Showcase local myths to promote tourism: KTM seminar

Celebrating local myths and showcasing them for a global audience is one way of sustaining tourism in Kerala by ensuring community participation, a seminar at the Kerala Travel Mart noted on Sunday.

Be it the recent installation of a giant sculpture of the Jatayu bird mentioned in Ramayana epic or the artworks based on local legends at the editions of Kochi-Muziris Biennale, such endeavours woo fresh sets of people to God’s Own Country, its speakers said at ‘New Products and Interests in Kerala’.

Mr Riyas Komu, founder of the Kochi Biennale Foundation that has been hosting India’s only such biennial cultural event since 2012, said it was no coincidence that the art event has Fort Kochi as its main venue.

“The place (a western suburb of Kochi) has a layered history that shows in its multi-ethnicity: 40 communities from Jewish immigrants to Kashmiri Pandits in a radius of a couple of kilometres,” said Komu, who is secretary of the KBF which is readying for its fourth edition from this December.

Mr Ajit Kumar Balaraman, CEO, Jatayu Earth’s Center, said that the eco-friendly Jatayu Rock Tourism project stands very close to Kerala’s cultural heritage. Jatayu Earth’s Centre at Chadayamangalam in down-state Kollam district also carries out adventure tourism. “The Park is an amalgamation of heritage, culture and pilgrimage. There are a museum and a 3D theatre coming up inside the rock,” he added.

The Muziris Projects, north of Kochi, is another such initiative that provides the tourists the feel of revisiting our rich heritage. “The major attraction is that one can complete the visit to all sites in a day,” Managing Director Mr P M Naushad said.

As for the state’s traditional wellness system, Ayurveda continues to suffer from a lot of misconceptions albeit its immense popularity abroad, according to Prof Madan Kumar M K of Government Ayurveda College, Thiruvananthapuram.

Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) representative Mr Joseph Tinu said the KSINC’s cruise ship Nefertiti will be a major attraction in the tourism sector and around 200 people can travel in the day-to-dusk package.

Homestay entrepreneur Mrs Ranjini Menon said homestay is a realistic model of sustainable tourism. “Homestay is Responsible Tourism and staying in homestay is helping the local community,” she added.

KTM President Mr Baby Mathew and KTM former President Mr Riaz Ahmed were also present at the seminar.

As for Jatayu Nature Park, the chief attraction here is the huge sculpture of the bird that finds mention in the Valmiki masterpiece, Ramayana. It is believed that the Jatayu in the Ramayana got its wings clipped by Lankan king Ravana while abducting Sita

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