Express News Service
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Aranmula Heritage Protection Council is for restoring the heritage materials damaged in the recent deluge. Underscoring this, Centre for Heritage Studies’ former Dean M G Sasibhooshan - who is a member of the Heritage Council and Research Centre formed under the aegis of Aranmula Council - told Express, ”Several important heritage properties were destroyed and partially damaged in the floods.
Those partially damaged can be restored and we are on the job while the completely damaged ones may have to be replaced."The society is keen on documenting the losses, with the International Council on Monuments and Sites’(ICOMOS) volunteers already on the job. Though ICOMOS is a global agency, the volunteers comprising engineers, architects and artists -who are experts in the documentation of these artefacts - have been recruited locally.
They are mainly concentrating on the Aranmula Kannadi, Mannar Brass, Palliyodangal. Chengamanad Handloom, Edakkal caves and several manuscripts which became damp and almost got destroyed in the floods. “There are 22 families engaged in the production of Aranmula Kannadi and they have been left reeling in the floods’ wake. They need help, both financial and material.
“They have already asked for Rs 5 lakh government assistance to each family. Since we don’t have money, we are in the process of providing them with the grinders, each costing around `2 lakh,” said Sasibhooshan.
The Heritage Council’s primary focus is on restoring the unique production of Aranmula Kannadi and for this materials are required as well as utensils for moulding the precious metals.
On the Palliyodams, Sasibhooshan said, “ Half of the 52 Palliyodams are damaged, with eight of them getting completely destroyed. Restoring a Palliyodam will cost around `50 lakh”.
The society is also keen to intervene in the Chengamanad Handloom Weavers issue and those engaged in the documentation process said the work is already underway.
The ICOMOS volunteers have already documented the Paliyam Dutch Palace. Besides, moves are afoot to set up heritage clubs across the state. This will take off in Aranmula where there are 52 village forums situated on either bank of the river.
Training will be imparted to these forums and thereby students of CBSE and private schools on conservation and restoration of heritage sites.