India wins UNESCO Award for conserving Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple in Kerala

India has won the UNESCO prize ‘Award of Excellence’ 2015 for the conservation efforts of the Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple in Kerala.

The top award was given in the Asia Pacific Heritage Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

This award recognises the conservation effort of sacred sites and its tangible attributes with conservation techniques emphasising on architecture and construction. These scared sites employ age-old rituals and conservation techniques drawn from vastu shastra focusing on construction and architecture.

It should be noted that, UNESCO’s “Award of Merit” in Heritage Award was bestowed upon 150-year-old Sino-Portuguese former residence of a Thai aristocrat, which now has been converted into a local museum and historic inn.

About Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple

  • It is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in Thrissur district of Kerala.
  • It has monumental towers on all four sides and also has a Kuttambalam displaying vignettes carved in wood.
  • It is a classic example of the architectural style of Kerala and has Mural paintings depicting various episodes from Mahabharata.
  • The temple along with its mural paintings has been declared as a National Monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.


Biggest harvest festival Thiru Onam celebrated in Kerala

Biggest harvest festival of Thiru Onam was celebrated by Keralites across the globe.

Various cultural and religious programmes were organized throughout southern state of Kerala to celebrate the Onam.

The festival falls during the Malayalam month of Chingam (August- September). It is reminiscent of Kerala’s agrarian past and is considered to be a harvest festival. It is also the state festival of Kerala.

Celebration Traditions

  • The festival marks the commemoration of Vamana avatara of Lord Vishnu and the subsequent homecoming of the mythical King Maha Bali and his prosperous rule.
  • The celebrations start with Onam Pookkalam, in which the floral carpets are laid on the floors early in the morning.
  • Poojas are performed at temples across the state including at the hill shrine of Sabari Mala, Guruvayur and Thrikkakara, believed to be the capital of King Maha Bali.
  • Traditional feast known as Onam Sadya is served on plantain (banana) leaves with rice and variety of curries along with sweet called payasam.


Chengalikodan Banana from Kerala accorded GI status

Chengalikodan banana variety from Thrissur district of Kerala has been accorded Geographical Indication (GI) status by the Chennai based Central GI registry.

This banana variant is uniquely grown in Chowannur, Pazhayannur, Wadakkanchery, Puzhakkal and Ollukkara block panchayats in Thrissur district of Kerala.

Chengalikodan banana is known for its unique shape, size, colour and taste. It was cultivated in erstwhile Chengazhikode from where it got its name as Chengazhikodan banana which was later changed as Chengalikodan banana.

Other GI status products from Kerala

Vazhakkulam pineapple, Central Travancore jaggery, Pokkali rice, Palakkadan matta rice, Wayanadan scented rice varieties Jeerakasala and Gandhakasala are other agricultural products from Kerala already having GI status.

About Geographical Indication (GI) status

  • Geographical Indication is an insignia on products having a unique geographical origin and evolution over centuries. These products have special quality or reputation attributable to its geographical origin.
  • In India, GI registration is governed by the Geographical Indications of goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.
  • Advantages: GI status confers legal protection to these products and prevents unauthorised use of it by others. It promotes economic prosperity of producers of goods and also helps consumers get quality products of desired traits.
  • Darjeeling tea was the first agricultural product in India to be accorded with GI tag. Presently, there are nearly 200 unique products registered as GIs in India.