Lokame Tharavadu a game changer for Alappuzha

The contemporary art show will transform dynamics of cultural tourism

The Lokame Tharavadu contemporary art show, along with the Alappuzha Heritage Project, has the potential to transform the dynamics of cultural tourism, according to tourism planners and stakeholders.

“For a variety of reasons this project is a game changer as it extends the footprint of Alappuzha as a destination,” said V. Venu, Additional Chief Secretary, Cultural Affairs, Planning and Economic Affairs.

He said that the art show spotlighted the destination in an entirely different perspective, which would be beneficial for the tourism industry. “For the tourists, Alappuzha is always a boarding point, a backwater destination, houseboat destination and most importantly an excursion destination. A large portion of our visitors get into a boat, cruise around and have a meal or two and exit. This event makes a very compelling pitch to use Alappuzha as a destination not merely for a houseboat cruise, but to stay back to spend a night or two at the destination, absorbing its culture and history,” said Mr. Venu.

Built heritage

The event also puts the spotlight on the built heritage of the town, on its bylanes and many bridges and the quaint precincts where the event is being held, revealing the many layers of Alappuzha’s history and its rich cultural interface.

“I believe that the event would become a catalyst through which we will see Alappuzha rebranding itself and repositioning itself as a destination worth more than a cruise. From a cultural point of view, this is a great example of adaptive reuse. We are only starting to do this,” he said.

Conservation architect Benny Kuriakose said they embarked on the ambitious project to conserve the built heritage of Alappuzha for the future generations. “We also thought there is great educational value in these spaces which served as coir factories and warehouses. These are nothing but attempts to tell stories from our past and the linkages of the place with the maritime trade,” he said.

Tomy Pulickattil, managing director of Pulickattil Houseboats and a stakeholder in the tourism industry, said it was not just the tourism industry that was looking at the show with great hopes. “The people here also have great aspirations regarding the project. The benefits brought in by the biennale in Kochi are known to everyone and I am certain that this would lift Alappuzha as a destination and provide it a new orientation,” he said.

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