howcasing the cultural richness of the erstwhile Travancore kingdom that now lies in the southern part of the state, the Kerala Government is set to begin a Rs 100-crore Travancore Heritage Tourism Project (THTP) that envisages conservation of the region’s palaces, mansions and temples.
The project will ensure that the old-world looks of the structures will be retained, besides illuminating the landmarks of the city to give them greater visual appeal in the evenings.
THTP, overall, covers heritage structures from Padmanabhapuram Palace, now in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, to the Parthasarathy temple on the banks of the Pampa in Aranmula of Pathanamthitta district. The first phase will be carried out in four stages across Thiruvananthapuram district, giving fillip to the tourism development.
The project has been drafted by Mumbai-based architectural firm AbhaNarainLambah Associates, which is into conservation of several historical sites across India.
“The Travancore Heritage Tourism Project is an attempt to highlight the hidden jewels of the erstwhile kingdom and give a boost to tourism, creating a new circuit for visitors to explore Kerala”, said State Tourism Minister Shri KadakampallySurendran.
The phase one of THTP will give a facelift to the famedSree Padmanabhaswamy temple and adjoining East Fort, besides 19 majestic building complexes on either side of arterial MG Road up till Vellayambalam, spanning five kilometres. These structures will be illuminated by employing state-of-the-art techniques.
Simultaneously, a 14-km stretch from East Fort, which is the heart of the city, to Enjakkal northwestward will have 21 heritage-value structures lit up aesthetically. The work on both the roads is progressing well, authorities said.
The second phase will carry out renovation of the historical monuments such as the dilapidated Koyikkal Palace in Attingal which is 30 km north of the state capital,150-year-old Anantha Vilasam mansion, the 1839-built Ranga Vilasam and Sundara Vilasam, also near Padmanabhaswamy temple.
At the centre of the project is Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, with the remnants of its fort wall, streets with historically and architecturally important structures, shopping streets, the temple pond and the living streets.
As part of the project, the state secretariat will be made more attractive with laser project. Using digital system, it will throw light on the political history of the 1956-formed Kerala.
THTP has also charted the renovation of the Kilimanoor Palace that gave birth to world-famous artist Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906).
Centuries old stone structures like Arattu Mandapam at Shanghumugham beach and the rock-cut cave at Vizhinjam have been made part of the heritage circuit.
The project also has brought in its ambit vintage institutional buildings in the city, most of which are still functional, like State Central Library, Ayyankali Hall (previously known as VJT Hall), University College and Post Master General (PMG) building.
Apart from the monuments associated with the royal period, the circuit includes structures like Anjengo Fort, a trade settlement of East India Company in down south and the remnants of the 16th century Portuguese built St Thomas Fort at Thangassery in Kollam,
By conserving and renovating the heritage monuments of the Travancore belt, THTP seeks to bring in more tourists from abroad.
Kerala Governor inaugurates One School One IAS scheme for underprivileged aspirants of IAS competitive exams
Kerala Governor ShriArif Mohammad Khan today launched Vedhik Erudite Foundation’s ambitious scheme to provide free coaching for civil services and other competitive examinations to 10,000 meritorious but financially weak students across the state.
“This higher education platform will givethe children a chance to completely redecorate their future plans and broaden their horizons totally, rewriting their value capital,” Shri Khan said, declaring open the‘One School One IAS’ programme, being implemented with the support of sponsors.
Actor ManjuWarrier made the first sponsorship declaration, hailing the Vedhik Erudite Foundation’s Scholarship Programme. To begin with, she adopted 10 girl students across Kerala by meeting their coaching expenses for civil service exams.
The Governor pointed out thatto serve as a civil servant is a dream every young mind in India carries from a very early stage. But many of them do not know where to start and what it takes to achieve this goal. A subsequent relocation to big cities entails huge expenses, he noted. “For the first time in the country, we have the ‘OneSchoolOneIAS’ programme that is set to produce at least one civil servant from all schools of India. Coming from rural and semi-urban areas,they will be mainly from government and aided schools.”
The Governor, over video conference, joined the function held at Grand Hyatt in Bolgatty Island of this city.Other addressees at the ceremony, which was presided over by VedhikEruditeFoundation Chairman Dr J Alexander,IAS, were SyroMalabar Catholic Church Major Archbishop Cardinal Mar George Alencherry, Foundation Directors Dr Alexander Jacob, IPS and Shri Shankar Bidari, IPS,Vice Chairman Dr Babu Sebastian and Secretary Shri James Mattam.
The function was addressed online byVedhik Erudite Foundation Patron Dr C V Ananda Bose, IAS and Director Dr Muhammad Basheer.
Dr J Alexander, former Chief Secretary and Cabinet Minister of Karnataka, said the novel initiative envisages equipping students with not just preparing for the civil services but other competitive exams as well. The Academy, which focuses on aspirants from rural areas, will start grooming them from the high school level, he added.
Dr Alexander Jacob, former Kerala DGP, noted that a “one per cent inspiration” was crucial for a civil services aspirant to come out successful. “No student who is keen to join the IAS, IPS or clear similar competitive exams should suffer owing to lack of funds,”he said in his keynote address, revealing that he has given training to 525 such aspirants. The ‘OneSchoolOneIAS’ is a pleasantly inverse case of the ‘Mountain going to Mohammed’, Dr Jacob added, referring to the famed proverb.
ShriBidari said the ‘unique coaching programme merits emulation in other parts of the country. “More such attempts will help create an egalitarian society with harmony,” he added.
Today’s function saw the signing of MoUs between VedhikErudite Foundation and five leading educational institutions of Kerala.
Foundation Vice Chairman Dr Sebastian welcomed the gathering, while ShriMattam proposed a vote of thanks.
Vedhik Erudite Foundation is helmed by India’s top academics and retired IAS and IPS officers. They include Dr Jacob, Dr Bose (who is a former Kerala Chief Secretary and UN Consultant), Dr Sebastian (former VC of MG and Kannur Universities), Dr Basheer (former VC of University of Calicut), Dr Alexander, Mr Bidari (former DGP of Karnataka),Dr NilouferAKazmi (former Secretary, University Grants Commission) and ShriMattam.
The trainers comprise Kerala former Additional Chief Secretary Mr O P Minocha, Col (retd)D S Cheema, CMAI Association of India President Prof N K Goyal, senior IAS officer VivekAtre and Safari channel head Mr Santhosh George Kulangara, also a well-known globetrotter.
The Kochi-headquartered institution has an office in Delhi.
CM opens Kerala Arts &Crafts Village at Vellar
Kerala Chief Minister Shri Pinarayi Vijayan today said it is important to tap the possibilities of online marketing for handicraft products to preserve and promote the state’s widely-acclaimed art and craft traditions and enhance their global appeal.
The Chief Minister was speaking after dedicating the first phase of Kerala Arts & Crafts Village (KACV) at Vellar near Kovalam here, as a sprawling campus toshowcase Kerala’s vibrant art and cultural heritage.
“The project is aimed at preserving our traditional arts and handicrafts. By lending a unique appeal to arts and crafts, we have to raise them to global standards. It is also important to explore the opportunity of online marketing of our handicraft products,” said Shri Vijayan, while inaugurating the facility through video conference.
Noting that it’s a proud moment for tourism sector, the Chief Minister said the KACV would be firmly marked on the global tourism map.
“Tourism sector is forging ahead by overcoming so many challenges. Due to Covid-19, the sector has incurred a loss of Rs 40,000 crore. The government is committed to bring about a growth in tourism sector without harming the environment,” he said.
Spread around 8.5 acres of panoramic locale, KACV has been designed and implemented by Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society Ltd (ULCCS Ltd) for Kerala Tourism Department, making it an ideal destination for visitors and art buffs alike to enjoy the best of Kerala’s traditional, folk and ethnic art,craft and performing traditions.ULCCS has completed the first phase of the project at a cost of Rs 20 crore.
Shri Vijayan noted that ULCCS has completed the first phase of KACV before the stipulated time.
Tourism Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran, who presided over the function, said that the government’s approach is to promote tourism as an activity for the economic benefit of the common people. “In that sense, KACV is a shining model and it will definitely elevate the position of Kerala, especially Kovalam and the capital city, on the global tourism map to the golden status.”
Shri Surendran also launched KACV Kalari Academy Concept Book by handing it over to Kalaripayattu practitioner Padma Shri Smt Meenakshi Amma.
Shri Shashi Tharoor MP gave his message on the occasion through video conference.
In her welcome address, Smt Rani George, Principal Secretary, Tourism, said that KACV is going to be another sought-after destination for domestic and foreign tourists.
Presenting the report on the project, Tourism Director Shri P Bala Kiran said the capital city is now passing through the golden era of tourism development considering the number of projects being implemented by the government.
Shri EM Najeeb, Senior Vice President, IATO; Adv. D. Suresh Kumar, President, District Panchayath, Thiruvananthapuram; Shri M.V. Manmohan, President, Block Panchayath, Athiyannoor; Shri R.S. Sreekumar, President, Grama Panchayath, Venganoor; and Shri Rameshan Paleri, Chairman, ULCCS Ltd., were also present.
Shri Shaju S, Managing Director, ULCCS Ltd., proposed a vote of thanks.
The key features of the complex include an amphitheatre, museums, studios for craftspeople to work and an art gallery, enabling the visitors to have a hands-on feel of the rich and diverse heritage of Kerala handed down through centuries.
The campus has dedicated spaces for artisans and craftspeople, mostly from south Kerala, to work and sell their exquisite and authentic products. Visitors can buy souvenirs and curios to add to their collection.
Developed on the model of Sargalaya at Iringal in Kozhikode district, Kerala Arts&
Crafts Village has design strategy lab, game zones, handloom village, reading rooms, food courts, walkways and rest areas, making it an all-inclusive leisure spot.
51st IFFI to highlight autism spectrum disorder by premiering Keralite filmmakers non fiction film In Our World
This first-of-its-kind documentary has been directed and produced by ace filmmaker Shreedhar of Shred Creative Lab – winner of 43 national and international awards for creative excellence
The 51st International Film Festival of India (IFFI) is presenting a humane face by highlighting the many shades of autism through the narratives of three children in the beginning of the New Year. Shred Creative Lab Private Limited’s documentary on Autism ‘In Our World’ will premiere as the official selection on 18thJanuary at 13:00 hours in the non-feature film category of the Indian Panorama of the 51st IFFI in Goa (to be held from 16th to 24th January 2021). This brilliant documentary has been directed and produced by ace Keralite filmmaker Shreedhar BS of Shred Creative Lab – winner of 43 national and international awards for creative excellence. The trailer of the docu-film is available on https://youtu.be/E1cq5lKxc_0
This film documents the lives of three autistic children explored through their day-to-day lived reality, to unpack their world and bring about a nuanced understanding so we can all co-exist with love and respect. With in-depth, semi-structured, candid interviews of parents, therapists; their day-to-day activities like swimming classes, horse-riding and music lessons; their special moments with parents, all converge into a narrative that spells hope. This film goes beyond mere documentation of their lives to garner a nuanced understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It unveils their experiences, their daily negotiations and trials to tell the world that they do not need sympathy; rather need to be understood and accepted for who they are; that we need to understand their world in order to co-exist as equals, with respect and love.
Director and Producer of the documentary Shreedhar BS, said “The way we live right now suggests there are two different worlds. Of “them” and “us.” They who are misunderstood by Us. This film is that window to see a world which needs to be understood in all its nonconformist ways with love and charter a path to assimilate them in one world, in one universe where we all co-exist with love and mutual respect. In Our World.”
The festival strategy partner for the documentary is Panorama Spotlight, a division under Panorama Studios.
Links – Facebook - https://fb.watch/2X1C9vVfro/
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/p/CJ4DpwZD0Ug/0
Kerala, MP Tourism ministers exchange MoUs
Kerala’s famed Responsible Tourism (RT) found another state officially emulating the pioneering initiative, as Madhya Pradesh today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the state for implementation of the Kerala model,which involves local communities and makestourism a tool for rural development.
The two states signed a joint declaration under which Kerala will extend a series of services under a 16-point programme. The MoUswere exchanged at a ceremony by the state’s Tourism Minister Shri KadakampallySurendran and his Madhya Pradesh counterpart MsUsha Thakur.
Shri Surendran said Responsible Tourism is the “only tool for sustainable development of tourism” as it creates better places for people to live in and visit. “RT takes the responsibility of the economic well-being of society. It ensures social and cultural stability besides environmental protection,” he noted, terming the pact with Madhya Pradesh as “another milestone” for Kerala Tourism and its RT Mission.
Shri Surendran said Kerala did not have a practical model to follow or replicate when it launched RT. Today, the Mission has more than 20,000 units comprising small-scale entrepreneurs, artists, craftspeople, traditional workers, farmers and other service providers.“They are local communities at the grassroots, linked directly or indirectly with tourism,” he added.
“The RT Mission’s projects earned Kerala’s tourist map several micro destinations. It has, during its function since October 2017, generated an income of Rs 35 crores amid disruptions owing to Nipah, two floods and now Covid -19.”
Ms Thakur said she was overwhelmed by the way the tradition, culture and heritage of Kerala is being preserved here. She pointed out thatwith the help of RT Mission of Kerala, the rustic beauty, life and heritageof Madhya Pradesh could be highlighted on the world tourism map.
“There are several tribes like Bhil, Sahariya and Gond living in our state, and we want to showcase their traditional value, attire and food habits to the entire country and outside word with Kerala’s assistance. India is a country of villages and its soul lies in the villages. We want to show it to the world with your cooperation, she added.”
Kerala Tourism Secretary Smt Rani George saidthe success of RT in Kerala has always beenthe public and private partnership. “Community should be benefitted and empowered through RT. So it’s high time other states thought about embracing RT,” she said, adding that a team from Kerala will be visiting Madhya Pradesh as part of this collaboration.
Kerala Tourism Director Shri P Bala Kiran, welcoming the gathering, said the MoU with Madhya Pradesh marks a new progress for Kerala in RT sector. Kerala can also learn a lot from Madhya Pradesh.
Kerala RT Mission coordinator Shri K Rupeshkumarsaid Madhya Pradesh can become a champion in RT sector with the support of Kerala, which has already set a model in RT in the world.
Ms Sonia Meena, Deputy Secretary and Additional Managing Director of Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board, gave a presentation on the proposed RT activities in the central Indian state.
Shri Krishna Teja, MD, Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC); Dr Reena K S, ward councillor; Shri Manoj Kumar Singh, Director, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board; Shri Baby Mathew Somatheeram, President, Kerala Travel Mart Society (KTM) and SeniorVice President of IATO Shri EM Najeeb also attended.
In the next one week, a 13-member team from Bhopal, led by Minister Smt Thakurwill tour different parts of Kerala to gather first-hand knowledge about RT in the state.
Today’s MoU entrusts Kerala RT Mission with the task of implementing RT projects in Madhya Pradesh in ways that suit that state. Kerala will help Madhya Pradesh chart its RT masterplan, ready the human resources to implement the project, conduct training projects, list the criteria for the formation of district tourism promotion councils, locate sustained tourism projects so as to carry out RT projects, formulate social and economic security measures, help in gradation of hotels, resorts and homestays, form tourism clubs and restrooms on lines of Kerala’s RT.