‘En Uru’, the tribal heritage village at Pookode in Kerala’s Wayanad district, showcases the rich culture of the tribal communities. The unique village boasts of a cafeteria that serves traditional tribal dishes and a tribal market, among others. The hamlet, established on 25 acres of land of the Mananthavady Tea Plantation Corporation (Priryadarshini), is the face of Wayanad tourism. The main aim of the centre is to given an opportunity to the visitors get up close to the heritage and culture of the tribal people. The ‘En Uru’ project is totally controlled by the tribal communities.
The initiatives similar to that of ‘En Uru’ project are Shilparamam at Hyderabad in Telangana, Muziris Heritage Project at Kodungallur in Kerala, DakshinaChitra at Chennai in Tamil Nadu, Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya at Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh and Auroville in Puducherry.
The first phase of the ‘En Uru’ project had been completed at a cost of Rs 3 crore and an amount of Rs 4.5 crore had been set aside to finish the second-phase works. The goal is to recreate a tribal village through ‘En Uru’.
Once both the phases are completed, it would become the gateway to Wayanad tourism. A tribal market, tribal restaurant, felicitation centre and warehouse had been set up in the first phase of the project. Tribal huts, comfort stations, art museum, amphitheatre, art centres and stalls displaying tribal handicrafts, forest produce, bamboo handicrafts, tribal medicines, traditional tribal weapons and musical instruments and a children’s park with natural and traditional toys would find place in the second phase of the ‘En Uru’ project.
The project brings cheer to the tribal people as they have a permanent market place to sell their produce and the tribal artists can earn regularly. The heritage village is also a perfect platform to preserve the traditional knowledge on food processing and other related areas, and impart training on organic farming. The centre also provides direct and indirect job opportunities to many people. Plans are also on the anvil to market tribal products under the ‘En Uru’ brand.
The initiative is the brainchild of former Wayanad sub-collector N Prasanth, and the state government had approved Rs 3 crore for the implementation of the project.
The En Uru Charitable Society with district sub-collector as the chairman has the responsibility of running the ‘En Uru’ heritage hamlet. Moreover, 13 tribal leaders of the Vythiri and Pozhuthana panchayats are members of the society. The project is expected to change the face of Lakkidi, which is the gateway to Wayanad.