KOCHI: With Kochi grabbing the seventh spot in the popular travel guide Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel 2020’ list, the latest state budget’s thrust on bolstering various heritage and cultural projects is evidence enough that the government is eager to cash in on the acclaim. While some projects, already underway, are expected to be thrown open to the public soon; many more are on the brink of commencement.
Of the 116 protected monuments in the state under the purview of Department of Archaeology, 25 are located in Ernakulam district alone. Of these, the Hill Palace at Tripunithura, which already houses an archaeological museum, is currently undergoing an overhaul. “The rearrangement of artefacts at the Hill Palace Museum is going on under the aegis of the Central government. Kerala Museum, which is the nodal agency, is also in the process of setting up a thematic display based on the Kingdom of Cochin and the history of Tripunithura. The curatorial note and the gallery plan have been prepared. Tender procedure has been completed. The work is most likely to begin after March,” said an official from the Archaeology Department.
The much-awaited district heritage museum at Bastian Bungalow in Fort Kochi is expected to see the light of the day by the end of this year. “The strength of the upcoming museum is that it will narrate the history pertaining to the evolution of Kochi as a trade and maritime centre. The Bungalow will mainly display maps, photographs and documents currently in possession of various international galleries and archives. We have already identified most of the material which will be procured soon,” said Dr Venu V, Principal Secretary, Cultural Affairs (Archaeology, Archives, Museums).
The crown jewel in the queen of Arabian Sea’s throne, the historical spot of Fort Kochi is soon slated to get a facelift with Kerala Tourism charting a primary roadmap for comprehensive development of the beach. “We have entrusted IIT, Madras to undertake a study on the current status of the shoreline and the tidal pattern at Fort Kochi beach. They have constituted a committee in this regard which is expected to submit its report by the end of March this year. The work on reclamation and restoration of the beach is expected to begin in the next financial year,” said K Raj Kumar, joint director, Kerala Tourism.
Another project on cards at Fort Kochi is the construction of a modern toilet facility which has already received financial sanction from the government.Furthermore, the prestigious Muziris Heritage Project has plans to develop multiple heritage hubs in Ernakulam. A prominent one being the interpretation centre at Pattanam which will display a sizeable portion of artefacts and relics found at the Muziris excavation site. “A museum on the classical performative artform of Chavittu Nadakam is also in the pipeline. It will be located at Gothuruth. We are planning to complete all the projects by April next year. However, some museums will be ready to be inaugurated in three or six months time,” said P M Nowshad, managing director of Muziris Heritage Project.
●The Hill Palace, which already houses an archaeological museum, is currently undergoing an overhaul
●Fort Kochi is soon slated to get a facelift with Kerala Tourism charting a primary roadmap for
development of the beaches