Kerala Tourism’s highly ambitious plan to bring the ancient 2000-year-old Spice Route back to life, for helping the modern day travellers to traverse the path used by traders and explorers has received support from the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Led by Mr. Vinay Sheel Oberoi, Indian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to UNESCO and Mr. Suman Billa, Secretary, Kerala Tourism, the meeting and presentations held at the UN agency’s headquarters last week, facilitates to achieve the assistance of UNESCO for this unique project of Kerala.
"We are delighted to receive the UNESCO’s support for the Spice Route project. I am sure it will help in the revival of Muziris, the beginning point of the spice route," said Mr. A. P. Anilkumar, Minister for Tourism, Kerala.
Mr. Suman Billa, who did a presentation on the Spice Route project, met Mr. Francesco Bandarin, UNESCO Assistant Secretary-General (Culture) and ambassadors of several other countries that are part of the Spice Route. During the meeting, Bandarin strongly supported the idea of the Spice Route project and appreciated Kerala Tourism’s initiative in reviving a lost heritage.
Archaeological evidence from excavations carried out in Muziris, near Kochi, has already given a good start for the Spice Route project. The excavations at Muziris have pointed to spice trade between Muziris and the West, before it mysteriously disappeared.
"Kerala Tourism’s Spice Route project aims to share the heritage among 31 countries along the ancient route. The initiative is expected to bring in a substantial number of foreign tourists to Kerala to trace the historic journey. Stating that Spice Route project will go a long way in promoting heritage and peace, UNESCO wanted Kerala tourism to start working on it," said Mr. Suman Billa, Secretary, Kerala Tourism.
Through this project Kerala Tourism is trying to link the Spice Route with the Muziris Heritage Project, featuring the ancient port town of Kodungalloor and nearby areas in Central Kerala, which were the focus of India's spice trade with West Asia and Europe.