Kozhikode: Heritage walk visits hitherto unknown sites

KOZHIKODE: Seventy heritage enthusiasts, ranging from 10-year-olds to 75-year-olds, took part in a heritage walk along the beach on Saturday. The participants included professors, doctors, bankers, government officials, army officers, architects, journalists, hoteliers, tour operators, businessmen, teachers and students. They visited important heritage structures like North Pier, Lighthouse, Buddha Vihara, Connolly Park, Mother of God Church, Anglo Indian School and old Telegraph office.

The walk was led by Captain Ramesh Babu, project director, National Institute for Research and Development in Defence Shipbuilding (NIRDESH).  He narrated the history of each of the heritage structures, spiced up with interesting anecdotes. The walkers were surprised to see the only surviving French Villa in Kozhikode, the Gujarati house where Gandhiji stayed when he visited the city in 1920 and the old French Consulate.   The walkers had a unique experience of visiting the only Buddha Vihara in Kozhikode with books written in Pali, where the present occupant Padmanabhan talked to them on Buddhism.

Father M.H. Antony of Mother of God Church talked to them about history of the church built in 1596 and conducted them through the prayer hall. A Sindhi banker, Jyothikumar Ahuja took them to the Sindhi temple and showed them the Gurugrandh Sahib, the holy book of Jains and Sikhs. Vijay Negandhi and Vallabhdastalked to them about the Gujaratis of Calicut who came here before the Europeans for trade. Dr.Mehul Mahesh told them about the Marwari community that included the Birlas who built Gwalior Rayon at Mavoor.  Two Anglo-Indians,Elexton Lopez and Nigel Mendoza took part in the walk and talked about Anglo-Indians in Calicut.

Adv. Seluraj T.B., author of two books on the city's heritage, who has extensively studied the archives of Malabar District enlightened the walkers with information on the contributions made by dedicated collectors like H.V. Conolly and F.B. Evans. This walk was a joint social initiative of NIRDESH and IIM, Kozhikode, who have decided to conduct regular heritage walks in the city. The walk, sponsored by Canara Bank was flagged off by Regional manager C Ravindranathan.

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