The tourism board of Kerala is launching the Malanad-Malabar River Cruise project next week.

The projects aim to highlight the waterways in the northern districts of Kannur and Kasaragod. In addition, the project will also showcase the Malabar region’s culture, rich with local legends and folk arts.

The inaugural cruise boat will enter the waters on February 15.  The first service will be on the route linking Parassinikkadavu and Pazhayangadi.

The cruise project is being carried out along the rivers of Mayyazhi, Valapattanam, Ancharakkandi, Kuppam, Perumba, Kavvayi, Thejaswini, and Chandragiri rivers besides the sprawling Valiyaparamaba backwaters.

Thematic cruises will also be arranged. These include Malabari cuisine, birds and agriculture (along the Valapattanam river), the Mangrove cruise (Kuppam), music cruise (Perumba), handloom and handicraft cruise (Kavvayi and Valiyaparamba), water sports and river boating cruise (Thejaswini), model responsible village cruise (Valiyaparamba) and Yakshagana cruise (Chandragiri).

The endeavour envisages 48 boat terminals and jetties along seven rivers across the districts of Kannur and Kasaragod. The work on two terminals is over.

Kerala tourism will operate the boats, six of which are being manufactured, in the first phase, by the Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation.

Work has been completed for the boat terminals at Parassinikkadavu and Pazhayangadi in Kannur district.

“Both the government and private parties would run the cruises. As for the rest of the project, 90 per cent of the work on the terminals and jetties is complete,” stated Rani George, principal secretary, Kerala Tourism.

Local communities will also participate in this project. Elaborating on this, tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran said, “It guarantees a better livelihood to the people around,” said. “They include the fisher folk, farmers, drivers of cabs and auto-rickshaws, handicraft workers, and handloom labourers.”