Tourism hotspots are being spruced up in the district; many projects have been planned to enrich the experience of tourists.

Kannur has a lot to offer to tourists — palm-fringed beaches, heritage sites and picnic sites nestled in hills.

Various tourism schemes that are being executed and are awaiting sanction serve to make those spots more tourist-friendly through development of new facilities. The tourism sector in the district is expected to get a major facelift this year if the works, both those in the pipeline and already sanctioned, get under way on time.

The Tourism Circuit Development project for Kannur, already sanctioned by the government, is among a slew of projects conceived for enhancing the district’s tourism potential. The Rs. 5-crore tourism circuit development project envisages refurbishing of 14 tourist sites at Kannur and Thalassery towns and their suburbs with the objective of connecting major historical and heritage locations.

District Tourism Promotion Council secretary Saji Varghese said that the Union government-assisted scheme would also cover works including renovation of places and structures of heritage value. Fourteen sites identified for the circuit development are Kakkad river, CSI English Church at Kannur, Meenkunnu-Chal beach, Murikkanchery Kelu Smarakam, Chirakkal Chira (tank), Madayipara, Jewish Pond at Madayi, Madayi Kavu, Malik Dinar Mosque at Sreekantapuram, Kunnathurpady Temple, Payyavur Shiva Temple, Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary and farm, Muthappan Temple at Puralimala and Mruthanga Shaileswari Temple. The works will be carried out under the Northern Circuit Development Project under the Tourism Department.

The 508-year-old Fort St. Angelo at Kannur will soon have a permanent light-and-sound show featuring the history of the fort and of the region as the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has finally given approval for the Rs. 3.5-crore project funded by the Union government.

The project for the light-and-sound show submitted by the DTPC two years ago has been awaiting the ASI Directorate’s sanction. The Tourism Department will prepare the script for the show.

A major project in the pipeline is the development of a marine aquarium on the Muzhappilangad beach here. The Rs. 15-crore proposal conceived as a Union government-assisted project is all set to be sanctioned, according to DTPC officials.

Beach beckons

The Payyambalam beach is in the process of being spruced up for providing more facilities to tourists. The work of the walkway on the seawall along the beach is already under way. The DTPC secretary said that a hanging bridge to connect the beach with the nearby park would be built.

A major picnic destination for people in and around the Kannur town, the beach will be given a new look on completion of the ongoing works. The hurdles that stood in the way of the opening of the Tourism Complex built at Paithalmala, a tourism spot located 4,500 ft. above sea level on the Kerala-Karnataka border in the district, have been cleared now. It could be opened to tourists in two months.

The complex has been built as part of the Paithalmala Eco-tourism Project to develop the hill tracts into a tourism destination.

The Rs. 1.16crore complex with 12 rooms, a restaurant and a facility centre, has remained closed to the public for nearly two years because of delay in getting the electricity connection. The KSEB has already been paid Rs.25 lakh for the connection and further demanded an additional Rs. 6 lakh for completing the electrical works.

The eastern hill areas of the district were once destinations of people from south, especially Christians, who reached here in droves and tilled the land for planting crops, mainly cash crops.

The history of inward migration and settlement of communities in the hill areas will be showcased at a museum planned to be set up at Kottiyur, Mr. Varghese said. Also planned is the conservation of the mural paintings in the Thodeekalam Temple here, he added.

The tourism facility centres at Muzhappilangad and Dharmadam too will be opened soon, while works are under way for construction of the tourism facility centre at Parassinikkadavu. It has been nearly 15 years since the major tourism destinations in the district including the beaches were given a makeover.

Mohamed Nazeer

Fort St. Angelo at Kannur will soon have a permanent light-and-sound show featuring the history of the fort