Monthly Archives: September 2016

Tapping the Unseen- Going beyond packaged Tourism in Kerala With Dr. Navina Jafa www.navinajafa.com 18TH  – 26TH NOVEMBER ,2017

18th 26th November 2017

It is a challenge to curate a holistic touristic experience which connects a viewer to be a part of responsible tourism though comprehending traditional skill development, address conserving ecosystems of cultural and natural environments. The challenge is going beyond packaged tourism. The forthcoming tour on Kerala is an example of such a program.

The curated program by Dr. Navina Jafa will incorporate the usual elements of a packaged tour like Back Waters, Ayurvedic Massage, experiences of the best places to stay, travel and food to eat. But, with an effort of more than 6 months comprising of in-depth research innovative experiences have been developed which are defined by community participation, live workshops, and demonstrations and intensely researched multilayered narratives.

For example, the experiences of the backwaters incorporates visit to villages bringing in to view and understand history, legends, rituals and festivals associated with traditional skills such as the tradition of Snake backwater boats, folk dances, cuisine and much more.

snake-boats

 The other out of the box 9 experiences will be both advocacies as well as elements for promoting sustainable responsible tourism include – 

  1. Heritage of Syrian Christianity of Apostle St. Thomas, a shared heritage between the Dutch and Portuguese in India.

syrian-christians-nazrani

2. Heritage of Martial Arts from Kerala to China, Japan and other areas of Far East

kalari

3. The Fabulous Account of Trade on Indian Ocean – The ancient port of Muziris. Reference to trade with the Romans, Arabs, and other Western Communities creates a fascinating program on this archeological location .

 

muziris

ancient-port-city-on-indian-ocean

4. Athirathram the 3,000 year old Vedic Ritual to address air pollution, conducted once in 12 years, by one family in continuity. The scientific alter is created in the shape of the Garuda

athirathram-2 syena-chiti-athirathram-1

athirathram-3

5. Ethnography of Spices, making of the Spice Route on the Indian Ocean

spice-route-indian-ocean

spice-plantation A Stay in the Spice Garden

6. Eco- Tourism and Challenges A Visit to the Perriyar Wild Life Sanctuary :

perriyar

otters

7. Visit to a Workshop of ancient Dance Drama Kathakali

kathakali-workshopprocess-of-kathakali-make-up

8. The Ancient tradition of Temple Elephants nuances of rituals and exploitation the experience is titled From Temples to Facebook

elephant

9. Visit to an interiors coastal village which is known for spectacular traditions of Exorcism, a tradition which is undergoing much change in association with the factor of Untouchability. The program will be in tandem with an NGO working in this sector.

theyyam

 

 

 

 

 

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Going Beyond the Exotic Lucknow- Power Expressed as Culture

There is much more to Lucknow than the exotic Culture of Nawabs, The next weekend tour with Dr. Navina Jafa is in Early October write by visiting –www.navinajafa.com . Read on…

special-showing-claude-martin
Viewing of a private Chapel

The challenge in curating heritage presentations involves among other nuance, building narratives which link past with present, scripts that break stereotype defined by deep research. Among the most popular medium are Heritage Walks. ‘The art of exhibiting cultures through Heritage Walks requires a great deal of depth and constant academic work. (For further reading read – Performing Heritage Art of Exhibit Walks by Dr. Navina Jafa). As an example this article looks at Lucknow and various elements that can be addressed and factored in.

Lucknow better known as the city in the region of Awadh, was established under a family of Shia rulers as a successor state of the Mughals. The exotic and the grandeur of the Mughals infected the Nawabs of Awadh, which lent itself in an array of cultural expressions. Lifestyles, language, mannerisms, festivities, cuisine, architecture and much else. For the colonial rulers the exotic syndrome of the Nawabs made a writer call it ‘The Orchid House’. Unfortunately the overwhelming syndrome of the exotica of the Nawabs limits the manner Lucknow is presented as a tourist destination or experience. The stereotype tourism is limited to the frozen hyperbolic memories of the Nawabi culture captured in phrases such as evenings of Awadh, or Golden City of India.

noor-jahan-in-jahangirabad
Portrait Mughal Empress – Noorjahan – Private collection

The challenge in curating heritage presentations involves among other nuance, building narratives which link past with present, scripts that break stereotype defined by deep research. Among the most popular medium are Heritage Walks. ‘The art of exhibiting cultures through Heritage Walks requires a great deal of depth and constant academic work. (For further reading read – Performing Heritage Art of Exhibit Walks by Dr. Navina Jafa). As an example this article looks at Lucknow and various elements that can be addressed and factored in.

Lucknow better known as the city in the region of Awadh, was established under a family of Shia rulers as a successor state of the Mughals. The exotic and the grandeur of the Mughals infected the Nawabs of Awadh, which lent itself in an array of cultural expressions. Lifestyles, language, mannerisms, festivities, cuisine, architecture and much else. For the colonial rulers the exotic syndrome of the Nawabs made a writer call it ‘The Orchid House’. Unfortunately the overwhelming syndrome of the exotica of the Nawabs limits the manner Lucknow is presented as a tourist destination or experience. The stereotype tourism is limited to the frozen hyperbolic memories of the Nawabi culture captured in phrases such as evenings of Awadh, or Golden City of India.

Other factors that remain elusive are events related to the National Struggle such as the expression resistance in form of a Kite Competition, or idiosyncrasies of European inhabitants such as the manner of how a particular European engaged himself with Hot Balloons and puppet theatre. While the visit to the Residency creates the image of the suffering of the British, there is very little evidence from the point of view of Indians who revolted in 1857. Such as the fascinating content expressed in the literary heritage of Hindi literary figure Amrit Lal Nagar or the lost letters of the courageous Begum Hazrat Mahal the dancing girl who led the revolt against the British or stories of  common people like barbers, and horse carriages.

ites-lucknow       gadar-ke-phool   amrit-lal-nagarAmrit Lal Nagar

While, one visits the Shia monuments – Imambaras, there is little comprehension about fascinating narratives on incidents, lives of people or lived rituals and observances related to Muharram. Similarly, while the traditional knowledge skills of Chikan embroidery and cuisine is showcased, there is little reference to the art of calligraphy, of culture of music or the unlined, complex and multilayered histories associated with  Tawaifs or cultures of Anglo Indians and other communities such as Kashmiris. Last but not the least, is the now phenomenal but intriguing assertion of the Heritage Parks of the Dalits that coexist with the grand buildings of the Nawabs as representation of the idea of Power and representation. Yes, Lucknow is much, much more than the stereotype world of the Exotic Nawabs.