Express press service
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Tourism will see a major boost as the department explores more local tourist spots in the district. Manikkal, located on the outskirts of the capital with multiple tourist attractions, is becoming an emerging destination. The project, Puzhayozhukum Manikkal led by Haritha Keralam Mission, is implemented under the Nava Kerala Mission.
The District Tourism Promotion Board (DTPC) is planning to set up a modern center and toilet facilities for tourists visiting Velavoor in the Manikkal panchayat. To attract more visitors, DTPC plans to develop Vellanikkal Rock, a 5-acre rocky hill and Thamburan-Thamburatti Rock located in the panchayat.
“These two rocks are major attractions here and are frequented by local tourists. Vellanikkal is more popular. During the weekend, more than 1,000 people visit the site to enjoy its scenic beauty. But these two sites lack basic amenities and we aim to provide a safe environment for tourists,” a tourism department official said.
The authorities also plan to turn the old Velavoor bridge into a tourist attraction. The authorities have approached the Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP) – the custodian of the bridge – for permission to implement the project.
“When the new national road came, the old road and the bridge became obsolete. The government has decided to promote tourist activities on the centuries-old abandoned bridges. There is a nature trail on the bank of the river flowing under the bridge. We are creating a cycle path and a natural promenade. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of the landscapes, farmlands and the river,” the official said. The tourism authorities plan to explore agricultural and water tourism in Manikkal with the help of the panchayat and other departments.
“The Mamam River, which originates in Thamburan-Thamburatti para, is one of the 44 rivers in the state. More than 10 km of the river section crosses the panchayat,” the official said. Authorities plan to introduce activities like coracle rides in the lake.
“Authorities plan to settle host families here and create more livelihoods for local people,” the official added.
Reviving the Mamam River
Manikkal panchayat chairman Kuthirakulam Jayan said the panchayat has already launched initiatives to revive the Mamam River and agricultural activities there. “’The project, ‘Puzhayozhukum Manikkal’, is a priority of the state government. Its main objective is to transform Manikkal into a model panchayat. We also plan to restore paddy cultivation on 200 acres of farmland and explore organic vegetable and fruit farming,” he said.
“There are a lot of illegal encroachments in the area. There is pollution in various parts of the river. We will remove all encroachments and ensure the protection of the river,” Jayan said. He said they will also explore Grameen Tourism prospects in Manikkal. “We are going to start growing water lilies and fish farming. We will also reintroduce traditional farming methods,” Jayan said.