KOCHI: A koothambalam that floats! Realising Kerala’s traditional art forms are one of the best options to engage and entertain tourists reaching Kochi’s shores on cruise liners, the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) has come up with a novel plan to set up a floating koothambalam.
The proposal, submitted to the state government, assumes significance considering that the just-concluded cruise tourism season was quite successful for the city, with 49 vessels docking in the last fiscal.
The state government had last year sanctioned Rs 1.65 crore for setting up a permanent art centre in the upcoming cruise terminal at Kochi Port. The DTPC later thought a floating theatre would be a better idea as vessels are berthed at different wharves. The proposal is to build a 60-seat theatre. The design will be finalised only after receiving nod from the state government.
“Cruise ships dock at different wharves of the port, with the larger ones mostly docking at Ernakulam wharf. A floating koothambalam can be tugged to different wharves. If we’ve a cultural event in other locations of the city, say Marine Drive or Bolgatty Palace, the theatre can be used there as well,” DTPC secretary S Vijaykumar told Express.
In the just-concluded cruise season, DTPC had set up a mini-theatre at Sagarika, where kathakali, kalarippayattu, tholpavakoothu and mohiniyattam were performed before the foreigners.
More than 65,000 tourists had reached Kochi in the 2018-19 fiscal. DTPC had arranged four reception desks at the port. From November 13 last year to May 11 this year, the council conducted 3,500 tours to the old and the new city of Kochi, the backwaters in Alappuzha and the tourist village in Kumbalangi.
India Tourism also associated with DTPC to give tourism information, including the cost of reception. “We could attain the objectives of ‘responsible tourism’ introduced by Kerala Tourism ensuring local participation. Prepaid tour packages were arranged with the support of 279 autorickshaws and 126 taxis empanelled by Cochin Port Trust and DTPC,” a tourism officer said.