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Old July 14th, 2017, 01:21 PM   #201
Anoop O
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Travelogue to Nelliyampathi

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=5da827860e
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Old July 14th, 2017, 01:38 PM   #202
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Old July 17th, 2017, 07:11 PM   #203
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With over 500 years of expertise in the Vedas, the Poomully Mana treats diseases using authentic ayurvedic methods #Palakkad

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Old July 17th, 2017, 07:11 PM   #204
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#AnaikattiBySiruvaniASterlingResort#Palakkad

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Old July 17th, 2017, 07:12 PM   #205
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Old July 18th, 2017, 08:45 PM   #206
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Old July 20th, 2017, 12:22 PM   #207
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A travelogue through Attappadi:

https://youtu.be/M3jLlwmDwiY


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Old August 13th, 2017, 07:46 PM   #208
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Old August 13th, 2017, 07:48 PM   #209
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Old August 21st, 2017, 09:18 PM   #210
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Old September 2nd, 2017, 02:10 PM   #211
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Old September 18th, 2017, 09:22 PM   #212
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File Picture of Flower Show 2015, held at Malampuzha, Palakkad, Kerala, India. Flower Show 2016 will be conducting from February 17 till March 07 at Malampuzha.

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Old October 15th, 2017, 04:44 AM   #213
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Old October 19th, 2017, 09:13 AM   #214
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Palakkad Tourism

THE KOLLENGODE PALACE THAT WAS REDEEMED FROM THE BRINK.
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The Italian government recently launched a scheme that offers to give away more than a hundred historic palaces and castles, free, to anybody interested. Well, almost. You need to make investments, and develop them as tourist attractions.

It highlights a central challenge faced by owners of large, heritage properties. While tourism does offer a credible lifeline to these richly storied edifices of an earlier time, successful conversion calls for large upfront investments..

When members of the Vengunad royal family were grappling with the future of the Kollengode Palace—familiar to Malayalees through a number of period films shot there, including 'Ganam' and 'Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha'—they had the daunting additional handicap that its location was far from established tourist circuits.

The promulgation of land reforms in Kerala, followed by the less-known forest reforms, had earlier deprived the family of both its traditional sources of income: yield from the vast stretches of rice paddies around Kollengode, and from the forests in the nearby Themmala hills.

Although the last ruler of Vengunad died leaving behind a will that forbid sale of the palace, the branch of the family that held control over the northern wing concluded that it didn't have the means to maintain it. And so, in spite of a campaign by local citizens, which became a cause célèbre drawing support of the likes of M.T. Vasudevan Nair and Sugatha Kumari, it was sold in 1996, and the 400+ years old palace was demolished.

Jayashree Ramachandran, a senior member of the Vengunad royal family who now lives in Chennai recalls the anguish of seeing the old palace being razed to the ground. It steeled her resolve to avert a similar fate for the other wing, a much more recent structure, that was held by her immediate family.

It was built originally by the redoubtable Rani Dhatri, a modernizing figures in the history of the Kollengode royalty, and was in dire need of major repairs. With each monsoon, her elderly mother would dread that the roof would come crashing down!

Being widely travelled, she and her siblings were aware of palaces that had been been restored and maintained as hotels, including many in India. But they weren't sure of the steps involved to realizing such a transition.

She wrote letters to all sorts of people in the world of tourism and hospitality. One of the early encouraging responses, rather surprisingly, was from the state tourism department. The guidance of the then Tourism Secretary led to a detailed project report.

Soon prestigious names in the Indian hospitality industry came down for exploratory visits. Without exception everybody was effusive in their appreciation. But then, for reasons ranging from the remoteness of the location, to stipulations on food and alcohol, things just refused to fall in place. For many years.

By 2002, after a decade on the quest, Jayashree Ramachandran was on the brink of throwing in the towel...

That’s when the Dominics, owners of the Casino Group (now called CGH Earth) showed interest. At the time they already had a clutch of unique resorts, but not quite the formidable reputation in heritage tourism that their brand evokes today.

At the end of their first visit, things didn't seem particularly promising. Of all comers they were the least expressive. And for that reason, when they not only came back interested, but did so with a clear vision on how the palace could become a unique kind of destination, it came as a surprise.

Till the Kalari Kovilakam, palaces had been turned into resorts where a modern-day holidayer could indulge in the idealised life of former royals. The way the Dominics now envisioned it, this would be a new kind of wellness destination. It would offer the purest form of Panchakarma therapy, with all its rigours undiluted, but set in an environment that exemplified the sensibilities of the culture in which Ayurveda had once flourished.

A formal agreement was entered into, and a painstaking restoration process that lasted a couple of years was begun. The late Ajit Kaujalgi of INTACH was one of the lead consultants who supported the project with restoration expertise.

Much of the woodwork—arguably the standout feature of the palace—had to be extensively repaired, but with great care to stay true to the integrity of the original. A number of additions and modifications had to be made, plumbing and electrical lines had to be modernized...everywhere, the guiding principle was to use original materials, techniques and sensibilities.

Finally in 2004, the Kalari Kovilakam, was ready to welcome guests.

With the mystique surrounding the palace, the authenticity of the treatments, and clout of the CGH Earth brand it went on to carve a niche relatively soon.

While the management is discrete on the topic, it is understood that the property draws a very high profile of guests. An advantage of this is that these are typically sophisticated individuals who have respect and appreciation for the property and its cultural universe.

There is an ancient shrine, impeccably maintained, within the premises where regular offerings continue to take place. During the annual 'Araattu' festival at the nearby Ayyappa Temple, the main procession passes through the palace where the old rituals are still honoured.

Looking back Jayashree Ramachandran thinks the journey was well worth all the effort. In holding out from selling, and waiting for a partner with the right understanding, they were able to preserve not just the architecture of the palace, but to a large extent, its intangible heritage too.

The story of the Kollengode Palace stands in inspiring contrast to the state of the other palaces in our district. At INTACH Palakkad, we'd love to see Kalari Kovilakam introduce some form of an Open Days program where small groups of interested visitors could gain firsthand appreciation of this gem of our region's architectural heritage.
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Old October 19th, 2017, 05:18 PM   #215
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Old October 28th, 2017, 09:17 AM   #216
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Old October 28th, 2017, 09:18 AM   #217
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Palakkad Tourism

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Old November 9th, 2017, 06:47 PM   #218
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Old November 9th, 2017, 06:51 PM   #219
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