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The Cheraman Islamic History Museum set up on the premises of the Cheraman Juma Masjid in Kodungallur is the site of the latest Muziris Heritage Project (MHP).
The project has digitised over one lakh documents related to the history of Islam in Kerala, and has thrown up several fascinating bits and pieces about the state's legacy.
According to a legend, the Cheraman Juma Masjid was built in 629 AD, making it the first mosque in the country that is still in use.
Muziris Heritage project is taking up the conservation of Cheraman Masjid, the oldest mosque in India. Sri @pinaraivijayan, the @CMOKerala is going to inaugurate the conservation works next month. pic.twitter.com/lF39bOh4vm— Muziris Heritage Project (@MuzirisProject) September 15, 2019
MHP managing director P.M. Nowshad said that the documents were indexed, preserved and digitised to preserve the history of Kerala for future generations.
The documents were sourced mostly from archives, mosque libraries and private collections, and can be viewed by visitors through a kiosk. A web-based automated catalogue is also available for the paper, audio, video and sound collections of the digital archives.
The digitised documents found mainly in four languages— Arabic, Persian, Malayalam and Arabic-Malayalam have been linked to trans-regional trade along with the cultural and religious activities of Muslims in Kerala. They give insights into travel, maritime trade, technology transfer, trans-regional networks of traders and scholars. Additionally, they shed light on the exchange of cultures and settlements of the Arab diaspora on the south-western coast of India.
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Nowshad said that Muslim cuisine, Islamic architecture, Muslim art forms, rituals, customs and events have been documented in an audio-visual format.
Rare photographs of early migrants from the Malabar region to Gulf countries and present-day Sri Lanka have also been preserved. The digital archives at the Cheraman Museum will be officially launched after consulting the government.
MHP is working towards conserving documents related to Hindu and Christian communities in Kerala at the Kodungallur Temple. Similarly, a Christian Lifestyle Museum is also being worked on.
So far, the MHP has worked on eight museums including those at synagogues in North Paravoor and Chendamangalam, Kerala Lifestyle Museum at Paliam Nalukettu, and the Muziris sites in Ernakulam and Thrissur districts.
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