the majority of its plants are those which love a warm and exceedingly
damp climate. In the upper ranges of the Ghâts is found the heavy
evergreen forest, and the principal trees here are referred to in the
account of the Forests below. The low country is conspicuous for the
masses of areca and coco-nut palms which abound in it, and another
prominent tree is the glossy-leaved jack. In the rains every hollow is
filled with a luxuriant tangle of vegetation, and ferns and mosses grow
in profusion on every bank and wall.
The mountains and vast forests of Travancore afford admirable
cover for large game. Elephants are numerous. Tigers, leopards, bears,
bison Qaur), the Nilgiri ibex, sâmbar and other kinds of deer abound.
Snipe, duck, and teal are plentiful in the low country, and otters are
often seen in the backwaters.
Along the coast the climate is equable and damp. The temperature
seldom falls below 7o' and hardly ever rises above 9o'. At the foot of the
hills the variations range to 5° or 6° on either side of these temperatures.
On the hills the thermometer naturally varies with the altitude. On the
High Range the climate is that of a temperate region, the thermometer
falling to 50° or 6o° in the daytime, and frosts at night being known
in the winter months.
The rainfall is heavy. The greatest quantity, brought by the south-
west monsoon, falls between May and August. Towards the end of
October the north-east monsoon asserts itself, but the rain it brings is
lighter on the low country than on the hills in the north, east, where it
descends in sudden and very heavy showers. The Triva,ndrum Obser-
vatory is the only place in Travancore where accurate observations of
meteorological phenomena have been made over any considerable
period. They may be taken, however, as fairly representative of a wide
area. The annual rainfall there averages 58 inches. On the Pďrmed
bills the fall is about 200 inches.
Of the early history of the State but little is known. Tradition says
that it formed part of the ancient kingdom of Kerala, and that in the
early centuries of the Christian era the whole of the
west coast was ruled by a succession of chiefs who History.
each held office for twelve years. About the first half of the ninth
century A.D., Cheramân Perumâl, the last of these, is said to have
divided his country among his relations, one of whom received the
southern portion of Travancore, and then to have gone on a pilgrimage
to Mecca. It seems fairly certain that during the latter half of the
eleventh century the State was conquered by the CHOLAs, but about
a century later the local kings recovered their lost possessions. During
the middle of the thirteenth century the south-eastern portion of the
State was invaded by the PANDYAS of Madura, who had then reasserted
their independence of the waning Cholas. By the beginning of the