Kochi, September 29: The ambassadors of the 31 countries from Asia, the Far East and Europe, which were on the ancient Spice Route, will attend a second round of meetings in Delhi in November, to discuss the sharing of knowledge on the ancient trade with Kerala for the Muziris Heritage Project, said Shri Benny Kuriakose, the architect behind the project, at the Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) today.
“A lot of the materials related to this trade, such as maps, ancient accounts, paintings and artifacts are in other countries, and we will discuss the sharing of knowledge they have with our Muziris initiative,” said Shri Benny, at a seminar at the Samudrika Convention Centre. “We are already in agreement with three among the top world universities to share their digital knowledge.”
The largest heritage conservation project in India, done solely as a state government initiative, the Muziris Heritage Project, involves the renovation of ancient places of worship, old markets and buildings and the construction of museums, while preserving and resuscitating community life and livelihoods.
Shri Benny also announced that in two years, the Muziris project area will boast a maritime museum that will be a must-visit for not only tourists, but also for the local people.
Set in the site of the ancient trading port called Muziris on the River Periyar in present-day Kodungallur, the region traded in pepper and other goods, and has found mention in the accounts of ancient Greece and Rome. It was also the earliest site of Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the country. The ongoing project is scheduled for completion in ten years.
“Seven of the 27 museums approved in the master plan for the project are now open to the public,” said Shri Benny. “These are community museums set in old homes. This project, on which the Kerala government has now spent Rs 200 crore, aims to sustain the 30,000 traditional craftsmen of the region and promote water transport.”
Former KTM society President Shri E M Najeeb pointed out that the project sparked a sense of pride among the local people on their heritage. “This is a project for the people and for future generations in Kerala,” he said.
Art writer Aditi Anand spoke of how the preservation of history plays a very important role in promoting respect for our ancestors and also teaches us about who we are and our role in the world.
“The Muziris Heritage Project transports us back to 3000 years of our lost history,” said the Delhi-based writer speaking at the seminar. “This project, apart from tourism, tells us of a lost time when this land was cosmopolitan and how it contributed to the present cultural diversity of the city.”
Hotelier Ajith Kumar made a presentation on the upcoming Jadayu Earth’s Centre project, which bears the world’s largest bird sculpture, and is an adventure centre located in Kollam. Also speaking at the seminar was former President of Indian Association of Tour Operators Shri Maharaj Wahi.
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