Thiruvananthapuram: There has been a spurt in the number of Indian visitors to the Holy Land with Keralites accounting for a major share of Christian pilgrims there. A replica of sites mentioned in the Bible has come up on a three-acre property at Peringur, near Vembayam. It features a model of the Garden of Eden and the Mount of Olives from where Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven. Brother Mathews Varghese is the man behind this unique project and he has been at it for a long time.
This Bible theme park was inaugurated by Rev Issac Mor Osthathios, the Metropolitan of Mylapore Diocese in Tamil Nadu, the other day.
The many Biblical texts and objects Varghese had bought on his travels around the world are also displayed in what Mathews calls 'Museum of Word'.
The museum has more than 300 translations of Bible, including handwritten ones, those made with ancient paper and on animal skin. Gold coins engraved with images of the Bible are another attraction. His collection includes Torah scrolls and pocket bibles.
The museum also houses previously unseen images from biblical stories and several types of crucifixes from around the world.
There are models of crown of thorns, nails put through Jesus, 30 silver coins and stamps and coins depicting history of Christianity in the museum. Models of Christ’s tomb and resurrection are also installed.
The museum is open for visitors from 12pm to 5pm on Sundays and 9am to 5pm on other days.
The models were created for those who cannot visit the Holy Land themselves, Varghese said.
He has translated the Bible into 30 languages. He has written more than 400 songs.
Mathews, who worked in the medical sector in the Gulf, entered the spiritual world unexpectedly. He is involved with prayer groups world over.
Wife Raji and children Ajay, Viji, and Reji accompany him on his tours.