NMF package to showcase maritime heritage along the 300-km coastal stretch

The National Maritime Foundation (NMF) has devised a tourism package to showcase the maritime heritage along the 300-km coastal stretch from Pulicat to Poompuhar.

Under the SAMUDRAM (Seashore Archaeological Museums off the Dravidian Mainland) project, the tourists will get an opportunity to visit historic forts and archaeological sites at Tranquebar (Tarangambadi), Poompuhar, Porto Novo (Parangipettai), Sadras, Alamparai, Pulicat, Mamallapuram, Chennai and Puducherry.

The forts were built by the Portugese (Pulicat), British (Fort St. George), Mughals (Alamparai), Dutch (Sadras), French (Puducherry) and the Danish (Tranquebar), besides Cholas (Poompuhar).

Talking to The Hindu, NMF Chennai Regional Director, Commodore S. Shekhar said the project was aimed at creating an awareness among people of the State, especially the youth, about the State’s rich maritime heritage and encourage them to take up a career in the maritime sector.

Apart from attracting international and domestic tourists, the scheme was also aimed at rehabilitating ex-servicemen and generating additional revenue for the Tourism Department by developing infrastructure facilities along the coasts and encouraging the folk artists in these locations.

“Each town has its own story to tell and we are not trying to merely exhibit the forts but using the archaeology and history to rekindle the interest in modern youth about the maritime heritage. We will also tell them how the British, French, Dutch and others learnt about Tamil Nadu’s maritime strength several centuries ago,” Mr. Shekhar said.

The State tourism department has been asked to develop basic infrastructural facilities at these places, create clusters and host sound and light programmes and culture shows so that it helps tourist guides, budget hotels, transport operators, souvenir makers and photographers earn some decent income.

“It would be a great idea to take tourists to all these places, initially by road and later by waterways. But, the topmost priority is to promote them as individual tourist spots. Popularising these spots cannot be done in a short period as it requires huge funds and tremendous marketing effort by the tourism department,” he added.

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