Anand Mahindra, the chairman of the Mahindra group had recently praised the picturesque hamlets of Vythiri in Wayanad and the exceptional work done by ‘Kerala Tourism’. He had tweeted sharing a video of ‘En Uru’ tribal heritage hamlet project. The ‘En Uru’ project at Pookode, Wayanad offers a realistic glimpse into the unique culture and life of the tribal communities.
The initial works of the project was flagged off in 2010. Former Kozhikode district collector N Prashant is credited for envisioning such a fabulous project. He says that it was his dream project as a young IAS officer in the district. A cafeteria that serves authentic tribal delicacies and a permanent market place where you could buy handicrafts made at the tribal settlements are some of the highlights here. The tribal heritage hamlet sprawls in 25 acres land at Pookode owned by the Mananthavady Tea Plantation Corporation (Priyadarshini).
Prashant hopes that other states too would follow this model to promote their cultural diversity. Even though the hamlet has been open since a few days, people are raving about the incredible experience they have had here. Meanwhile, every shop at the village sells products worth at least Rs 2,000 on a daily basis. The officials have even reported a weekend income of over Rs 80,000.
Around 6,000 visitors are expected on weekdays while around 2,000 tourists are estimated to visit the village on week days. The project aims to showcase the unique and splendid cultural heritage of the tribal settlements. Interestingly, this project is run and managed by the tribal people. The Shilparamam in Hyderabad, Muziris Heritage Project in Kodungallur, Sargaalaya in Vadakara Iringal, Dakshinachitra Chennai, Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya in Bhopal and the Auroville in Pondicherry are some of the similar projects in various parts of the country.
The traditional tribal hamlet that is being recreated here would become the highlight of Wayanad tourism. In the initial stage, the tribal market, tribal eatery, facilitation centre and a warehouse would be completed. Recreating tribal households and huts, washroom complexes, art museum, amphitheatre, art and cultural centres and stalls that sell tribal handcrafts items, indigenous herbs and medicines, bamboo art, musical instruments and clay objects and a nature friendly park for the kids have been envisioned as part of the next stage of development.
As soon as the tribal hamlet gets complete, the tribal products would get a permanent market. Moreover, this would be a boon for the tribal artists too as it would provide them a steady income. Besides, they could pass on knowledge about the traditional methods of food preservation and training in organic farming. Lots of people would get employment once the project is flagged off. The project also aims to market tribal products under the ‘En Uru’ brand.
The works are managed by the ‘En Uru’ charitable society. The district sub collector is the chairman of this society. Meanwhile, 13 tribal heads of Vythiri and Pozhuthana panchayat are the members. The authorities hope that the project would change the face of tourism prospects of Lakkidi which is the gateway to Wayanad.