The midlands of Kerala, spanning three districts, have a varied topography and climate. Pathanamthitta harbours dense forests, whereas in genteel Kottayam, the topography and climate change sharply-from backwaters and plains to high ranges. Idukki is out-and-out hilly, with 97 per cent of its area covered in rugged mountains. Rivers, trekking trails, stunning views and wildlife make the midlands a haven for environmentalists. This region is also the nucleus of the literacy scene in Kerala, and home to many newspapers and periodicals.
The Meenachil River forms the lifeline of the midlands. Endowed with fertile soil, there has been intensive cultivation in the area, particularly of cash crops. Cashew, coconut, areca nut, tapioca, banana, mango, rice, ginger, pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, coffee, and various kinds of root vegetables grow extensively. Hhile the weekly pepper and cardamom auctions at Kumily draw traders from all over, the vast rubber plantations have spawned a vibrant trade in raw rubber and its products. Known as the heartland of Kerala – for its location as well as for its vital contributions to the economy of the State -the midlands may be quiet and laidback, but its people certainly know the importance of their region.

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