With the Kerala government accelerating various tourism projects in the capital city of the state, Thiruvananthapuram, the latest spot to get a boost from the Tourism Department is the famous Kanakakunnu Palace, one of the last architectural remains of the colonial era in the state.
As part of Left Democratic Front (LDF) government’s 1,000-day celebration in Kerala, the state tourism department has been on a major tourism development drive across the state, especially in Thiruvananthapuram, and even set aside a sum of Rs 125 crore. It took up various projects to revamp and protect the cultural heritage of tourist spots like the Veli Tourist Village and the Mascot Hotel in Thiruvananthapuram.
Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran had said that the Government is planning to develop a Travancore heritage plan, just like the Muziris, Alappuzha and Thalassery heritage projects. These projects aim to protect and conserve the existing heritage monuments and buildings in the state.
On Monday, Kadakampally Surendran inaugurated a digital museum project at the Kanakakunnu Palace.
Speaking to TNM, Kerala Tourism Director P Balakiran IAS said that the digital museum will showcase the culture of Travancore (modern-day central and south Kerala) as well as other parts of Kerala. “World-class technology will be used to create the digital museum. Visitors will be in for a treat as they will get to witness motion pictures and 360-degree videos on the culture of Travancore at the museum,” said Balakiran.
The digital museum project, built at a cost of Rs 8.94 crore, will showcase a gist of the politics, history, culture, rituals, religion, art, ayurvedic traditions and many other aspects of Travancore.
The other forms of technology that will be used in the digital museum include an innovative table-top display with a 3D view, audio-visual zone and laser projection, 4D photographic panel and automated ticketing facility.
Balakiran said that this project is scheduled to be completed in a span of one year.
The tourism department has allocated a sum of Rs 2.95 crore for this conservation project. “This is to restore some of the heritage of the palace, which has not been repaired or maintained for years, because of which it is getting damaged,” said the tourism director.
A forest in the palace
The tourism department will also grow a forest on the Kanakakunnu palace premises, which will be named after Akira Miyawaki, a Japanese botanist and plant ecologist.
“This is a model to show that you do not need a huge area to grow a forest and that you can grow a forest even in the backyard or the garden of your house,” Balakiran told TNM.
The department has already planted 800 saplings consisting of 120 varieties on a five-cent land at Kanakakunnu. These trees are expected to become full-grown trees in a span of three years.
According to a statement by the Kerala Tourism, the basic aim of the Miyawaki model forest is to cultivate plants that grow naturally in a particular place, thus restoring the balance of the area. The state government has announced that it is planning to implement this in the other districts as well.