If Kerala is unspoiled India, then Malabar—as the northern part of the state was once known—is unspoiled Kerala. Arab traders landed here long before Vasco da Gama; many trading families converted to Islam and this part of the state retains strong Muslim influences. Various conquerors built forts along spectacular stretches of coastline, and some of Kerala's most unique and colorful religious festivals take place in
this region. With the exception of the hill station of Wyanad, tourism has yet to make major in-roads into the northern part of Kerala.