Celebrations marking ‘World tourism day’ highlighted the future relevance of our rich past.

Every one of us has surely heard our great old grannies’ grand stories about kings and queens in legendary epics like the ‘Ramayana’ and ‘Mahabharata’, with eyes wide open. Be it the massive wars, the kingly weddings or the majestic monuments, history and its mystery have always engrossed with its endless episodes.

On September 27 observed as World Tourism day, the traditional past was revisited through a joint programme of the INTACH and CII at the Thiagarajar Arts College.

Heritage talk by Coimbatore-based eminent history researcher Mr. Rajesh Govinda Rajulu, was the highlight of the day and aimed at creating awareness among city college students on the importance of Madurai and its Heritage.

College Secretary, Dr. Uma Kannan, lit the lamp and inaugurated the talk in the presence of the Principal and the chief guest.

“Apart from few world heritage sites in Tamil Nadu, the Meenakshi Temple is the most popular temple among tourists across the globe. Temples are treasure houses of information, chronicling cultures and civilizations, as history in India stands etched in stone. Our art and architecture bears testimony to the vast eras and gives a vivid description of those bygone kingdoms, captivating cultures and interesting traditions”, declared, Mr. Rajulu, highlighting the importance of temples in South Indian History.

It was quiet interesting to know how efficient administrators the kings were, who recorded even the most miniature of the properties and possessions in the kingdom all in the form of inscriptions on temple walls. “Old temples are wonderful examples of the administrative excellence that people had. The way temples were run with proper drainage and storage facilities, optimum usage of human resource for various duties and the way the officials and employees were paid back by the king’s government can match any modern day management principles” he added.

The talk also threw light on how capitalizing culture can generate good revenue and that tourism is a thriving industry having the potential to enhance infrastructure and economy.

“Hotels themed on heritage and cultural resorts earn much more than the modern put up options, as foreigners want to see the real way of life here” he reiterated.

He urged the students to form small groups and start history from home by collecting old antique utensils, silk saris, jewelleries or any such family owned items and also to gather information about the numerous historical pockets in and around Madurai and to come up with innovative ways of promoting the city as a tourist destination.

“Madurai is one such ancient city with a recorded history of over thousands of years and one should feel lucky and happy to be here and belong to this city” he praised the town much to the pride of Maduraiites.

The Temple city surely finds a place in the top hit list among both domestic and foreign tourist visiting South India, for in this city of myths, every lane has a tale to tell.