A Study on Heritage Preservation and Tourism Development at a Prehistoric Site in Kerala Through Community Engagement
13 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2019
Date Written: March 14, 2016
Wayanad is a beautiful hill station nestled in the lap of Western Ghats. Once branded as the most backward district in Kerala, it emerged as one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the recent years. Scenic beauty, bio-diversity, weather, indigenous people etc. attract tourists to Wayanad. The District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) Wayanad play a key role in promoting the destination and creating basic amenities at various tourist sites. Edakkal Caves, located on the crest of a prominent hill is one of the best examples of heritage preservation in Kerala. The walls of the caves contain several carvings, designs and some scripts, all made on the rough surface of the caves. These prehistoric rock engravings were studied by several historians to assess the period of it making and decipher meaning of the engravings. An early description of the rock engravings was mentioned by William Logan, a British Administrator of this region in Malabar Mannual (1886). F. Fawcett & R C Temple conducted a study on the engravings in detail in 1901. Several studies were conducted post-independence about the historicity of this place and trace the inhabitants who were instrumental in leaving the footprints of history to the future generation.
At present, Edakkal is not just a historical place, but it is developed as an important tourist attraction of the state of Kerala. Tourism development changed the heritage value of this place and the consistent effort of the administration to protect the heritage resources resulted in identification of several sites connected to the caves in many ways. The present study explores the coexistence of tourism and heritage preservation in Edakkal Caves through community participation. It attempts to explain the interactions of tourism, heritage and governance in protecting our heritage resources. Telephonic interviews have been used to collect required information for the study. The findings of the study suggest the applicability of heritage tourism opportunity spectrum (HTOS).
Keywords: Tourism, historicity, heritage value, preservation
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