A novel project to promote and preserve Tamil culture, heritage and language for future generations is slowly taking shape near Madurai.

It has been christened ‘Kadambavanam,’ which means a forest of Kadamba trees that was located in the present-day Madurai and is also the ‘sthalavruksham’ of Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple.

Spanning eight acres, it features a cultural centre and an ethnic resort. It is nestled in the serene locations of Parali on the Madurai – Natham Road and offers a breath-taking view of the valley below.

Great care has been taken, says M. Ganapathy, chairman of the project, to ensure each and every aspect of Kadambavanam had a distinct and unique ethnic flavour.An architect by profession, the he says the main objective is to take Tamil culture to youngsters. It also aims to provide a taste of rural Indian flavour to foreigners.

According to Chitra Ganapathy, managing director, the resort will initially have 16 cottage units modelled along huts, besides multi-cuisine restaurants offering dishes with a local taste.

The visiting tourists will be welcomed at the entrance by a life-size statue of the village guardian Lord Aiyanar riding a white horse. Behind it are the temples for several Hindu gods. The cultural centre will also feature daily performances of folk arts and classical arts.

A demonstration of the folk arts was given on Friday by the Chakrathalvar Kalai Kuzhu followed by bharatnatyam performances given by Raja kumar, Hansul Gani and her daughter Sumaiya Gani. While Mr. Kumar is student of Kalakshetra Dance School, Chennai, Ms. Hansul Gani is a teacher in the Bahrain Tamil Sangam.

All the performances were accompanied by explanations in English so as to help the audience under the shows.Further, says Mr. Chitra, school students will be invited to take part in the ‘Tamil language laboratory’ established in the premises.

Apart from foreigners, the resort is also looking at non-resident Indians looking to keep in touch with their roots. Efforts were on to popularise the resort through participation in various tourist festivals.

Further information could be obtained from (04544) 220 322-25/220 326, mobile 96009 16209 and www.kadambavanam.in