The halcyon days are over, but, Thazhathangadi, once one of the booming trade centres in Central Kerala when the waterways were the sole means of transportation, still keeps its splendour.
Tile-roofed houses on the banks of Meenachil river, the communal bonhomie which marked the social life, the presence of the dynamic trading class, all are still present at this tiny riverside township off Kottayam.
Recently declared as a heritage zone, Thazhathangadi village and the nearby areas were in fact the centre of trade and power during the 17th and 18th centuries.
In their “Memoir of the Survey of Travancore and Cochin” published in 1863, Lieutenants Ward and Connor, of the British Imperial Army, who had visited the area in the 1820s (as part of their imperial survey project), draw a vivid picture of the life of the people in Thazhathangadi.
With heritage as a clear USP over nearby Kumarakom, Thazhathangadi is now vying for a place on the tourism map.
Led by Kottayam West Club, the organisers have decided to focus not only on the heritage buildings but also on the inland waterways and the Meenachil river which joins the Vembanad lake a few kilometres away.
The club has the distinction of being the organisers of the Thazhthangadi Boat Race, the oldest regatta organised in a competition mode.
A three-day festival has been organised for the purpose.
Thazhathangadi Heritage Festival begins on January 15. During the festival days, there will be cultural festivities, pedal and house boating on Meenachil river, food festival offering the choicest Central Travancore delicacies, and illumination of the heritage buildings in the night.
The three nights would come alive with pyrotechnic displays. However, the high point of the festival would be an airshow by Suryakiran trainer planes on January 16, organisers said.