The new hot spot in a city star hotel, writes A. SHRIKUMAR

If you are a long time Madurai-buddy, a walk down any arterial road might help you sense the new nip…from zipping vehicles to scaling buildings, swelling streets and a perennial public inflow, the universal ‘urbane’ label is sticking onto the city. But does that mean the city’s old image is getting lost in the suave-stir? If so, then the ‘cultural village’ inaugurated at the ‘Heritance’ hotel on Tuesday comes as a salvage.

Hospitality

As an endeavor to display the true Indian hospitality, the Hotel has attempted to lend an overall novel experience of being in a country-side environment and knowing the rich heritage of the region.

Nestled in the lush greenery of the hotel complex, the ‘village-replica’ is a whole 10,000 square feet, innovatively done composition of essential village elements, rendering a resplendent rural backdrop. With thatched roof-huts, bright ochre-red mud, elaborate ‘kolams’ and ‘thoranams’, the village is all set to be more than mere fascination for the hotel guests, especially foreigners and the NRIs.

“Madurai is one of the oldest living cities in the world with a known history of more than 2000 years and undeniably, an inseparable part of this lauded legacy is the folk art forms native to the region. In an attempt to make people aware of this rich heritage, the cultural centre is designed to depict a typical rural scene, more like a Chettinad village. Apart from the visual experience the guests can also get a practical try-out of the various indigenous craft forms here”, beams, Mr. S. Thiagarajan, the Managing Director of ‘Heritance’.

Handpicked artisans

Artisans from various villages have been handpicked and roped in on contract basis to showcase their products at the centre. There are six huts portraying the various quintessential aspects of the Indian villages, each named interestingly, where the tourists can have a hands on encounter.

Be it the delicate work of knotting flowers into garlands or the complex process of weaving a sari, one can learn it here, at the ‘Mari poo kadai’ and the ‘Kandasamy tharikoodam’. “In fact, foreigners are more interested in our culture and value it more than us. Trying upon the handloom would give them an idea of how much hard work goes behind the intricate borders of a silk sari and how developed is the skill in our country, with even illiterate people doing it” explains, Mr. K. Vedhamuthu, a silk weaver from Thirubuvanam in Kumbakonam district.

“We have been doing pottery since many generations and I have bagged many awards too. I think being here would help me boost my business and give an impetus to my skill, teaching foreigners about this rich village craft” feels, Mr. Chandrahaasan, a potter from Tattuvanchery in Tanjore district.

Try out your cooking skills

The guests can also try cooking ‘kuli paniyaram’ and ‘appam’ on the ‘Viragu aduppu’ at the ‘muniyammal idli kadai’ and the charming terracotta urns and clay-made ‘Ayyanar horses’ are displayed at the ‘Kali paanai kadai’. Or if you just choose to sit back and chill, then ‘Karuppayya club’ is ideal, where the regional flavours of traditional chettinad cuisine may captivate one, along with the punchy sonorous village songs, that may linger long.

In the middle of these huts, there is a circular platform where folk dance shows like ‘Mayilattam’ and ‘Karagattam’, folk music renderings will be performed. Coir made cots and ‘thinnai’ look alikes are provided in the sitting area for enjoying the show the real way.

With all these to its forte, the ‘Heritance’ Madurai’s cultural centre, is first of its kind in the city to look back into her rich past and provide travelers and vacation enthusiasts a holistic experience of life in the South. Well, if you are bogged down by the busy city schedule, a day by the bucolic ambience might restore you back to your best!

For details, call: 0452-2385455