An ambitious heritage project of Kerala government to conserve and showcase the state's cultural and trade links with various ancient civilisations including Babylonians and Egyptians, will be unveiled on Saturday near Kochi by President Pranab Mukherjee.
The prestigious Muziris Heritage Project promises to link 'God's Own Country' with the rest of the world in a remarkable revival of three thousand years of historical trade and cultural exchanges through the ancient port city of Muziris which was a key port and the centre of trade between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean regions.
The inauguration of the project, which is set to revive the state's will be attended by Kerala Governor Justice P Sathasivam, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Tourism Minister A P Anilkumar.
The function at the International Research and Convention Centre of KKTM College, Kodungalloor, will also be attended by dignitaries, including Lok Sabha MPs Innocent and K V Thomas.
"Pepper, precious stones, silk, beads, ivory and pottery were exported from here to west Asia and Rome in exchange of gold coins, glass, wine and wheat. For centuries, the land of Kerala mesmerised Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Arabs, Chinese, Roman and Greeks, welcoming them to come and trade and even settle," Kerala Tourism Department said in a release here.
The port of Muziris is mentioned in the first century travelogues, ancient Sangam texts and Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder's encyclopaedic work Natural History.
Muziris had mysteriously disappeared and researchers point to the port's location as the mouth of the Periyar river in Kodungalloor.
"The Muziris Heritage Project is an effort to conserve and showcase a culture of more than 3000 years. From as early as 3000 BC, Kerala had established itself as a major centre for spice with the ancient port of Muziris as its hub," it said.
To reinstate the historical and cultural significance of the legendary port of Muziris, the Kerala government had initiated the Muziris Heritage Project with active support of the central government.
Muziris kindled attention on the ancient spice trade, especially the Spice Route, prompting Kerala Tourism to launch the Spice Route Tourism initiative linking 41 countries in Asia and Europe with India, particularly Kerala.
This initiative aims to revive cultural and academic exchange between these nations towards the development of a multinational cultural corridor.
Kerala Tourism said its efforts to protect heritage and promote peace through the Spice Route initiative has been lauded by both UNWTO and UNESCO, with both organizations having agreed to extend all support in effective promotion and implementation of the same.
Recently, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture had applauded the Kerala government's initiative and even suggested that the Spice Route Tourism initiative will not only revive India's glorious heritage as a destination for travellers and traders but would give a larger foothold for garnering world tourism revenue.
Union Culture Ministry is also keen on the idea of promoting the ancient sea route used for trade and commerce, it said.