THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For the first time in the history of Thiruvananthapuram city, a comprehensive data collection of cultural, social and regional aspects has been launched. The capital city is rich in heritage buildings and sites, being mapped by members of the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA), Thiruvananthapuram Centre. The project is called: ‘My City: Listen to the Walls’.
It should be recalled that the archaeology department had taken stock of the heritage buildings, but not the local people's lifestyles, food patterns, music, local dialect, local rivers and wetlands and much more. This is where the IIA Thiruvanantha-puram centre chairman Saiju Mohammed Basheer, coordinator of the project K. B. Jayakrishnan, Institute of Interior Designers state chairman Chitra Nair and hordes of other architects came up with a collective decision to document the culture, heritage and social milieu of the capital city. Architect Jayakrish-nan whom everyone fondly calls JK has meticulously sketched almost every heritage building and structures over the last several years including Sree Padmanabha Swami Temples’ front and rear entrances, Trivandrum Tennis Club, LMS church, Loyola chapel, Kuthiramalika and many more. Recently JK had conducted an exhibition of his sketches too.
“Local culture is very important. As a pilot project, we are taking the Agraharam at Puthen Street where apart from the houses there, it speaks a lot about their music, dance and food habits”, said JK who heads the JCJR Homes at Belhaven Gardens at Kowdiar.
The highlight of the documentation is that it will have pictorial representation with intricate details regarding historical places, old and new constructions, food items, rivers and wetlands. Apart from the IIA Thiruvananthapuram centre of architects and architecture students, Thiruvananthapuram Corporation as well as stakeholders belonging to the local milieu and historians and anyone who can recall the older times will also be included in the project.
Noted historian M. G. Sasibhooshan and archaeologist and heritage consultant Dr. Bina Thomas Tharakan are elated over the novel initiative by IIA Thiruvananthapuram chapter which would bring a holistic approach to the project where their expertise would also be utilized.
Sasibhooshan told DC that earlier the Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth (SPIC MACAY), a voluntary youth movement had decided to come up with a similar move, but unfortunately it remained just a claim.
“Thiruvananthapuram city has lots of hidden history and tradition lying under wraps. How many of us know that Thiruva-nanthapuram city has got a crafts history where metal wares and wood culture were once dominant?” said Sasibhooshan.
Once the documentation is completed it will reveal the history as well as the culture and tradition of Thiruvananthapuram which will also have pictures, maps and sketches. Bina Thomas Tharakan, the brain behind ‘Heritage Walk’ where she leads a freewheeling walk across various heritage sites on selected Sundays within the city and suburbs told DC that any type of documentation was good for the capital city.
“I am not against development. If a road has to be widened, it has to be done. People should be able to turn back and see that their city had a rich heritage which has been properly documented. You want the quaintness to last long and if a structure has to be demolished, it has to be documented”, said Bina Thomas Tharakan. ‘'My City: Listen to the Walls' is an exhaustive project which is expected to take two years to complete....