After Metro, it’s a Memu service

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Kochi_Harbour_Terminus_ernakulam_old railway_station.

Ernakulam old railway station.

KOCHI: Commuters, keep your fingers crossed as the railways is preparing a proposal to reintroduce services to the Cochin Harbour Terminus Station (CHTS) and Ernakulam Railway Goods station, also known as the Old Railway Station. A Memu-service will link Ernakulam South to CHTS and ERGS to Aluva soon, officials said. The project cost would be Rs 30 crore. While no activities are taking place at ERG, CHTS is used for freight transport.

Kochi_Harbour_Terminus_ernakulam_old railway_station8Sources said that railway would require Rs 9 crore to restore and complete electrification of the single track rail route to ERG. “Considering the growth of Kochi and the ever-increasing congestion at Ernakulam Junction station, we should introduce a local area service here. Once ERG is revamped and electrification work is carried out, passenger congestion during peak hours (from Aluva side to Ernakulam city) will be reduced. Similarly, if CHTS is turned into a transport hub, it will be highly beneficial for the people of Willingdon Island and Fort Kochi who depend on other forms transport,” said a senior railway officer from Thiruvananthapuram railway division.

Kochi_Harbour_Terminus_ernakulam_old railway_station2At the same time, railway authorities said permission from the Indian Navy authorities are required to electrify the Ernakulam Junction-CHTS route as the aircraft landing funnel is situated near the railway station. “Electrification of the 1.5-km-long line is must to operate Memu service. Same is the case with 7-km-long Ernakulam Junction-CHTS and electrification of the route would cost around Rs 15 crore,” said a source in Ernakulam, adding that railways may have to spend on restoring existing tracks.

Kochi_Harbour_Terminus_ernakulam_old railway_station.

Ernakulam old railway station.

The tentative plan is to operate a continuous Memu service connecting ERG, Aluva, Ernakulam North, Tripunithura, Ernakulam Junction and CHTS. “If the traffic pattern of Kochi is closely monitored, one can deduce that most people come to the city from places like Aluva, Tripunithura, Mattancherry, Fort Kochi, Kumbalam and Nettoor. The local area service proposal will entail an expenditure of Rs 30 crore and connect all these places. At the same time, the Rs 5,000-crore Kochi Metro Rail project will not connect most of these places,” said a senior railway officer.

Breaking Stereotypes,Passing on the Legacy

The members of the Tripunithura Kathakali Kendram Ladies Troupe.

The members of the Tripunithura Kathakali Kendram Ladies Troupe.

Published on 27th February 2015 by Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kathakali fests are not new to people. Whether it is to packed audiences or not, artists always got to perform to audiences who come in to watch out of the sheer love for the art form, from different parts of the state.

Last week, the Kathakali enthusiasts of Kozhikode sat through ‘Karnasapatham,’ performed as part of ‘Manjuthara 2015,’ at the Padmasree Kalyanamandapam. It was organised by the Sooryasopanam Cultural Trust.

What most people in the audience must not have realised is that they were watching the first and only all- woman Kathakali group in the world performing in front of them.

The group comprised Parvathi Menon as Duryodhanan, Kavya G Nair as Bhanumathi, Geetha Varma as Karnan, Radhika Ajayan as Dushasanan and Pullur Jayasree as Kunthi. The backing vocals too were by Palanad Deepa and Meera Ram Mohan.

The group, the Tripunithura Kathakali Kendram Ladies Troupe, was formed in 1975  when not just Kathakali, but performing arts were not an accepted profession or pastime for women.

“We were all students of Kathakali doyen Padmasree Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair. The first performance of the troupe was ‘Kalyanasaugandhikam.’  Even the chenda was performed by a female artist,” says Geetha Varma, one of the senior performers in the troupe now. Her daughter Aarcha Gowri Varma is also a performer with the troupe.

Kathakali was an art that belonged only to upper class men. Even today, this remains the rule with many senior Kathakali artists. About defying the rules and breaking stereotypes, Geetha Varma says, “We had to face plenty of criticism. We were criticised only because we were an all-woman Kathakali group, and most of the time it came from people who never watched us perform.”

The criticism and the orthodoxy built around Kathakali were so strong that the group was recognised and invited for a performance by Kalamandalam only in the year 2000.

Parvathy Menon, also a senior artist in the troupe, remembers how they saw a group of men  disappointed when they saw the artist who will be playing Dushasanan.

“It was during one of our performances in Kollam. We were resting after our make-up, when some men came in and sounded very disappointed when they saw that it was a woman who was going to play Dushasana, but after our performance, their opinion changed.”

About the changing audience they have performed to over the years, Parvathy says, “The number of youngsters who come to watch Kathakali has definitely gone up over the years. But for performances which last through the night, which also is very rare now, we find very little audience.”

The troupe, which has only three of its founding members active, currently has women from across Kerala who join in to perform from time to time. They did not restrict themselves to Kerala and decided to cross borders and oceans with their performances.

Sharing an unforgettable experience, Geetha Varma explains how they silenced an entire group of audience at one of their performances in the United States of America. Back in 2002, we got an opportunity to perform at the Smithsonian Institution. Radhika Nandakumar, who is one of the founding members, performed a demo of the 9/11 incident. We asked the audience whether they understood anything. What we received was utter silence. For a minute we thought may be they did not understand anything. That is when we heard them whispering ‘it’s 9/11.’ That was an unforgettable experience.”

Transfer of Valuables Won’t Breach Temple Customs: Cochin Devaswom Board

28th February 2015 by Express News Service
KOCHI:The Cochin Devaswom Board (CDB) on Friday submitted before the Kerala High Court that its decision to shift the unused and unfit gold and other valuables from the Sree Poornathrayeesa temple, Tripunithura, to the central stock, Thrissur, would in no manner violate any custom of the temple.

In a counter affidavit, CDB secretary V Rajalakshmi stated that the Board did not intend to shift the ornaments and other valuables used regularly and during important festivals at the temple. The affidavit was filed in response to a petition filed by social activists and Bharatheeya Vichara Kendra former vice-president of T G Mohandas, seeking a directive to the Cochin Devaswom Board not to transfer the gold and other valuables. The petitioner also sought a directive to ensure adequate security to the temple and its valuables, in the event that the present security arrangements are inadequate.

The Board stated that on verification it had noticed that owing to passage of time and various other reasons certain gold ornaments and other valuables had got damaged and had become unfit to use.

“The Board decided to shift the valuables as it is a usual practice to shift ornaments and valuables to the central stock of the Board at Thrissur,” it stated.

After the theft at the Kodungallur Sree Bhagavathy Temple, the Board had decided to shift the gold and other valuables in the interest of all the temples under it. Considering the security aspect, such a decision cannot be termed as illegal. The Board also rejected the allegation that there was no stock of valuables in the temple.

Counter Affidavit

■ The Cochin Devaswom Board stated that it did not intend to shift the ornaments and other valuables used regularly and during important festivals at the Sree Poornathrayeesa temple

Poorna river turning a dumpyard

Published 11th December 2012, By Express News Service.

The Poorna river, passing through Tripunithura, has become a  dumpyard of organic, toilet and slaughter house wastes. Sensing the  environmental damages caused by the pollutants, the Balagokulam Kochi  Mahanagaram members have come forward against the practice on the river on  which the ‘Thoni Ezhunelipu’ ritual, held as part of Poornathrayeesha temple fest, is being conducted.

“The ‘Thonni Kadavu’, situated in the western part of the river, is the most  affected area. Sewage from Kochi Corporation and Tripunithura Municipal area are being directed to the ‘Kadavu’. This spoils the sanctity of the river,” said K G Sreekumar, district president of Balagokulam Kochi Mahanagaram.

The organisation has requested the Tripunithura Municipal authorities to take steps to ensure the sanctity and cleanliness of the river considering its historical importance. “The river should be protected as a heritage monument. We have already submitted a memorandum in this regard to the  Municipal authorities. If they don’t clean up the river before the festival, we will do it ourselves with the help of public. We have also planned to publish a book highlighting the importance of the river,” Sreekumar said.

Meanwhile, Tripunithura Municipal Chairman R Venugopal said the Municipality will consider the issues seriously.

“We will discuss the issue at the next council meeting and ‘Thonni Kadavu’ will be protected by constructing side walls,” the chairman said.

Meet recalls historian’s contributions

Published 07th May 2013, By Express News Service.

The commemoration meeting of Raman Namboothiri, local historian and former official of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), was organised at Tripunithura here on Monday. The meet, organised by the Poorna Nadi Samrakshana Samithi,  to recall the contributions made by the scholar was inaugurated by M G S Narayanan, historian and Director General of Centre for Heritage Studies.

“Raman Namboothiri did not hesitate in discussing any aspect of Kochi’s history, and he had incomparable knowledge about its origin and development,” Narayanan said.

The commemoration meeting also observed that the historian was instrumental in preserving many palaces and the western gate of the Poornathrayeesha temple by getting them included in the list of protected monuments.

A member of Kalamboor Melpilly Mana, Namboothiri was an expert in the history of erstwhile Kochi state. Cochin royal family member Elamana Hari and Samithi members were also present at the meet.

Historic Padinjare Puzha gasps for breath

Published October 21 2013, by The Hindu.

Water hyacinths clog the Poorna river in Tripunithura.— Photo:Vipin Chandran

Water hyacinths clog the Poorna river in Tripunithura.— Photo:Vipin Chandran

Historians have always linked the rise and fall of a civilisation to the presence of a vibrant river and its demise.

But in modern times, when humans can get water delivered where and when they want, people’s innate connection with rivers has been lost. So much so, that even if a river is dying, people fail to take note.

In Tripunithura, the Padinjare Puzha (the western river), which has played no mean role in the history of the town, is gasping for breath with overgrown weeds and pollution choking the vital water body.

The late M. Raman Namboothiri of the Archaeological Survey of India, who was an expert in the history and heritage of Tripunithura, in one of his writings, has stated that the Padinjare Puzha is actually the historical Poorna river. His work titled “Poornayude Puravrutham” explores the origin, the course and the flow of the Periyar’s tributary till the great flood of 1341. The flood changed the course of many rivulets.Raman Namboothiri has described how the eastern jetty of the Poorna, right at the back of Sri Poornathrayeesa Temple, played the role of an important trading link for Tripunithura.

The elderly in Tripunithura remember how kettuvallams brought in goods to the erstwhile royal kingdom. P. Ravi Achan, a descendent of the royal family of Kochi, said water transport was the mainstay of the people, with the boats bringing in wood and bricks for construction among other things.

Though the British built the iron bridge, another heritage structure, right next to this jetty, boat services from the jetty to the rural interiors continued till some 40 to 50 years ago. All these historical aspects have been strung together by the Poorna Nadi Samrakshana Samithi and it has asked the government to take an earnest role in preserving the heritage of the boat jetty and also save the river from pollution.

Samithi secretary K.G. Sreekumar said the river was mentioned as the Poorna river in the literary workSukasandesam composed in the 14th century by Lakshmidasan. It is called Porunai in old Tamil texts and Poorna in Sanskrit texts. The Poornathrayeesa temple, during one of its festivals called the Para Ulsavam, takes the deity across the river on a boat from the jetty. This ritual has been practised for centuries.

Mr. Sreekumar said the irrigation department had initiated a project to preserve and protect the boat jetty, but expressed his concern that the effort might not be sustained.

A senior government official in Kanayur taluk supply office and poet, Vaikom Ramachandran, has been closely associated with the movement of cleaning up the Poorna river. He has also written quite a few verses on the river.

A tributary of the Periyar, the river originates before it reaches Aluva, he said. The salt incursion in the water occurred at Champakkara because of the high tide, he added. One side of the river is under the administration of the Tripunithura municipality, and the other under the Kochi Corporation. With waste management not being taken up seriously on either side, the river had become a convenient place to dump waste, Mr. Ramachandran said. Many houses and flats that had come up on the river side were letting the waste flow into the river without any pollution control measures in place, he alleged.

It was difficult to blame the public when civic bodies had failed to provide people with alternative measures for waste disposal, said Mr. Ramachandran.

Irrigation Department on action to preserve Poorna River

Published | By MultiwoodWP


Poorna nadi is the Tripunithura’s river flowing on the banks of Lord Porrnathrayeeshan.



To protect the heritage value of Poorna river that passes through Tripunithura, the Irrigation Department has initiated the renovation  of ‘Thonni Kadavu’ situated on the western part of the river.

The authorities decided to initiate steps following protest from Balagokulam Kochi Mahanagaram members against dumping organic, toilet and slaughter house wastes.

Earlier, ‘City Express’ had reported that Thonni Kadavu, which hosts the   ‘Thoni Ezhunelippu’ ritual, the journey of Lord Sree Poornathrayeesan to Maradu conducted during ‘Para’ festival, is being affected owing to the contamination of the river water. The Irrigation Department officials said walls will be built on the either sides of the Kadavu. Steps will also be taken to clean up the area.

“Ferries will also be set up in the area. The total work will be completed within three months,” the officials added.

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