Kottayam had registered its name in the hall of fame long time back for being the first city with 100 % literacy. Now Keeping up its tryst with fame , it is all set to get a new tag of ‘the mural city’ after being called the land of lakes, letters and latex! When the chief minister declares it as a mural city on Saturday, Kottayam will be making a huge stride in the Kerala tourism map of the region.
At present painters from across the world are engaged in painting murals in different parts of the city like the district collectorate, library and places of worship. A massive mural sketched by Suresh Muthukulam of Aranmula Vastu Vidyalayam. depicting Noah’s Ark,” which will come up in Pushpagiri Church in Thellakom will be the star attraction of the project. According to the organizers, this 300 square feet painting once completed will be the biggest in the country. Over 300 artists from around the world,will complete the work within a day.
Meanwhile a committee has been formed comprising of district collector, Municipal Chairman,district panchayat president and the Akademi chairman will also be formed to ensure the conservation of the paintings, which is prone to damage owing to the high level of pollution in the city.
Kerala has set the living standards of the distant Scandinavian countries like Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finlnd as its paradigm of development over the next 17 years. Kerala has decided to let go the standards set by Asian Tigers, which have long been benchmarked by developed states like Gujarat for its dubious human development indices.
As per the new paradigm, Kerala will have to make a quantum jump in its per capita income from the current $4,700 to $19,000 in the next 20 years at a compound growth rate of 7.5 per cent. Though the standards of Norway with a with a PPP of $54,000 appears distant, Kerala is aiming to achieve the $ 36,000-37,000 income bracket of Finland and Denmark. The immediate priority in this regard will be to scale down the income inequality spread score from over 40 to 23 per cent.
With the foreign remittances slated to plunge to a minuscule 4% of the State’s GDP by 2030 from a whopping 50% now, Kerala should have a well set plan to achieve this paradigm. With a qualified manpower resource to fall back, Kerala can rely on start up businesses and trading activities though Kerala is not known for its entrepreneurial credentials.
Tourism, health care and education will be the niche segments under spotlight for Kerala in the coming decade. Apart from retaining the growth rate, Kerala has to think about innovative ideas and business plans in these segments to keep the coffers full. Will Kerala leave its indelible imprints in the league of some of the most prosperous countries in the World in the next few years? This million dollar question will stir up debates, opinions and counter opinions in the coming days for sure. Meanwhile as responsible subjects of Kerala, everyone of us should strive to pitch in our best to make sure that Kerala attains this commendable distinction!
Welcome to the Monday ‘Market Day’ of Ernakulam market, the city’s oldest centre of merchandise.It appears that nothing has virtually changed in the past 150 years in and around the Ernakulam market. The fragrance of lemongrass oil, masked often by the stench from the nearby dirty canal waft in the air as truck loads of vegetables and provisions choke the narrow pathways adding to the chaos and mayhem.
True to the past tradition, Mondays and Fridays are observed as Market Days even today, though it attracts fewer people these days. The shop owners some of whom in the business for over five decades say that there has been a marked shift in the frenzy and activity in market days these days.
Originally the Maharaja of Cochin had given the Market area to Jewish traders for business, who set up poultry and coir trade. When they left the country , they sold their shops to the local people and most of the buildings have traditional architectural influences. The market has been in existence much before MG Road, the contemporary nerve centre of the city came into being and much before the North and South overbridges were built. This lively market place had tradelinks with many far off places like Ponnani and Chavakkad in the north and Kollam, Changanassery and Kottayam in the south, which makes it an indelible link in the history of this city.
The Ernakulam Market includes the northern end of Broadway, Basin Road and Jew Street, which has over 2,000 shops that sell literally everything under the sun apart from the innumerable pavement sellers that spread out their knick knacks, clothes, electronic items and attracts buyers with their budget deals. There are also many temporary shacks that sell vegetables and fruits along the canal side.
The canal, known as the Basin Road Canal, which linked the Market to the outside world now lies in a state of disuse. Country boats used to bring in goods even until the 1990s. Then the canal had clean and pristine water and was a busy waterway linking to the Vembanad Lake. The waterway lost its relevance with the commissioning of the roadways, which led to the deterioration of these waterways in Kerala.
The market gives many nostalgic memories for the older generation whereas the younger generation remains oblivious to the rich tradition and history of the Ernakulam market.
Today, Google marked the 160th anniversary of the first passenger train journey in India with a doodle on its homepage. Indian railways holds the repute of being the largest rail network in Asia and the world’s second largest under one management. Indian railway connects the length and breadth of this massive country by operating many short and long distance trains in addition to many luxury trains like palace on wheels. A train journey in India is not just mayhem and frenzy but also a delightful opportunity to discover the charm of the rustic life and people upclose, to make new friends and to experience the diverse culture, cuisines and life styles of the country. As the search engine giant takes its visitors on a short journey into the history of Indian Railways, in this image of a steam engine train chugging along a palm-lined railway track in the backdrop of ancient palaces and buildings, we Indians can take pride in the tremendous achievements, Indian Railways has made in the last many years.
India’s first passenger train from Bombay to Thane had chugged out of Bori Bunder, in Bombay on April 16, 1853, exactly 160 years ago. This maiden railway passenger journey in India which involved three steam locomotives, Sultan, Sindh and Sahib, took 400 invited passengers in 14 carriages on a 57 minute journey that had one halt. As Google commemorates this milestone with a celebratory doodle on its India home page, which features a steam engine pulling a passenger train, let us strive to make Indian Railways the best ever by keeping it clean, prompt and safe.
Cochin corporation, has come up with various plans to ensure the safety of women in the city. The project named ‘Sabala’, will include various proposals to make the city women friendly. This time bound project is expected to go a long way in solving most of the problems faced by women. This is for the first time that a Corporation has come up with a separate budget outlay for the welfare of women.
Some of the projects include :-
- Extending free medical care for families with only female members. The education expenses of children of such families will also be fully covered in these schemes.
- A modern lodging facility for women will be set up in the city to ensure safe stay for those women travelers who reach the City for various purposes. Apart from an all women staff team, the lodge will also have various other facilities like online reservations, taxi and other services.
- Kudumbashree Women only Buses run by Metro Cochin Transport Corporation (MCTC) is another novel venture envisaged in the project. The buses will have an all women crew.
- To arrest instances of child abuse, a team of three counselors will be set up in each school who will try to protect the students from the modern vices like internet scams and exploitation of students through mobile phones and social network.
Once this project is fully implemented, the business capital of Kerala will have an envious repute of being a women friendly City in all aspects.
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The union Government of India has accepted the proposal to start a seaplane service in Kerala in principle. In the beginning, seaplane services will connect various tourist destinations like Kumarakom, Munnar, Ashtamudi, Punnamada, Bekal and Bolgatty from the airports of Trivandrum, Kochi and Kozhikode. At present Andaman and Nicobar island administration is successfully operating sea plane services.
Seaplane services will be a boon for tourists who are hard pressed for time as they can make the most of their available time by utilizing the faster transportation option of seaplanes. Apart from boosting tourism, sea plane services would also help a lot in opening up the lesser known tourist spots in Kerala for those who look for an off the beat sight seeing experience.
Elephants have always been poster boys for Kerala tourism. In a novel attempt to lure foreign tourists and elephant lovers, the Kerala forest department officials have come up with a hard to resist package.
Two persons can spend a day with an elephant at the Konni Eco-Tourism Centre for INR 2,000. Those who avail the package will get an irresistible deal including a rare chance to feed or bathe the elephant apart from enjoying a safari.
The tourists can visit the elephant camp and can even try their hands in giving these gentle giants a thorough scrub and wash at the bathing ghat in the Achenkovil River. The tourists can also take home a few photographs to keep these priceless moments fresh all their life time. There are currently five elephants at the Konni elephant camp where the tourists can spend around six hours with the elephant. The revenue will be utilized for the maintenance of the camp.
Spread over 7 acres, the Konni Eco-Tourism Centre has many facilities including audio-visual library, elephant museum, restaurant and a children’s park.The third phase of the development of the Konni Eco-Tourism Project at a project cost of over 45 lakh is in the pipeline. The projects in this phase include landscaping work in the elephant camp and improvement of the elephant museum.
So in case you are planning a special gift for someone special think beyond the run of the mill gift ideas and plan a day out with the jumbos. It will surely be something priceless not just for the recipient but also for those who gift it!
Kerala is bestowed with a long sea coast that virtually extends all along the State and a meandering network of backwaters, canals and rivers, which makes it a perfect destination for water tourism and leisure activities.
Kerala has asked The National Institute of Water Sports (NIWS) in Goa to chart out a detailed project report. Once the policy clearances are obtained , water sports and other leisure activities will be taken up in a phased manner. Kerala holds an enviable position for a range of water sporting options like windsurfing, kayaking and canoeing. The ethnic water activities of Kerala including house boat cruise and snake boat racing could also be included in the activity list to ensure a diverse fare. The main objective of this plan would be to promote new water sporting destinations apart from the popular spots like in Kerala like Punnamada, Ashtamudi, Kumarakom and Bakel.
Apart from enhancing the tourism potential of the State, weather sporting events would also ensure the protection of water bodies in the State, which are facing a high risk from the spiraling commercial and developmental activities in the State, which has taken a heavy toll over its natural resources.
As the Kochi-Muziris Biennale continues to hit the headlines , Kerala gets ready to host an all-Kerala Children’s Biennale, which is though to become equally popular than its bigger and popular counterpart.
The organisers of Biennale have decided to display the prize winning works of the children’s works that are adjudged the best at a forthcoming art contest. The preliminary round will be open for students between Class I and Class VII and would be held at Aspinwall House at 11 a.m. on January 19. The children can work on any medium and theme of their choice and the time for painting will be over two hours. The participants will get a chance to visit the biennale free of cost with their guardian.
The Kochi Biennele has been attracting a steady stream of visitors including both the common people and glitterati alike . The last few days saw many matinee idols like film director Jayaraj and actor Padmapriya at the show and appreciated the quality of the exhibits on display.