The wooded highlands of the Western Ghats on the eastern and north-eastern borders give Thiruvananthapuram some of the most enchanting picnic spots. Renowned beaches, historic monuments, backwater stretches and a rich cultural heritage make the district a much sought-after tourist destination.
The State capital is considered the gateway to the South. Tourists from all over the world make it a point to visit Kanyakumari across the border. Yet, the 90-odd km from Thiruvananthapuram to Kaliyakkavila does not have any tourism facilitation centre to take care of the various needs of the tourists.
To address this problem, Kerala Tourism has now decided to set up a Tourism Facilitation Centre on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. The decision to set up the centre has been taken in view of the importance of the destination and to further market the tourism products of Kerala.
The proposed centre will come up on the land owned by Kerala Tourism on the NH 47 side at Karali, near Parasala.
The small town on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border is believed to have the largest number of marriage halls in this part of the State and is famous for the Mahadeva Temple.
A proposal mooted a couple of years ago was kept in abeyance, as it was feared that the development of the Highway would affect the land. “We have confirmed with the authorities that the land would not be taken over for the development of the NH,” a tourism official said.
Kerala Tourism's Working Group on Plan Schemes, which met here recently, had cleared the proposal to set up the centre at a cost of Rs. 1.07 crore. The centre will have various amenities such as office space, rooms, shops to sell souvenirs, restaurant, telephone booths and a toilet block.
“It is part of the scheme to provide all amenities to tourists arriving in the State. Administrative sanction has been given for the facilitation project. The proposed building of the centre would be constructed in traditional Kerala style of architecture,” the official said.
The authorities are of the view that the facilitation centre would come in handy for tourists proceeding from the State capital to Kanyakumari and those entering the State after visiting the southernmost tip of the peninsula. The pilgrims arriving to Sabarimala make it a point to visit Kanyakumari.
Kerala Tourism is also trying to cash in on the heavy influx of tourists.
Besides the meeting point of the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, Kanyakumari is a famous tourist spot. Padmanabhapuram Palace en route to Kanyakumari is a well preserved wooden palace, a glorious testimony to the traditional Kerala school of architecture.
Architect Sankar of the Habitat Group has designed the building and the work has already been entrusted to the State-owned SIDCO after completing the bidding process. The running of the facilitation centre and other modalities will be worked out later, he added.
S. Anil Radhakrishnan