This digital initiative is mapping India’s ancient seaports and maritime trade heritage

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This digital initiative is mapping India’s ancient seaports and maritime trade heritage

Sahapedia is an initiative towards digitisation and research on the traditional art forms of India. It will also document the ancient maritime trade which flourished in Peninsular India, and resulted in cross-cultural exchanges.

The online interactive resource on the country’s art and culture will carry out extensive research on the subject that had a phenomenal impact on the tangible and intangible heritage of the region before documenting it. The documentation, which will be done at places ranging from Fort Kochi, Mattancherry Muziris/Kodungalloor, Kollam and Kozhikode in Kerala to Tamil Nadu and other parts of India, aims to unearth information, layer by layer, it said.

It will be a resource created by a team of researchers in collaboration with experts and institutions, and a platform for registered users from all over the world to contribute content on areas pertaining to their interests. “We work with scholars and collaborate with institutions, both in India and abroad, for material in the form of articles, images, video interviews and documentaries,” said Sahapedia executive director Dr Sudha Gopalakrishnan.

Sahapedia has also culturally mapped Fort Kochi and Mattancherry, and is now in the process of doing the same with Muziris, an ancient seaport and flourishing urban centre on the Malabar coast that was key to India’s sea trade with the West in ancient times. The mapping project in Kochi will delve deeper involving communities of ancient beginnings.

As a part of the objective to encourage engagement with Indian heritage and culture and to foster knowledge, Sahapedia started organising Abhimukham evenings, comprising a series of talks by scholars as well as artists on their respective areas of research and interest in Kochi once a month.

The idea is to create a space for an informal, yet informed discussion between the speaker and the audience. Heritage Walks are being held every month at various heritage sites such as Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, Tripunithura and Muziris. Heritage Walks for less privileged schools are conducted in collaboration with the NGO, The Art Outreach Society (TAOS).

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