As reported earlier in Express TravelWorld (issue dated April 2013), these four museums are part of a total of 25 museums to be opened in phases. The museums available for visitors are the Kerala History Museum, housed in the Paliam Kovilakam; Kerala Lifestyle Museum in Paliam Nalukettu; Kerala Jews Historical Museum housed in Paravur Synagogue and Kerala Jews Lifestyle Museum in Chendamangalam Synagogue. All museums are equipped with video screens, touch screens and information panels to help the visitors understand the rich history of the region.
S Harikishore, director, Kerala Tourism who visited and opened the museums for public, said, “We decided to open the museums for public because we completed the conservation projects on time and deployed staff and guides in the museums. In addition to the four museums, the people can also visit heritage sites like Pattanam, Paravur Market, Kottappuram Fort, Kottapuram Market, Cheraman Juma Masjid, Gothuruthu Performance Centre and Pallipuram Fort.”
AP Anil Kumar, Minister for Tourism, said, “The Muziris Heritage Project is one of the biggest conservation projects in the modern history of India. It is because of this magnitude that both the Central and state governments have come together to conserve and showcase a culture of more than three millennia. The project gives the people an opportunity to walk the same road once travelled by explorers and traders in ancient Muziris.”
Paliam Kovilakam was the residence of Paliath Achans, who were prime ministers to the erstwhile maharajas of Kochi in the 16th century. An architectural wonder, with its carved stairways and balustrades, the Paliam Kovilakam is situated in Chendamangalam. The 18th century Paliam Nalukettu was where the female members and minor boys of the Paliam family lived.
The project site is spread across North Paravur municipality in Ernakulam district and Kodungallur municipality in Thrissur district with 12 panchayats--Chendamangalam, Chittatukara, Vadakkekara, Pallipuram, Eriyad, Mala, Mathilakam, Poyya, Puthenvelikkara, Sree Narayana Puram, Vellangalore and Edavilangu.
Suman Billa, secretary, Kerala Tourism, said, “The Muziris Heritage Project focuses on sustainability and involvement of local communities. The project follows international guidelines such as the UNESCO Charters on heritage conservation.”
The state government’s decision to revive the Muziris Heritage Project has been widely praised by countries across the world, including China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Russia and Bangladesh. The UNESCO and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) have also backed the state government’s conservation efforts.