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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 27.02.2016

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the Muziris Heritage Project today(February 27, 2016) at Kodungaloor, Kerala.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said being the largest conservation project in the country and first green project of Kerala Government, Muziris Heritage project has a lot to boast about, be it in the area of heritage, conservation or tourism. The spice trade and ancient ports in the state have created many islands of heritage and history within Kerala, but the tourist experiences have always been discrete. This is where Muziris heritage project offers the best of heritage tourism to global travellers. There is no doubt this project will open up to Indian and foreign tourists a new destination, bringing economic benefits to the people of the region as well as knowledge and enjoyment for the visitors.

The President pointed out that formore than two thousand years, people of different faiths have lived together in this region in peace and harmony.The Hindu Kings of Kerala welcomed people from foreign lands as well as their religions - Judaism, Islam and Christianity. The Kings gifted land to set up places of worship and offered protection and patronage to believers of different religions. Today, Kerala is a state where religions share traditions. Many churches light oil lamps and raise flags as is done in Hindu temples. Similarly, the Cheraman Mosque has an oil lamp which is always lit.

The President said Kerala has through the ages demonstrated a remarkable ability to adapt to new traditions and values in every sphere of human thought and endeavour. The spirit of tolerance and catholicity of outlook of the people of Kerala is a model for the rest of the country. The Muziris Heritage Project celebrates this magnificent heritage of our land where people of different religions, castes and languages live in harmony. This project reminds us that our history is one of assimilation, mutual respect and celebration of our differences, respecting each other’s beliefs and values.

The President said he understands the next phase of the project is the ‘Spice Route Initiative’ which will explore the international connections and linkages that the Malabar Coast had with many parts of the world. This phase is to be implemented with the support of UNESCO and United Nations World Tourism Organization. The Spice Route Initiativeis both important and timely with India seeking to once again emerge as a major centre for international trade and transport as well as a maritime power. The Spice Route Initiative will link 41 countries in Asia and Europe with India and rejuvenate our cultural and academic exchanges with these nations. The goal will be the development of a multi-national cultural corridor which will not only throw light on India’s glorious heritage but also open up aroute of peace bringing nations and people together.

The President said as a country intersected by major maritime and caravan routes, India has always been one of the most cosmopolitan societies in the world, comfortable in dealing with diversity and welcoming of new ideas and cultures. He expressed hope that the Muziris Heritage Project will spread the message of Indian cosmopolitanism far and wide, adding thereby to India’s soft power across the world.

The President called upon the project authorities and people of the region to uncover and highlight the long-standing civilizational links and cultural affinities that India shares with the rest of the world. He expressed the hope that the Muziris Heritage Project will emerge as an invaluable link between the new world and the rising India.

This release issued at 1200 hrs.