April 21, 2017
 
Kerala Folklore Theatre and Museum in Thevara, Cochin

Kerala Folklore Theatre and Museum in Thevara, Cochin, founded by Mr. George Thaliath, stands as an example of one man’s painstaking attempt to preserve the traditional art and cultural values of Kerala.
Anju Anna Alex

Kerala Folklore Theatre is a memoir, a strange kind of time capsule of sorts; beautiful and nostalgic. It was opened to the public in 2009. It was set up in the year 2009 as a non-profit organisation to educate visitors with the rich heritage of Kerala. It is as much of an architectural marvel, with over 30,000 sq feet of wooden carvings that combine the Cochin, Malabar and Travancore architectural styles. Each nook and corner of the museum is reminiscent of times gone by, where the labyrinth of history lingers through eternity. It is a manifestation of a man’s passion and zeal to be known as a custodian of tradition and history, to be a safe keeper of stories told and untold. The museum showcases the rich heritage of Kerala through art, traditional dance forms, architecture and performing arts. George Thaliath, along with his wife Annie George and their two children are also the custodians of this historic masterpiece. It was constructed by 62 skilled workers over a period of 7 years. These artifacts have been collected from the states of Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Himachal Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Assam, Nagaland etc. and is an expression of authentic culture and lifestyle.

The decision to start a museum
It was born out of sheer curiosity for tribal art, respect for history, tradition, art, culture and rituals. I wanted to leave something behind for eternity. It is an embodiment of years of sacrifice, efforts, thoughts and memories. It is my humble attempt to preserve a bit of myself through art for posterity. These relics have been collected over a period of 35 years. Collecting these is just one aspect of the same. Restoring it and bringing it back to life is a difficult process and is an exorbitant affair. It involves a lot of research and is about giving a makeover to long lost tribal art forms as well as cultural expressions. On a broader context, the museum is all about embracing our roots and true identity.

Marketing and Promotional Activities
We have grown this far, owing to word of mouth publicity alone. There has been an increase in enthusiasm and growing curiosity among Indians to learn history through artefacts and other forms of art. But the fame of the museum has managed to transcend borders and nations. We have a lot of visitors from Europe and United States with a deep appreciation for arts, especially tribal arts.

Brand Kerala
Marketing and promotional activities should incorporate strategies to restore the lost virtues embedded in our customs, traditions, etiquette and moral values. There is a dire need to uncover the goodness that is inherent to our culture and to promote authentic cultural tourism.
Kerala has a very rich heritage. The need of the hour is to preserve what we are blessed with. We also need to reclaim our authentic cultural history and traditions which are on the verge of extinction. At the same time, we need to work on improving connectivity and infrastructure.

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