'Showcasing local myths can woo tourists to Kerala'

'Showcasing local myths can woo tourists to Kerala'
Legend has it that it was on a rocky peak near Chadayamangalam that the mythological giant eagle fell while fighting Ravana while he abducted Sita.

Kochi: 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 Sunday.

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

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 within a radius of a couple of kilometres,” said Komu, secretary of the KBF, which is readying for its fourth edition from this December.

Ajit Kumar Balaraman, CEO, Jatayu Earth's Center,said the eco-friendly Jatayu Rock Tourism project stands very close to Kerala's cultural heritage.

Jatayu Earth's Centre at Chadayamangalam in Kollam district also offers adventure tourism.

As for the Jatayu Nature Park, the chief attraction here is the huge sculpture of the bird that finds mention in the Ramayana.

Legend has it that it was on a rocky peak near Chadayamangalam that the mythological giant eagle fell while fighting Ravana while he abducted Sita.

"The Park is an amalgamation of heritage, culture, and pilgrimage. There is a museum and a 3D theatre coming up inside the rock," Balaraman said.

The Muziris Projects, north of Kochi, is another such initiative that provides tourists the feel of revisiting one's rich heritage.

"The major attraction is that one can complete the visit to all sites in a day," managing director P M Naushad said.

Prof Madan Kumar M K of the Government Ayurveda College, Thiruvananthapuram, said the state's traditional wellness system, Ayurveda, continues to suffer from a lot of misconceptions, despite its immense popularity abroad.

Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) representative Joseph Tinu said KSINC's cruise ship Nefertiti would be a major attraction in the tourism sector

Around 200 people can travel in the day-to-dusk package, he said.

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