KOCHI: Spirituality and nature were intertwined in ancient India from time immemorial. The life of great seers was example of the relationship between the environment and the human psyche.
Now, those looking for wellness and spirituality in nature have reasons to cheer as the state government is gearing up to submit a revised detailed project report (DPR) of the ambitious Athirappilly-Kalady-Malayattoor-Kodanad tourism project in a month.
The first DPR of the nature tourism project was submitted to the Centre a few months ago. However, the Centre directed the state government to submit a revised DPR, including the development of spiritual centres along the tourism circuit project. Mooted under Centre's ‘Swadesh Darshan’ initiative which envisages to tap the tourism and pilgrimage potential of the region, the project is estimated to cost Rs 99 crore.
According to the office of Innocent MP – who took initiative to materialize the project in his Lok Sabha constituency – GITPAC International, the consultancy agency which prepared the master plan of the project is working on the revised DPR which will be submitted to the Centre in a month. Under the project, infrastructural facilities, including both spiritual and natural, at various tourist destinations on the circuit route will be developed. Developing a cycle route between Malayattoor-Ezhattumugham Road which cuts through a plantation, setting up a museum to exhibit the work and relics of Adi Sankara at his birthplace, constructing accommodation facilities and toilets at prominent places, developing the road connecting tourist destinations like Athirappilly, Ezhuttumugham, Malayattoor Church, Kalady, Kanjoor Church, Iringole Kavu, Naganchery mana, elephant kraal at Kodanad and Abhayaranyam, a nature appreciation centre set up by the Forest Department at Kaprikad, are some of the works envisaged in the project, said officers.
Places and destinations on the circuit with cultural and heritage value, besides the conservation and preservation of buildings of architectural value will be given more thrust as part of the project. Since the project is connecting various eco-sensitive spots, development work will be done without upsetting the bio-diversity of the region, said officers.
The proposed project will also boost the tourism potential of the region especially Athirappilly, Vazhachal and Thumboormuzhi, where tourists have been flocking since the onset of monsoon to savour the beauty of hills, falls and valleys during the rain.
The Athirappilly-Thumboormuzhi-Vazhachal Destination Management Council (DMC) has already been organising a jungle safari through the region for the last couple of years, said executive officer of Tourism Promotion Council Manesh Sebastian. Buoyed by its success, DMC is set to organise an exclusive jungle safari for students at subsidised rates from this year. Under it, students will be introduced to wildlife and nature. The pleasure trip will double up as an awareness drive on the need to preserve nature and its treasure.“The opening of new nature and spiritual tourism circuit will catalyse the tourism potential of the region and a new tourism market will be emerged in the region,” Manesh said.