Saint.Thomas fraud multiplies-Archaeology at Pattanam

National Archaeological Meet-Prof MGS Asks KCHR to Hand Over Pattanam to ASI—P.J.Cherian Vehemently Criticized by Leading Archaeologists

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: M G S Narayanan, noted historian and Director General of the Centre for  Heritage Studies has called  upon the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) to hand over the excavation activity, being carried out at Pattanam, to the Archeological Survey of India (ASI).Presiding over the annual meet of the Archeologists held here the other day, he said that the KCHR had not been able to make considerable progress in the excavation so far. He said that the ASI, which is the representative body of the Archeologists in the country, had only the expertise to take up such a mammoth task and conduct it in a scientific manner.He expressed his displeasure over the KCHR’s decision to black out the media about the ‘meet’ fearing criticism from the archeologists across the country. The  organisers in the State had neither invited the media nor given the details to it. When KCHR chairman P J Cherian presented the paper on Pattanam excavation, it invited severe criticism from eminent archeologists.The ASI, Indian Society for Prehistoric and Quaternary Studies and the Indian History and cultural Society jointly organised the meet. ASI Additional Director General Dr B R Mony, former deputy additional director  general Dr K N Deekshith and Additional Chief Secretary K Jayakumar were present.  Noted archeologist A Sundaraiah was honoured at the function.

P.J.Cherian and Pattanam -The Integrity of excavations questioned by Indian Archaeologists at three day national conference at Thiruvananthapuram

At  Thiruvananthapuram , on 11th November 2011 Prof MGS Narayanan in his presidential address at the annual conference of the Indian Archaeological Society, Indian Society for Prehistoric and Quaternary Studies and Indian History and Culture Society  launched a scathing attack on Pattanam excavations and requested the Archaeological Survey of India to undertake the site.On 12th November 2011 eminent archaeologists questioned the integrity of Pattanam excavations. After P.J.Cherian presented his paper on Pattanam at the Indian Archaeological Society Session it was severely criticized. Prof A.Sundara leading archaeologist from Karnataka pointed out that there are no major structural remains at the site. He  asked P.J.Cherian  to precisely record and  classify antiquities from each trench  rather than pooling them together and interpreting them. Prof. Sundara told Cherian that such approaches are not adopted in field archaeology since  cultural material from each trench has its validity. Prof .Sundara also pointed out that the claims of structural remains from Pattanam is questionable. Dr. K.N.Dikshit former Joint Director General of Archaeological Survey of India and Secretary of Indian Archaeological Society questioned the claims of P.J.Cherian that Historical Period at Pattanam goes around 1000 BC. K.N. Dikshit asked Cherian to  be cautious and  review such claims since Historical Period in Peninsular India has not gone beyond 200-300BCOther archaeologists questioned Cherians claims of Pattanam as an urban site since nothing was seen in empty  trenches  when they visited Pattanam . To them Cherian told that he  has left the site and structures in the trenches were carried away by local people for which he is not responsible.When he was again asked to clear as to how residential areas, streets , warehouses and wharfs  can be carried away by people Cherian was silent and stood isolated.

Pattanam and P.J.Cherian: Prof. MGS Narayanan Launches Scathing Attack on Pattanam Ideology

Professor MGS Narayanan Former Chairman of ICHR and currently Director General of Centre For Heritage Studies, Thrippunithura, Kerala launched a scathing attack on Pattanam archaeological excavations and KCHR. He was delivering the Presidential address of the National Conference of three archaeological socities- The  Indian Archaeological Society,  Indian Society for Prehistoric and Quaternary Studies and Indian History and Culture Society  on 11th November 2011 at Mar Gregorious Renewal Centre, Nalanchira Thiruvananthapuram.. Professor MGS Narayanan urged the Archaeological Survey of India to take up Pattanam excavations.The entire archaeological community from all over India numbering 200 and represented by the three socities applauded the suggestions put forward by MGS. Narayanan.Dr. K.N.Dikshit, fSecretary of Indian Archaeological Society and former Deputy Director General of Archaeological Survey of India,  Dr. B.R.Mani, currently Additional Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India, Professor P.K.Thomas and Professor Pramod Joglekar of  Indian Society for Prehistoric and Quaternary Studies and Professor Vandana Kaushik and Professor Ashalatha Joshi of Indian History and Culture Society were present on the occasion

P.J.Cherian Dupes Press and Southern Naval Command.

 To Press P.J.Cherian States He Discovered the Oldest Pier in the World. To Southern Naval Command He is Silent on Pier and Wharf and States on  the Canoe at Pattanam.
Accession Date and Time 08-11-2011; 8.15 AM
KOCHI, Sept. 29 — The National Maritime Foundation (NMF) has honoured the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) with its excellence award.
KCHR Director P J Cherian received the award, consisting of a plaque and citation, from Vice-Admiral K N Sushil, flag officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command, at a function organised at the Naval Base.P J Cherian said that Pattanam excavations have unearthed the oldest ever pier in the world. He sought the assistance of all in taking the Muziris Project forward and acknowledged the contributions of the Southern Naval Command in the underwater mapping of the area.
Accession Date and Time 08-11-2011; 8.15 AM
National Maritime Foundation (NMF) has awarded the Excellence Award to
the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR). The award consisting of a plaque
and citation was accepted by Dr PJ Cherian, Director of KCHR from Vice Admiral KN
Sushil, Flag Officer Commanding in Chief Southern Naval Command at an
impressive ceremony at the Southern Naval Command Officers Mess late evening
yesterday.Dr PJ Cherian in his acceptance speech informed the audience that the
Pattanam canoe could be one of the oldest found in an archaeological context in
South Asia.

With Piracy Photos P.J.Cherian Argues Pattanam is Ancient Muziris

Accession Date and Time 08-11-2011; 8.00AM



Convenors: Dr R Tomber (British Museum, London, UK) & Prof PJ Cherian (Kerala Council for Historical Research, Trivandrum, India)
This international research group concentrates on Indian Ocean exchange of the Early Historic and Medieval periods, particularly seen through its ports, and the goods and ideas exchanged between them.
The convergence of textual and archaeological evidence during the Early Historic makes it and subsequent periods especially amenable to the study of exchange. Active archaeological research throughout the rim of the Indian Ocean is providing new finds and stimulating a growing interest in the subject. Informed speculation on the global nature of the economies of these periods can only now be attempted on the strength of this new information regarding the connections, exchanges and interaction among the different ethnic groups, trade sites and partners from different social and political systems.

Figure 1: Main ports of the Early Historic period (A. Simpson)

The group will use port sites as a springboard for investigating broader issues, initially concentrating on the site at Pattanam. A newly discovered, multi-period site excavated by the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR), Pattanam has revealed diverse finds associated with Indian Ocean exchange including imports from Rome, West Asia and China. These finds, together with its urban character, argue for its equation with the famed ancient site of Muchiri or Muziris to the Romans.

Figure 2: Canoe excavated at Pattanam during the 2007 excavations (Photo KCHR)

The purpose of the research group is to provide a forum for international collaborators, to direct future research at Pattanam (including conservation) and, broadening out from this, establish research agendas and programmes throughout the Indian Ocean. The members comprise land and maritime archaeologists, anthropologists, historians and epigraphers, who have broad expertise throughout the region and have published extensively.

Group members

  • Dr Shinu Abraham (St Lawrence University, USA)
  • Dr Lucy Blue (Southampton University, UK)
  • Prof Robin Coningham (Durham University, UK)
  • Dr Federico De Romanis (Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”, Italy)
  • Dr Derek Kennet (Durham University, UK)
  • Dr Raghava Varier (Arya Vaidyasala Kottackal, Kerala, India)
  • Dr K Rajan (Pondicherry University, India)
  • Dr Steven Sidebotham (Delaware University, USA)
  • Dr V Selvakumar (Tamil University, Tanjore, India)
  • Dr Heidrun Schenk ((Tissamaharama-Projek des Deutschen Archäologischen Institut, Bonn, Germany)
  • Dr KP Shajan (UK)
  • Dr Y Subrayalu (Institut Français de Pondichéry, India)
  • Dr Kesavan Veluthat (Mangalore University)
  • Pattanam-P.J.Cherian Dupes Current Science Journal and International Archaeological Community
    Accession Date and Time 02-11-2011;10.45Pictures From Article By P.J.Cherian in Current Science  Vol.97; No 2 2009-July Titled 
    Chronology of Pattanam-A Multi Cultural Port Site on the Malabar Coast

     Shocking Reality-
                                         Empty  Trenches  at Pattanam  (2011)          

    Where is the  Residential Complex  Claimed by Cherian?

    Where is the Warehouse Claimed by Cherian ?

                                             Where is the Wharf  and Pier Excavated by Cherian?

      The Demolished Remains of the so called  Wharf Structure Deposited Near the Trenches

    Picture of P.J.Cherian and Biblical Scholar Discussing Pattanam

    P.J.Cherian with Biblical Scholar on Dead Sea Scrolls Robert Eisenman Discussing On Pattanam

    Pictures of Knanaya Christian Scholar at Seminar on Pattanam

     Knanaya Christian Scholar Sandeep Abraham   Discussing on Pattanam with Dr  S. Sidebothemat Seminar  on Pattanam 

    Knanaya  Christian Scholar Sundeep Abraham Being Briefed on Pattanam by P.J.Cherian

    Pattanam is Muziris-Claim By Kochi Biennale Foundation

    Organisation: Kochi Biennale Foundation
    Year founded: 2011
    Accession Date and Time 29-10-2011;2.00PM
    The Kochi-Muziris Biennale seeks to invoke the latent cosmopolitan spirit of the modern metropolis of Kochi and its mythical past, Muziris, and create a platform that will introduce contemporary international visual art theory and practice to India, showcase and debate new Indian and international aesthetics and art experiences and enable a dialogue among artists, curators, and the public.
    * The Kochi-Muziris Biennale seeks to create a new language of cosmopolitanism and modernity that is rooted in the lived and living experience of this old trading port, which, for more than six centuries, has been a crucible of numerous communal identities. Kochi is among the few cities in India where pre-colonial traditions of cultural pluralism continue to flourish. These traditions pre-date the post-Enlightenment ideas of cultural pluralism, globalisation and multiculturalism. They can be traced to Muziris, the ancient city that was buried under layers of mud and mythology after a massive flood in the 14th century. The site was recently identified and is currently under excavation. It is necessary to explore and, when necessary, retrieve memories of this past, and its present, in the current global context to posit alternatives to political and cultural discourses emanating from the specific histories of Europe and America. A dialogue for a new aesthetics and politics rooted in the Indian experience, but receptive to the winds blowing in from other worlds, is possible.
    * The Kochi-Muziris Biennale seeks to establish itself as a centre for artistic engagement in India by drawing from the rich tradition of public action and public engagement in Kerala, where Kochi is located. The emergence of Kerala as a distinct political and social project with lessons for many developing societies owes also to aesthetic interventions that have subverted notions of social and cultural hierarchies. These interventions are immanent in the numerous genres and practices of our rich tradition of arts. In a world of competing power structures, it is necessary to balance the interests and independence of artists, art institutions, and the public.
    * The Kochi-Muziris Biennale seeks to reflect the new confidence of Indian people who are slowly, but surely, building a new society that aims to be liberal, inclusive, egalitarian and democratic. The time has come to tell the story of cultural practices that are distinct to the Indian people and local traditions, practices and discourses that are shaping the idea of India. These share a lot with the artistic visions emerging from India’s neighborhood. The Biennale also seeks to project the new energy of artistic practices in the subcontinent.
    * The Kochi-Muziris Biennale seeks to explore the hidden energies latent in India’s past and present artistic traditions and invent a new language of coexistence and cosmopolitanism that celebrates the multiple identities people live with. The dialogue will be with, within, and across identities fostered by language, religion and other ideologies. The Biennale seeks to resist and interrogate representations of cosmopolitanism and modernity that thrive by subsuming differences through cooption and coercion.
    * The Kochi-Muziris Biennale seeks to be a project in appreciation of, and education about, artistic expression and its relationship with society. It seeks to be a new space and a fresh voice that protects and projects the autonomy of the artist and her pursuit to constantly reinvent the world we live in.

    Pattanam is Muziris-International Lobbying

    Print Edition

    Photo by: Jay A. Waronker, artist
      Jerusalem Post A revival of Jewish heritage on the Indian tourism trail
    By SHALVA WEIL 16/07/2010
    Reconstruction of the beautiful Parur synagogue is proceeding at a dizzying pace, and underlines the special ties Jews enjoyed with other faiths in south India.
    For years, visitors to the Parur synagogue in south India would be led into the gatehouse with a rusty key borrowed from a Christian neighbor. They would make their way across a dim, empty entrance hall, flanked by rooms including one which used to function as a Hebrew class, and they would then tread warily on a path with a garden full of snakes on either side leading to the synagogue.On the wall facing them on the side of the inner synagogue building, the visitors would distinguish a large plaque with Hebrew writing engraved in stone in 1616 by one David Ya’acov Castiel Mudaliar. Inside the two-story building, dusty chandeliers and wooden rosettes on the ceiling would testify to the astonishing beauty of the Parur synagogue.In the center of the sanctuary stood a round podium with a holy book still open on the cantor’s stand. Visitors could then go up a special spiral staircase leading from the sanctuary to the abandoned women’s gallery, where the Torah was read in front of the women and the portion of the law reached the ears of the men downstairs. The women themselves entered the gallery by a special staircase from behind, but this was long ago destroyed.Last month, the government of Kerala, India’s southernmost state, armed with a matching grant from the central government, started the reconstruction of the Parur synagogue that used to be frequented by Cochin Jews before they came on aliya, largely in the 1950s. The last of the community immigrated in the 1970s, leaving behind a mere handful of people, and the synagogue has remained in disuse since then. Today, fewer than 40 Cochin Jews remain on the Malabar coast.

    The conservation is progressing at such a pace that the chief architect in charge of the project, Benny Kuriakose, believes it will be completed by the autumn. This governmental and federal project could be a beacon for other countries, which pay lip-service to the preservation of Jewish heritage.

    “I was very excited to hear that the Kerala government is renovating the Parur synagogue and restoring it to the glory of its past,” said Tirza Lavi, a native of Parur, and a today a curator of the Heritage Center for Cochin Jews at Nevatim, south of Beersheba. “We hope that Parur will be a showcase to the younger generation, displaying our communities’ rich and interesting history. I am sure that Cochin Jews in Israel will be glad to take part in the project and share their knowledge and memories.”

    INDIA’S JEWS, though a minuscule minority (numbering only 28,000 at their peak in 1948), were loyal citizens and contributed to the development of India in all walks of life. India is fully aware of the special relationship with Israel and the love of that country by thousands of young Israelis, who go on the almost mandatory India trip after the army, and are often joined there by their parents.

    The reconstruction of the Parur synagogue celebrates the extraordinary relationship the Jews enjoyed with members of other religions in India, including Muslims, Christians and Hindus in the south. Despite a brief period under the Portuguese, the Jews of India never suffered anti-Semitism.

    The reconstruction of the Parur synagogue is only a small cog in the wheel of a huge project called the Muziris Heritage Project, which includes archeological excavations and the reconstruction of other historical monuments in the area, such as temples, churches and mosques. The idea is to create a tourism trail from the ancient port of Muziris, today known as Kodungallor, through Cochin, Parur and other nearby areas, and develop the already-existing tourism boom. Today, Kerala is the eighth most favorite tourist destination in the world.

    The seeds of the monumental project were planted only a few years ago. The beautiful Paradesi synagogue in Jew Town, Cochin, constructed in 1568, has been a well-known tourist site ever since Indira Gandhi attended its quatercentenary celebrations in 1968 and the Indian government issued a special commemorative stamp on the occasion. In more recent history, however, the Kerala government agreed to undertake the renovation of another abandoned Cochin Jewish synagogue belonging to the Malabari Jews in the village of Chendamangalam, near Cochin. In February 2006, the synagogue was reopened with an exhibition on the Cochin Jews, and the synagogue has become a popular tourist destination.

    “The Chendamangalam Synagogue Museum opening in 2006 gave me the courage, hope and joy that the restoration of others of Kerala’s synagogues may be possible during my lifetime and indeed, shaping the legacy of my community is my passion,” Galia Hacco, who grew up in Chendamangalam, said.

    “Communicating this legacy in India to Indians is the purpose of this involvement.”

    In the same year, the Cultural Department of the Kerala government embarked upon an ambitious heritage- preservation-cum-tourism project in the area known as Muziris, embracing both Chendamangalam and Parur. Muziris was a thriving port in the first century BCE that used to have trade contacts with Rome, Greece, China and the Middle East. Cargo vessels from West Asia, the Mediterranean and East Africa used to drop anchor at the port. St. Thomas, the apostle, is believed to have set foot in Kerala through Muziris. It is here that India’s first church, Mar Thoma Church, and first mosque, Cheraman Juma Masjid, are located.

    The development project, which is already well on its way, will include the establishment of a maritime museum, a historic museum on Indian independence from the British and museums dealing with Syrian Christian, Islamic and Jewish heritage.

    In Cochin Jewish tradition, the port of Muziris, which is known as Kodungallor today and was called Cranganore in the past, is legendary, and was the site where many Jews lived until a tsunami caused a fatal flood in the middle of the 14th century. All the surviving Jews and the other inhabitants moved over to Chendamangalam, Cochin and other centers. Jewish songs in the local Malayalam language still recall the incident.

    Archeological excavations at the site of Pattanam, near Muziris, now in their fourth consecutive season, have unearthed definite evidence of the port of Muziris, mentioned by the Romans, as well as in local Tamil texts. Sundeep Abraham, an independent Christian researcher from the Cnanite (Knanya) community, which migrated from Edessa to Muziris in the mid fourth century CE, said: “The Muziris Heritage Project will document the rich heritage of the ancient port city of Cranganore. One can witness the causes for the rise and fall of this once prosperous capital of ancient Kerala as it showcases the heritage of the ancient era beginning with the Muziris archeological site at Pattanam up to modern-era social reformers, who worked to emancipate the struggling underprivileged societies which bore the brunt of the ancient caste system of Kerala society.”

    THE DISCOVERY of the ancient port of Muziris within one kilometer of the Parur synagogue has caused increased interest in Kerala among scholars, who are speculating about the connection between the commercial port and the ancient settlement of the Jews in the area.

    Dr. P.J. Cherian, a researcher and director of the Pattanam archeological research since 2007, is optimistic of finding some material evidence of Jewish or Middle Eastern trading links. “One of the interesting finds of the last season,” he said,” was the turquoise glazed pottery of West Asian origin in the pre-Roman layers. We are awaiting its analytical report and hope it will be of help in tracing the early Jewish links with the Malabar Coast.”

    The present synagogue was erected in the 17th century, but probably stands on an older structure dating to the 12th century. “As with other Cochin synagogues, the synagogue is made up of not one building but a collection of parts forming a distinct compound,” explains Jay Waronker, who teaches architecture at the Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Georgia, and is writing a thesis about Cochin synagogue architecture. “Parur is notable for having the greatest number of connected and consecutive pieces which have survived fully intact, albeit rotting and crumbling. Unique to this synagogue is the way its parts are formally arranged and linked in a highly axial and ceremonial fashion. This same organization is also seen in some Hindu temples of Kerala and at later churches in the region.”

    Benny Kuriakose, the Chennai architect directing the reconstruction of the Parur synagogue and other historical monuments, has made every attempt to conserve the former synagogue structure, and goes to great pains to try to reconstruct features that disappeared long ago. A case in point is the disintegrated stairway that once was connected to the second entrance, where the two square storerooms are located and adjacent to the breezeway that led up to the women’s gallery.

    He is turning to members of the community to aid him to sketch it as it once was in order to produce an authentic reconstruction. Another example is the entry door of the gatehouse, where the original ground floor had wooden shuttered windows, but today there are only rolling shutters covering the windows. The newly reconstructed ark will be a work of art. The previous one, which was beautifully gilded and painted in Kerala Jewish tradition, was taken to the Israel Museum in the 1990s.

    Marian Sofaer, the project director of the exhibition on the Cochin Jews, which was introduced in the renovated Chendamangalam synagogue in 2006, summed it up: “The Kerala synagogues create an opportunity to present Jewish life and culture to Indians in the context of their own history and culture, to add to the diversity of the eco-tourism circuits in the Muziris Heritage Project and to remind us of the safe haven that India has provided to Jews during the 2,000 years of Jewish life in India.”

    The writer, a Hebrew University researcher, is a specialist on Indian Jewry. She co-curated the exhibition on Cochin Jews in the synagogue of Chendmangalam.

    Picture of P.J.Cherian’s Archaeological Team at International Seminar on Pattanam

    From Left -P.J.Cherian, S.Sharma CPM  MLA, Dr. Thomas Issac CPM minister, P.Govinda Pillai, CPM  Idealogue, M.A.Baby CPM minister and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan CPM minister

    Pictures of Knanaya Nazarene Museum Chairman with Pattanam Excavation Team

    Jose Dominic , Chairman of Proposed  Knanaya Nazarene Academy Museum of Knanaya Church along with
    K.P.Shajan,  and Selvakumar at Pattanam

    Pattanam Becomes Contentious Issue

    • October 31, 2011
    • By Vinod Nedumudy
    • DC
    • Kochi

    The historical excavation project at Pattanam and Kodungalloor and the state tourism department’s role in it, is proving to be a fiercely contentious issue.
    Called the Muziris Heritage Tourism Project, the bone of contention is the very name of the project. Not only is it not clear that present day Pattanam is in fact the 3000-year-old port of Muziris, but turning it into a tourism project has raised the hackles of many historians who believe historical excavations and tourism should not be mixed.
    Excavation at the two sites has been going on for the past five years. Remnants of amphora and other pottery pieces dating to the Roman, Parthian and Sassanian dynasties as well as some human skeletons have been recovered. Forty lakh artifacts, a majority of them belonging to the 15th century, have also been recovered.
    The excavation is being handled by the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR), a government body, and some historians say that KCHR does not have the expertise to handle such an important project and it should be handed over to the Archaeological Survey of India.
    The Muziris Heritage Tourism Project website goes one step further and establishes that “present Kodungallur had been named Mahodayapuram, Makothevarpattanam Muyirikkodu and Muziris by the Greeks and Romans, Shingly by the Jews, Cranganore by the Portuguese.“
    “The present day Kodungallur, situated 30 km north of Cochin and believed to be Muziris of the past, is said to have been first occupied around 1,000 BC and continued to be active till the 13th century AD.”
    The website further says: “The prosperous port of Muziris (Muziris Heritage Tour), at the mouth of the Periyar, overlooking the Arabian Sea was engulfed and silted over by the flooding of the river (in 1341), leaving its actual site to conjecture. The excavations (Muziris Heritage Excavations) by the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) in 2007 and 2008 unearthed the archaeological and historical evidence which confirmed its location.”
    Prominent historian M.G.S. Narayan, questioning the premise that Pattanam is Muziris, says that the KCHR is making tall claims. “There are no archaeologists in the current team except Dr Selva Kumar of Tanjavur Tamil University. There is a hurry to establish that Pattanam is Muziris which is not correct. I suspect there was a politically corrupt design involving the previous LDF government behind the project,” he said.
    He, however, added that so far the project has not done any damage, but the Archaeological Survey of India is the competent body to guide the project.
    “In the first place Dr Cheriyan, who is the director of KCHR and who is controlling the present excavation, is not an archaeologist. Moreover, at this stage tourism should not be brought into the picture,” he said.
    “There is an attempt to establish that Muziris was a Roman colony and had interactions with different nations at different times and hence what evolved was multi-culturalism. They are trying to showcase it as a tourism object. They mean to say that Kodungallur didn’t have a culture of its own,” says K. Satheesh Chandran, co-ordinator of Socio-Cultural and Development Studies, an NGO based in Kochi.
    Unmindful of such criticism, the State Government is going ahead with the Muziris project and plans to inaugurate the first phase next April.
    Tourism Minister A.P. Anilkumar said that the State Government proposes to showcase this unique project before the ambassadors of various nations in New Delhi in the immediate future.
    Prof K.N. Panikkar, chairman of KCHR, said that the tourism component has been included in the project to raise money for it.
    He also said that KCHR has not come to any conclusion that Pattanam is Muziris. He said that he stands by his comments two years ago that he was not happy about naming the project the Muziris Heritage Tourism Project.
    He said he had expressed his concern that tourism should not be merged with historical heritage. Panicker had said then that “tourism as a possible source of revenue can be disastrous for the culture of a place.”
    Director of the project and of KCHR, Prof P.J. Cherian, says there is an attempt to target him saying that he was not an archaeologist.
    “I don’t know what kind of expertise they mean. Very scientific work is going on at Pattanam. Such work has not been undertaken since 1946. This could be a knowledge-based tourism project,” he said.
    Controversies apart, how to raise funds for an archaeological project is a key problem but showcasing it as a tourism landmark even before the artifacts are arranged, raises several questions.

    Muziris is at Pattanam- Claim by St’ George Forane Church

    Accession Date and Time-31-10-2011; 11.20AM
    Christianity of Angamaly
    St. Thomas Tradition –a brief
    What we know about the history today, in general, is through that had already been recorded or written. A major part of the other side of the history still remains in the dark. The sleeping history can be explored to some extent and awakened through teamwork, by undertaking field studies, literature collections and analysis. In recent years a number of Christian historical books have been published. The major contents of all these works are almost new version of the old ones and the new inputs are very scanty. Lacks of proper field research, lapses shown in the protection of antique monuments, ignorance of foresight etc. have adversely influenced the quality of outcomes. Did St. Thomas really come to India? What are the authentic evidences available to establish the same? These questions are projected at all times and the solutions put forward are not fully satisfied with the many of scholars and researchers.
    Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of the Republic of India, speaking on the occasion of the St. Thomas Day Celebrations at New Delhi on December 18, 1955, said, “Remember, St. Thomas came to India when many of the countries of Europe had not yet become Christian, and so those Indians who trace their Christianity to him have a longer history than many of the European Countries. And it is really a matter of pride that it so happened.”
    According to the Malabar tradition, St. Thomas the Apostle, came by sea, and landed at Cranganore (Kodungalloor) in A.D. 52. He preached gospel; converted high caste Hindu families in various places of Malabar and erected a few public places of worship. Then he moved to Coromandel and suffered martyrdom on or near Little mount. His body was brought to the town of Mylapore and was buried in a holy shrine (Santhome church)
    St. Thomas tradition might be considered to consist of elements of the traditions of Malabar, Mylapore or Coromandel and the Chaldean church. Some details of this combined tradition may be found in a few folk songs such as Rabban pattu, Veeradiyan pattu, Margam kali pattu etc, and some historical accounts both of which now exist in written records.
    Nevertheless, the people of Malabar undoubtedly possessed a rich oral tradition, which reflected fully or partially in their folk songs and even in written annals. And all these various vehicles of tradition were available in the 16th century to the inquisitive Portuguese, who made ample use of these sources and wrote down their accounts in the form of letters, reports, depositions and well-composed histories.
    Typical Traces 
    Of course, we may put aside the testimonies of forefathers of church like St. Ephrem, Ambrose and Gregory etc. However, the first landmark in the realm of tradition, which has solidified itself during the last twenty centuries, is the belief preserved in the Malabar Jews. They affirm that when they landed in Malabar in 69 A.D. they found there a colony of Christians.
    One of the source books for the life and mission of St. Thomas, the Apostle, is the work called “The Acts of St Thomas” which dates probably from early 3rd century. It is considered to be an apocryphal work, but serious scholars seem to favour the historical evidences mentioned in the work. According to the Acts, the Apostle St. Thomas preached gospel in the land of Gondaferes. This prince is the Parthian King Guduphara, who was ruler of Afghanistan and the Punjab during the second quarter of the first century A.D. The country called Parthia (B.C. 250-A.D.226) was included Northern and Western India and a large part of Indus valley (Major India). Till the middle of the 19th century even the existence of such a King was considered legendary or a myth. But, the most dramatic discovery in the field of numismatics in India effected a wonderful change in the realisation of this true whole story. In 1857, a large number of coins were discovered in Kabul, Kandahar and in the western and southern Punjab bearing the name of Gondophares. Some of these coins were now kept in the Lahore Museum.
    The St. Thomas tradition is not a creation of fancy. On the other hand the co-existence of co-ordinate facts, points to the definite conclusion that the Apostle did come to Malabar to make the earliest beginning for the propagation of Christianity.
    Origin of St Thomas Christians – A Topographical Outlook About AngamalyIn the church history, it is generally considered that the St Thomas Christian communities of Cragannore (Kodungalloor) and Palayoor were migrated to Angamaly during early periods of Christian era. Why these Christians selected Angamaly to migrate? Why Angamaly was chosen as the seat of Archbishop House for many ancient centuries? From the ancient period onwards, the highest density of population of St. Thomas Christians was seen at Angamaly, Why? Mar. Francis Ross recorded – the See of Angamaly was the most ancient See of India. – the See of Mylapore which was found by the Apostle Thomas himself, was transferred to Cragannore when the Christians left Mylapore and got themselves established in Cragannore, and the See of Angamaly was the continuation of the Cragannore See.” Why?
    According to the traditional belief, the apostle St. Thomas visited India two times and preached gospel. He started his initial journey to India with the traders through the silk route touching Takshasila (the capital of the Parthian Kingdom) and second time through the spice route.
    The land route, which was the common route followed by the traders engaged in oriental trade to fetch Chinese Porcelain and silk, and was able to reach North West India, ruled by the Parthian King Gondophoros. After his evangelization work in North India, St. Thomas is said to have returned to Jerusalem for attending the first Jerusalem council via Barygaza ( Braukaccha or Broach), which is mentioned as an important port-town in Gujarat by Periplus of Erythraen sea.
    St. Thomas is believed to have come to South India after the Jerusalem council via Persian Gulf and Socotora.  Attempts to historicize the activities of St. Thomas in South India would necessitate a close at the international developments, against which the apostolic work is depicted in tradition. It was possible to reach Malabar (Kerala) coast from European countries within 42 days through spice route (sea route) with the advantage of monsoon winds. The discovery of the advantage of monsoon winds for navigation, in Northern Indian Ocean sector in A.D. 45 by Hippalus, increased the sea traffic between Roman Empire and Malabar. St. Thomas established seven churches (Communities) at Muzuris(Kodungalloor ), Palayoor, Paravoor (Kottakkavu), Kokkamangalam, Niranam, Kollam and Chayal (Nilakkal) in Malabar. Even though this belief may not be fully realistic, or otherwise if it is so, it can be pointed that there were other nearby places also, like Angamaly, Alangad, Mala, Malayattoor etc, which were enlightened by the Gospel with the visit of St. Thomas, which can be substantiated with the ancient topographical features and tracing the trade centers of that time. The possibility of Angamally as the origin of St Thomas Christians cannot be simply ignored. No doubt, it is a thrust area and needs a serious research studies in this subject.
    Angamaly (position 10° 20¢N & 76° 37¢E) was well connected with the rivers and mountains; and it was the one of the main trade junction of spices (mainly pepper) with guardhouse, and path way to Spice route in Malabar. It is believed that St. Thomas traveled from Malabar to Thamizhakam through land route (Ghat route) crossing Western ghats. This route, starting from Muzuris to Madurai /Pandi, connects different places, mainly Angamaly, Manjapra, Malayattor, Kothamangalam, Adimali,Poopara, Bodimeetu, Bodynaikanoor and also via Admali, Munnar, Pollachi, Udmalpettu, etc. Kings, Traders and Missionaries of various religions used this route, for a long period in ancient centuries.
    An account about this route, given in the Ernakulam District Gazetter is as follows: “According to tradition, St. Thomas came to Malayattor by the then familiar route, through some passages in the western ghats which linked Kerala with Pandien kingdom”. There is also a narration about the same fact in the famous Ramban pattu.
    River valley-civilization 
    It would be very interesting to know that the mountain route (path to spice route) was actually ended at Angamaly and the river originated from Western Ghats, flowing through Angamaly, was used for inland navigation, which was connected with the Arabian Sea. This wide and long river, later named as Periyar (In Tamil ‘periya are’ means large river), was partially diverted away from Angamaly during the great flood in 1341. This great flood resulted deposition of silt in the various locations of the river (This feature is very evident at the river strip of Naithode-Chethikode regions) and obstructed the river flow by reducing its volume. This river is known as Manjally River now.
    The river (Manjally River) almost surrounding Angamaly had great influence in the development of a unique community culture and also a main trade center. Recent years, the topographical structure of this river has been considerably changed again and reformed as a small stream. The olden remarkable memories of non-mechanized sailing vessels means flag vessels (pathamari) for foreign trades, warehouses, guard house, boat jetties, markets (angadies) etc located near the banks of this river are placed today in the history of myth. This was the river, which played a major role in the formation and concentration of ideal location of St Thomas Syrian Christians at Angamaly, from the beginning of Christian era. It could be seen that the peculiar geographical features of Angamaly was the basis of the unique civilization in and around Angamaly during the ancient period. If we go through the Periyar valley civilization, a number of hidden facts can be revealed about Angamaly. From the adjacent regions of Angamaly, namely Kidagoor, Kodussery, Malluserry, Karippasserry etc, megalithic monuments were discovered during the last few decades. In the eastern side of the Angamally, it was unearthed (1986) urn burial jars containing remains of rusted iron tools. From Kodusserry, 783 Roman silver coins were unearthed in 1987. These coins were used in 1st century A.D. in various parts of India, which points that Angamally was well connected with the international and national trades.
    An urn burial was discovered in January 2005 while digging for a foundation pit at Karippassery, a small hamlet near Vattaparambu village, lying about 5 km south east of Angamaly town in Ernakulam district. It was found in a plot owned by Mr. Sebi Kavalipadan. No mortuary goods were found in the urn but it was covered with pottery lid. A white sticky organic material, probably the disintegrated and decomposed bones was noticed in the bottom portion of the urn. The burial is datable to the Iron Age-Early Historic period. The site is situated at about 10 m MSL on a sloping laterite flat surrounded by river terraces, palate channels and flood plains of the Periyar and the Chalakudy rivers. A number of urn burials and few solenoid cists are reported in the nearby areas. A punch marked coin hoard and many megalithic burials were earlier found at Kodussery, about 1 km NE of the site (Journal of Centre for Heritage studies, Vol2, 2005)
    The foreign traveler Cosmos, who visited in India (A.D. 522) in his Topographia Christiana, stated that, ‘Male was the center of pepper trade, where a Bishop was doing services among a strong Christian community’. Even though there are difference of opinion about the location of Male, it is believed that Male was located in the present place of Angamaly (Anga-Male).
    It has come to the notice that most of the historical significances were brought to Kodungalloor by linking the names of historic places such as Cragannore, Mahadevarpattanam, Muzuris, Vanchi, etc. to Kodungalloor during the first few Christian centuries itself. This could not fully be justified; because, the recent archaeological findings at Pattanam (N. Paravoor) such as large scale collection of Italian amphora jars, roulette tiles, Mesopotamian torpedo jar, west Asian glazed potteries, beads and semi-precious red stones, bricks etc used between B.C. (1st century) and medieval periods, projected a high level academic dispute during 2004-07 and finally, experts in this field recognized that , the actual location of Muzuris was at Pattanamm and not at Kodungaloor.
    Vanished Nazraney Heritage values 
    The present Forane Church in the name of St George (West church) was located at the bank of river (Manjally River). There was a boat-jetty locally known as pallikadvu (Church boat-jetty) at northwest side of this church that was used till the end of the 19th century. In 2001, an investigation team identified the remains of laetrite stone steps (padavu). Earlier an extension of the river was directly connected with the boundary of the church plot and later due to the shortage of river water, the riverbed reformed as paddy field. At present, when rainwater floods during monsoon season in the paddy field, reflects the paddy field as river view, which recalls the ancient topographical similarity. Even though this location is not existent now, a clear and real proof is available in the Varthamanapusthakam.
    In historical records, it is seen that there was a regional ruler, known as Mangattu Kaimal who resided near the church during the 16th century. An account seen in Jornada is as follows: “Before the Archbishop left Vaipicota the Caimal of Angamaly (Kaimal of Angamaly) came to visit him, whom they call the black king (Karutha tavazhi) of Angamaly because there is another whom they call the white (Velutha tavazhi), and both are reigning, because it is a custom among the Malabaris to have in many places two and three kings of a Kingdom with lands distinct from one another, but all give orders,..” The remains of edifices of the King are still seen in a private property near the church. The king had donated large areas of land to the church, by exempting land tax. The typical boundary stones (thoranakallu) in different locations are still remaining near the premises of the churches.
    The documents relating to the lands indicate that a major part of the Angamaly area was assigned to the church in the early period. When the people from the other places migrated to Angamaly, they occupied the properties of church in different periods. Later, during the Revenue settlement done in the mid 19th century and the land rules established during the period 1945-54, the people having the land properties of the church on lease, became the owners of the same.
    In the four volumes of Basic Tax Registers (1955-60), kept at village office, Angamaly the details of land properties of churches were available. The survey numbers in the first three volumes were numbered as from 1/1A to 154 C, 155/1cc to 283/7A and from 283/7B to 419/4B respectively. These BTRs of Kothakulangara South Village were prepared based on the division of villages, which took place on 1.10. 1956. Accordingly it is seen that the valia pallai (St. George catholic church) had owned 36.82 acres of land (thandper or tax number 758), comprising, a total number of 75 plots and the cheria pallai (St Marys Jacobite church) had owned 11.65 acres of land (thandper or tax number 762), comprising, a total number of 33 plots in Angamaly.
    The cross is the symbol of Christianity in Kerala, especially when it is recalled that there were no images other than the cross in Kerala churches before the advent of the Portuguese. At Angamaly, three tall open air rock crosses installed in front of all the three churches are very ancient ( pre-Portuguese period) and attractive appearance. Out of which, the rock cross with hidden bells in the basement, situated in front of the St. Hormis Church (Eastern Church) was broken when a lorry hit on it in 1969. The experts failed to reinstate the cross in its original form.
    Ancient churches had mammoth walls (elephant walls) fixing rock lamps which surrounds the churches. These walls are very strong and its peculiar shape meant to resist the attack of elephants and enemies. The attractive mammoth walls of St. George church were demolished in 2005 and constructed new one in place of old mamooth walls.
    A huge rock baptismal font (St. George Forane Church), many centuries old, was found to be broken in many pieces and dumped near the priest’s kitchen due to the ignorance of its antique value. Bunches of inscribed copper plates in Tamil and old Malayalam version were also vanished. One of the copper plate remained there, was using as a platform for diesel generator.
    During the period of Tippu’s invasion of Kerala, he entered Angamaly in November 1789, by destroying the Nedumkotta (a fort), which was built exclusively aiming to protect Travancore from Tippu’s attack. Tippu Sultan attacked on three ancient churches of Angamaly including ancient edifices attached with the churches. The remains of the laterite foundation stones of the edifices can still be seen in the St George church ground. The façade of the ruined ancient St George church stood as the entrance of symmetry for more than two centuries and was demolished in September 2005. An account available in Dr. Buchanan’s letter (1806) is as follows:
    “When Tippu waged war with the King of Travancore in 1791, he sent detachments in every direction to destroy the Christian churches, and particularly the ancient edifices at Angamaly; two thousand men penetrated into the mountains, and were directed to the place by the sound of its bells. They sprung a mine under the altar walls of each church, and the inhabitants who had fled to the higher mountains witnessed the explosion. But the walls of the grand front being five feet and a half thick (I measured them yesterday), they did not attempt to demolish them for want of powder. In the mean time Tippu, hearing that Lord Cornwallis had invaded Mysore, Suddenly recalled his church destroying detachments. Next year Tippu was obliged to sign any terms that were offered him; but Lord Cornwallis forgot to desire him to rebuild the Christian churches. The inhabitants, however have rendered them fit for public worship; and have proceeded some way in restoring the Cathedral to its former state. The Archbishop’s residence and all the other public buildings are destroyed. The priests led me over the ruins, and showed me the vestiges of their ancient grandeur, asking me if I thought their Zion would ever be rebuilt. Angamaly is built on a hill. I told them, that their second temple would perhaps, have more glory than their first”
    “Two of the churches here are Roman, the third Syrian. But the two former would gladly return to their mother church”.
    The renovation work of ruined St George’s church by Tippu was actually initiated by Paramakal Thoma Katanar and the work was completed after his period. This rebuilt church was partially demolished during 2003-04, for making facilities for the construction of new modern church.

    Angamaly is an important Diocese of the Syrian Orthodx churches. The present renovated St Mary’s Jacobite church is enriched with ancient mural paintings (17th century) on the walls, are noteworthy; especially the popular wall- paintings of ‘the hell’ and ‘the heaven’. The hell is portrayed with Hindu iconographic codes, which is evident from the Bellzebool devil on the top, looking like a Hindu demon. Most of these attractive paintings are partially spoiled with the electrical wiring works

    Pattanam and Portugese-The International undercurrents beneath Pattanam Comes to Light




     ACCESSION DATE AND TIME- 31-10-2011;11.00AM


    Jenee Peter participated in the discussions and open forum held at Kottapuram Fort, Kodungallur, Kerala on 23rd September 2011. The session was in connection with the visit of the Portugal Ambassador to India Dr Jorge Roza de Oliveira. The meeting was in attendance of Prof K.S Mathew, Dr Hemachandran, Muziris heritage project and Kottapuram excavations team members, Kerala state department of Archaeology officials and the media. An exhibition was held in the site I connection to the visit. Dr Roza was delighted when Mr. Benny Kuriakose and Prof Mathew pointed out that the Malayalam has more than 400 loan words from Portuguese while Goa which was held till 1974 and seen as the headquarters of the Portuguese empire in the Indies has just five loan words. The oft repeated word in contemporary documents is boss signifying a hegemonic relationship with the natives perhaps.
    The visit was followed by a detailed visit of the recently excavated trenches in the site and brain storming. Dr Jenee is archaeological consultant for Kottapuram excavations.

    Illegal Trenching and Transfer of Antiquities From Pattanam to U.C College Museum With Knowledge of P.J.Cherian in 1998 Before Licensed Excavations -Documents Speak


     ACCESSION DATE AND TIME-31-10-2011;10.25AM


    Dept. Picture

    History has been always posing new questions about the past and answering old questions in newer ways. We at the department teach students to think critically about how the past is fundamentally similar to the present yet different from the present, and together shapes the present. Hence the past is recalled and remembered in the present.
    History has long been a popular field of study, and with good reason. Thinking about how to act in the present and how people have acted in the past…. the forces that shape people’s lives in the present than to understand the forces that have shaped people’s lives in the past… critical thinking, careful reading, energetic researching, analytical writing, and effective communicating ….
    The department of History forms an integral part of the Social Sciences stream of Union Christian College. As one of the earliest departments to start a full fledged under-graduate programme in History, this spirit followed in starting a Masters programme in 1965. Since then, the department has grown leaps and bounds and many young scholars joined the department. The highly qualified and dedicated staff on rolls has always been the greatest strength and identity of this department.

    • 1921: Union Christian College begins its historic journey
    • 1923* – 1965: Clubbed with the department of Economics. Rev. Roger Hicks, a missionary and graduate from Oxford University, and Dr K.I Martandavarma, were among the pioneering teacher- researchers.
    • 1965: A separate department was constituted with Dr A.K Baby as the first head of the department
    • 1965: Post graduate programme in History began
    • 1970s, 80s: The department undertook pioneering research in medieval and modern history led by Dr T.I Poonnen, and Dr A.K Baby. At the same time, the department laid the foundation for interdisciplinary studies which still forms the essence of the department. Young scholars were promoted as teachers who went on to do research in different periods in Indian history. There were luminaries among the students too like P.K Michael Tharakan and others. The eminent historian Prof. Rajan Gurukkal joined the department during this period.
    • 1974: Birth of a modest archaeological museum
    • 1998: reorganization of the museum, beginning of the Certificate Course in Archaeology, Centre for Cultural and Ecological Studies coordinated by Dr P.J Cherian and Dr K.V Kunhikrishan. The museum enhanced collections from various explorations of archaeological sites in Periyar basin like Kunnukara and Pattanam.
    • 2000: Considering the consistent academic credentials, recognized as a Research Centre in History under Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam
    • 2002: The UGC Sponsored Advanced Diploma in Archaeology and Museology, a three year programme affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University began.
    Mission Statement and Objective of the Department
    • Research
    • Inter-Disciplinary Initiatives
    • Discourses
    • Holistic, qualitative student growth

    Heads of the Department

    • Dr A.K Baby: 1965-84
    • Prof. A.K Abdul Kareem: 1984-96
    • Dr N.Lakshmikutty    : 1996-2000
    • Prof. B.T Joy: 2000-01
    • Dr P.D Johny: 2001-03
    • Prof. P.M Varkey: 2003-08
    • Prof. Annie. M Thomas: 2008 onwards

    Former Teaching Faculty

    • Dr T.I Punnen
    • Dr.K. I Marthanda Varma
    • Fr T.K Alias
    • T.M Mathew
    • Dr Rajan Gurukkal
    • Dr K.V Kunjikrishnan
    • Dr C.J Varghese
    • Prof Abraham Joseph
    • Dr. M. P Marykutty
    • Dr P.J Cherian
    • What is the Role of U.C.College, Aluva, Ernakulam District, in Pattanam Excavations?
      Accession Date and Time-29-10-2011;3.00PM


      The Kottapuram Fort (Cranganore Fort or Kodungallur Fort), was constructed by the Portuguese in mid 16th century CE and was later demolished and rebuilt by the Dutch in around 1663 CE. This fort is situated on the western banks of river Periyar or about five km east off the river mouth in Kodungallur taluk, Thrissur district, Kerala, India. It was briefly the military camp of Tipu Sultan in the Periyar region and was later bought by the newly emerged Travancore state after them defeating the Dutch in the Battle of Colachel. By the eighteenth century, the fort appears to have been in ruins. In the early decades of 20thcentury, this fort came in the hands of the Travancore State Archaeological department after Tipu Sultan and the English and has been a protected monument ever since.
                        In 2007, the State Department of Archaeology, government of Kerala explored this site systematically and laid out few trial trenches. As a result of this debris clearance and excavation, ruins of the fort along with many artifacts both of indigenous and foreign origin were unearthed.  Since 2009, excavations have been carried out under the Muziris Heritage Project. The recent archaeological excavations from April 2010 have revealed at least four structural phases along with many antiquities and non local ceramics. Many of these pottery types will go into forming a ceramic sequence for the region which also includes known sites like Pattanam. Important antiquities found at Kottapuram include, canon balls, local and foreign coins, smoke pipes, tiles, bricks, nails, terracotta animal figurines, beads and glass bangles. These artifacts help in relatively dating the different periods of occupation in the site.
      This site has also yielded number of faunal remains along with one human extended burial and other osteo-archaeological remains.  Ceramics belong to various categories namely; celadon, porcelain, turquoise glazed pottery, Sanjan type and torpedo jar etc indicate that this area had played a vital role in the Indian Ocean trade perhaps from 9th, 10th century CE onwards. Archaeological evidence from pre-fortification levels suggests an early occupation in the site and its environs.
      Muziris Heritage Project (MHP) is a large project initiated by the Gov’t of Kerala and supported with a major grant from the central government’s Ministry of Culture. The project aims at restoring the ‘Muziris Heritage’ and making it an attractive area for those who are interested in the history and heritage of a country. The recent attempts include a high diplomatic level discussion on devising “Spice Route Tourism’. The Heritage site covers the Kodungalur Taluk in Thrissur District and the North Paravur Taluk in Ernakulam District. The project aims at renovating and maintaining different old structures there, so that they can be opened to the public. In the first phase, the Paliyam Kovilakom, Paliyam Nalukettu, two synagogues and two archaeological sites (Pattanam and Kottapuram) are expected to be made accessible to the public.

      Twenty seven museums are planned in the first phase and will educate public and students in the history of this part of the country particularly cultural history. The ancient art and cultural forms also will be rejuvenated as part of the project. The plan is to make the Muziris a living heritage and interpretation centre rather than a mere tourist attraction.  Excavations continue in the two archaeological sites under this project; Pattanam is in the sixth season of excavation and Kottapuram is in the second season of excavation. Site museums are planned in both these sites after conservation applying current global standards.

      The Department of History is a major consultant to this project and students attended the field school at Kottapuram and other MHP sites

      Pattanam is Muziris-Tehelka Reports on Version by Benny Kuriakose of Muziris Heritage Project
      Accession Date and Time 29-10-2011;3.40PM
      IT WAS once a trade hub and the gateway to Rome and Egypt from India. In its heyday, Muziris was a popular commercial centre, where merchants from overseas came to trade gold and gemstones in exchange for “black gold” (pepper), and other spices. Then it fell off the map.
      Now, courtesy the Kerala government, efforts are being made to turn this 1st century BC port, that remained buried for centuries, into a hot new tourist spot. The location of Muziris had long been a mystery for archaeologists and historians. It appears in historical documents as a business and cultural hub with strong international ties, and finds mention in Tamil Sangam literature from 600 BC to 300 AD.
      The discovery was made during the 2007-08 excavations, when Roman remains almost 2,000 years old, were found some 220 km from the state capital Thiruvananthapuram. “At the moment, the monuments are in decay and barely tourist-worthy,” rues Benny Kuriakose, director of the Muziris heritage project.
      Its rehabilitation will also mean jobs for locals and traditional artisans. The project’s first phase will be opened to tourists by December. “Our department is planning the Muziris project on a global scale to attract more foreign tourists to the state,” says Unni Krishnan, planning officer of Kerala’s tourism board. But infrastructure is weak, and roads need to be broadened, feels Anish Kumar, CEO of Travel Planner, a Thiruvananthapuram- based tour operator.
      Kuriakose says the excavation has also shed new light on the Periyar basin, and the historic towns of Kodungallur, Pattanam and Paravur.

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