‘Come, visit our place,’ Maravanthuruthu villagers in Kerala say in chorus
At Koottummel junction on the Ernakulam-Vaikom Road, a narrow byroad draws the attention of passers-by with exquisitely crafted wall paintings on its both sides.
Published: 10th October 2022 05:04 AM | Last Updated: 10th October 2022 05:04 AM | A+A A-
KOTTAYAM: At Koottummel junction on the Ernakulam-Vaikom Road, a narrow byroad draws the attention of passers-by with exquisitely crafted wall paintings on its both sides. As the path goes further, it reveals an array of pleasing colour combinations that narrate stories of various hues, history of the place, lifestyle of people here, its cultural activities and so on.
The ‘art street’, which has been developed by making art works on the compound wall of every house along the two-kilometre stretch from Koottummel junction to Kadookkara, is only one among a slew of measures being initiated by the Responsible Tourism Mission under the Kerala tourism department in association with the local community in Maravanthuruthu panchayat in Kottayam district.
It may be for the first time in the state a panchayat is making all-out efforts to turn itself into an international tourism destination by developing innovative models such as a Water Street, Art Street, Flower Street and Cuisine Street as a community initiative.
The destination development activities commenced a few months ago with local people voluntarily reviving a stream named Arival Thodu’ as part of implementing one of the major tourism initiatives of the department -- STREET (Sustainable, Tangible, Responsible, Experiential, Ethnic, Tourism hubs) -- here. Taking into account the rich waterbodies in the panchayat, Maravanthuruth started the Water Street project first. Led by the local people, 18 canals and streams were cleaned to launch tourism activities.
Later, Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas came down to inaugurate the project envisaged as canal, river and backwater streets, where kayaking, country boat, kotta vanchi (bowl boat) and shikara boat tours are being offered. “Maravanthuruth is a model for how local community themselves develop a destination for tourism activities. After voluntarily cleaned and prepared canals and streams for tourism activities, people also bear the expense of colours and paint for the art street, while artists offered their service free of cost,” said K Roopesh Kumar, state coordinator, RT Mission.
Meanwhile, the destination is carefully planned by the RT Mission. The destination commences with Art Street, which ends where water and flower streets begin. Flower Street ends at Attuvelakadav, one of the important places of cultural activities in the panchayat.
“Currently, activities are predominantly centred in ward 11 and 12. There are 11 clusters in ward 11 and each cluster is tasked with coordinating different works such as cultivation of traditional food products, managing flower streets, maintaining art works, etc,” said Bindu Pradeep, ward member, Maravanthuruthu panchayat.