali made the Utopian kingdom a reality. His fame spread all over the earth and the hell and slowly into the heaven. Indra, the king of Devas and the ruler of heaven, felt threatened by his growing popularity. King Mahabali had turned his kingdom into a virtual paradise on earth and the ‘devas’ could not tolerate this and they sought the help of Lord Vishnu to eliminate King Mahabali. Also he won wars against the Devas, driving them into exile. Onam is perhaps a rare Hindu festival in which Lord Vishnu, the vanquisher, is the villain and the vanquished King Mahabali the hero. 

The Devas pleaded before Lord Vishnu, who took his fifth incarnation as Vamana and pushed Mahabali down to the underworld (hell) to placate the Devas. Lord Vishnu, seeing the devotion of Mahabali, blessed him to be the Indra of the next Manvantara. There is a belief that, once a year during the Onam festival, King Mahabali returns to Kerala. It is said that the Lord Vishnu is guarding Mahabali's Kingdom as a mark of respect for his virtues. Whatever be the reason, the Vamana avatar of Lord Vishnu is remembered primarily due to the great King Mahabali. And in a rare instance an Asura or demon wins the heart of people over a God.

The Matsya Purana, one of the oldest of the 18 Puranas, uses the Mountains of Kerala and Tamil Nadu as the setting for the story of Matsya, the first incarnation of Maha Vishnu and Manu, the first man and the king of the region. These Puranic accounts portray Kerala as "God’s own country", or the land favoured by God.

The description of Kerala as "God's own country" can additionally be traced to the event known as Thrippadidanam, in which in 1749-50, the then ruler Marthanda Varma, Maharaja of Travancore, decided to "donate" his realm to Sri Padmanabha (Maha Vishnu) and thereafter rule as the deity's "vicegerent" (Sri Padmanabha Dasa).

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