Spice Route - Trade Routes - The Week
December 27, 2014 at 6:30:00 PM
"Published in THE WEEK, the article speaks about the Spice Route, an ancient Muziris trade route that showcases India’s interaction with the West in the past. The excavations in Muziris indicated trade dating back to 15 centuries before Vasco da Gama’s arrival in Kozhikode. A major set of clues emerged from excavations in a village called Pattanam outside Kochi. Pattanam yielded amphorae, Roman coins, and gold jewelry.
The spice route is now marketed as a collection of places to visit. Benny Kuriakose, the conservation consultant for Muziris Heritage Project, believes in a different idea. It is about the discovery of our past, about figuring out the ideas of the past that have shaped us, and not just about bringing busloads of tourists to see these places, says Benny Kuriakose. The Chendamagalam Synagogue is one example of how the heritage project is aimed at stringing together the disparate buildings of the past.
Another example is Vypeen Kotta Seminary. It is a fort that was turned into a seminary. The work on the walls of the seminary was started by the Archaeological Survey of India. Excavations in the Kottapuram Fort also yielded evidence that the fort had been in the hands of the Dutch, Portuguese, and Travancore Royals.
The Muziris Heritage Project includes the oldest mosque in India, the Cheraman Juma Masjid in Kodungallur. It has preserved the lamp of the Buddhist temple it once was. It also has the Vidya arambam ceremony, which is a ritual initiation of children into the world of letters.
With the Muziris Heritage Project, the overall outlook of the village area has also changed."