Kerala Kaumudi Online
Sunday, 07 March 2021 2.17 PM IST

Don’t obstruct Pilgrimage Circuit 


Once again, circumventing all obstacles, the Sivagiri Pilgrimage Circuit project is going to become a reality. The government should have begun much early the project approved by the Central government.
Even after reaching till stage of stone laying ceremony, the Centre withdrew from the project. The Centre decided to revive the Rs 70 crore project only after protest was raised by the State government and various section of people.
However better late than never… people can rejoice.
The project under the pilgrimage circuit tourism, would cover the places where Sree Narayana Guru had spent, including his birthplace Chempazanthi, Aruvippuram, where he had built a temple with Lord Shiva as the deity, Varkala where he had established the Sivagiri Mutt and kunnumpara..
Bhumipooja for the construction work was held in a devotional atmosphere at all the four places last day. The construction work in Sivagiri alone is worth `41 crore.

There has been a long-standing need to prepare a pilgrimage route and extensive facilities there, connecting the holy centers solemnised by the touch of the Guru’s feet.
Now this is what that is going to be a reality.

The increasing number of devotees flocking to the pilgrim centre necessitates the need for increasing the infrastructure of the centre.

Similarly Chempazhathi, Aruvippuram and Kunnumpara also need to be developed.
This problem will also be resolved when the current project is completed.

Now what is needed is speeding up the project.

A timetable should be prepared and the works should be completed within a timeframe.

Mutt heads, officials, municipals authorities should come forward to do necessary help for the materialisation of the project.

Why this is said is that initially, when the project was being prepared for implementation, the state tourism department had demanded that it be entrusted with the job of implementing the project to which the Centre refused.
At that time the stone was laid for the project by the then Union minister of state Alphons Kannanthanam.

The tourism sector plays a crucial role in the revenue of the state. Before the Covid epidemic, it was around Rs 3,500 crore per annum.

Nowadays, pilgrimage has become a part of tourism. Other states get huge revenue from this.
Moreover we are far behind in marketing. Except from Sabarimala and Guruvayur, we have not been able generate income.
It is in this context that development projects like the Sivagiri Pilgrimage Circuit become more relevant.

We should also be able to avail the benefits of the Centre's Swadeshi Darshan scheme.

It is also home to many great pilgrimage sites of national importance and centuries of history and heritage.

The limitations faced by many pilgrimage centers are the lack of adequate accommodation.

It should be possible for us to convert such pilgrimage centers into world class ones.
Roads, housing and transportation need to be improved. We have to go a long way in terms of cleanliness.

He Central government had allotted Rs 80 cr for the beautification of Padmanabha Swamy Temple’s surroundings but the works is yet to complete though it was started 5 years ago.
The authorities should make sure that Sivagiri project doesn’t have the same fate.

The initial work for the ambitious Travancore Heritage project worth Rs 100 crore and conceived by the Kerala government has also begun. The project aims at protecting and preserving heritage palaces, edifices, temples without losing its old-world charm. The project will be implemented in four phases. In the first phase, the premises of Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple, East Fort, 19 magnificent buildings dotting either side of the way from the MG Road to Vellayambalam will be beautified with modern lighting systems. After that 21 buildings from East Fort to Enchakkal will be refurbished, illuminated and protected. In the second phase, what is aimed is the renovation of historical monuments in the Thiruvananthapuram district and it include Attingal palace, Anathavilasam, Rangavilasam and Sudaravilasam . As part of the project, the Secretariat building will be made attractive with the help of laser projection and the political history of Kerala will be digitally displayed in the Secretariat building. Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran has said that illuminating the heritage buildings using modern lightening system will aid nigh-time tourism and Kerala’s capital city will soon become a centre of night time tourism, as well. World famous painter Raja Ravivarma’s place at Kilimanoor where he was also born will also be renovated. The blue print of the project has been prepared by Abha Narayanan Lamba Associates, a well-known conservationist of historical monuments in various parts of the country. The Heritage Tourism Project extends from the Padmanabhapuram Palace to the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple.
Now, don’t forget that the renovation of pilgrim centres and other heritage buildings should also be aesthetically appealing to the eyes and minds!

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