Kerala

Forest museum on Nelliampathy

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Proposal to covert colonial structure at Nenmara as museum

A forest museum explaining the ecological importance and rich biodiversity of Nelliampathy Hills would be a reality soon if the State government approves the proposal to use a century-old wooden colonial structure at Nenmara for the purpose.

At present housing the Nelliampathy forest range office in the heart of Nenmara town, the building would be emptied soon as a multi-storeyed new building for the range office is nearing completion near the Pothundi dam.

Recorded history

“We hope the government would approve our request to convert the building to a forest museum. Once converted, it would be a great repository of forest-related knowledge, not just for visitors to Nelliampathy and the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve but also for researchers,” said range officer B. Ranjith. “Nelliampathy has a recorded history. The then princely State of Cochin was always concerned about the safekeeping of all documents related to land transactions and forest management in the region. We have already sourced some crucial documents detailing the history and environmental importance of the hills. They, along with written narratives of then British planters and conservationists, would be a great asset for the forest museum,” he said. Photographs taken during the colonial period and after Independence would be displayed along with rare exhibits collected from the forests. The participatory forest management in Parambikulam, which won worldwide attention by involving tribespeople, also would be showcased in the museum.

The colonial structure built in 1911 has four spacious rooms on two floors. Its foundation is also remaining solid. It was used for long as a guest house.

“The area has a rich forest management history. The Pothundi forest range came into existence in 1838 signifying the importance the rulers attached to the region. The Nelliampathy division was formed in 1910. Now Nenmara has turned into a separate forest division,’’ said Mr. Ranjith adding that all these transformations would be visually exhibited at the proposed museum.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 6:15:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/forest-museum-on-nelliampathy/article7816633.ece

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