Exotic Wayanad Tribal Earrings Conjure up Curiosity at KTM

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KOCHI:
A good 250 km down the Wayanad, the coastal city of Kochi saw a unique ornamental piece of the tribals of the northeast Kerala hills, presented as an exotic souvenir at the ongoing Kerala Travel Mart (KTM).
Choothumani kammal, which is a pair of reddish earrings made of the rosary pea called kunnimani in Malayalam, is a highlight of Wayanad’s ethnic trinkets that have been in vogue for centuries among its Adivasi community. Far removed from its native rugged terrain, cosmopolitan Kochi turned out to be a venue for the bright-red earrings at the four-day KTM-2018 that aims at the promotion of the state’s tourism.
Kerala Tourism Secretary Rani George released a pair of Choothumani kammal, brought from scenic Ambalavayal where the tribal people are being trained in making such objects of heritage value. The earrings, made from locally procured rosary peas (abrus), were a sample of the Choothumani kammal pairs made by 43 trainees at Ambalakunnu village for four days recently.
The earrings are being exhibited and sold at the KTM that concludes on Sunday.
“This is another of our attempt under Responsible Tourism to mainstream objects that are generally considered marginalised,” George said, releasing the earrings at the KTM venue in Willingdon Island. “It negates the typical belief that good old tribal ways of life are fast vanishing in Kerala.”
Rupeshkumar K, who is coordinator of the RT Mission under Kerala Tourism, said the choothumani kammal earrings will also act as a means of financial income for the tribals of Wayanad
Present at the KTM function was RT Ambalavayal coordinator R T Sareesh.

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