The Wanted Land

Discussion Hortus Malabaricus

Today marked the first time since 333 years that a diverse interest group gathered to discuss the importance of the Hortus Malabaricus in anno 2012. Padmini Krishnan, curator of David Hall introduced Mariƫlle van Miltenburg, Head of the Department of Political Affairs and Public Diplomacy of the Netherlands Embassy in New Delhi who officially opened the exhibition with a speech about the manifold meanings of the title, The Wanted Land. Speakers included Jose Dominic, one of the directors of CGH who contextualised the event with a brief talk about the possibility that this very building, David Hall, might be the exact location where the Hortus Malabaricus was produced under the direction and organisation of Hendrik van Reede tot Drakenstein. Former Mayor and presently Convenor, INTACH- Kerala State Chapter Mr Sohan, is an expert on cultural heritage and used specific maps to show exactly where the Dutch buildings once stood. He also emphasised the importance of the contemporary value of the Hortus Malabaricus by discussing how traditional knowledge is kept alive by Mr Mahesh, from the NGO Tapovanam, who provided 120 plants for the exhibition. Mr Mahesh travels in and around Fort Cochin, Vypeen and vicinity lecturing about the medicinal uses of the plants and encouraging the use of urban gardening with indigenous plants. Ajeeth Janardhanan is the executive chef at Brunton Boatyard and made special appetizers for the event with beetle nut and a spectacular mix of fresh fruit for the welcoming drink.


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