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Vastu centre earns its keep

G.K. Nair

KOCHI, Jan. 31

THE Vastu Vidhya Gurukulam, an educational and research establishment of vastu, the traditional science of architecture, and mural paintings has become the first such institution in Kerala to become self-sufficient, besides being the one to set up a pension gratuity fund for its employees using surplus funds.

Speaking to Business Line, Mr P.N. Suresh, Executive Director of the institutions which is under the State Department of Culture, said that 300 students have taken up various courses.

Besides, there is a consultancy wing that is engaged in identifying sites for building residential houses and making sketches and designs.

Thus, the annual revenue at the current rates from tuition fees and the income from preparing estimates, designs, etc., comes to Rs 15-20 lakh.

The establishment cost works out to around Rs 10 lakh per annum, leaving a surplus of over Rs 5 lakh which is being utilised for developmental activities.

"This is probably the first such public sector institution in the South to have set up a pension gratuity fund for its employees from its own resources. The significant part is that the Gurukulam is not an industrial unit."

Besides, the students - mostly civil engineers - are assigned to do a project as part of the curriculum under which they have to do documentation of traditional architectural edifices in the State.

All these works are compiled and once completed, would become a valuable document for the students as well as the architectural history of the State.

In five years, the Gurukulam is expected to complete the documentation of all the traditional architecturally important buildings that were built in the past according to vastu in the State, he added.

Mr Suresh also said that it has become the first institution conducting courses in vastu in India which are recognised by Universities.

The syllabi for the courses are prepared on the basis of the chapters in the ancient scriptures on vastu.

It has also introduced correspondence courses, for which 165 students have signed up.

The Gurukulam conducts four academic courses.

Besides, it has a consultancy wing and departments for mural painting, publication and documentation.

The entire establishment is run by14 staff members, 10 of them being technical experts.

The mural art gallery attracts a number of tourists, and some of the paintings found buyers.

Thus, the gallery is also slowly becoming a source of income for the institution.

"The Gurukulam could also provide training to artists in mural paintings in the future."

The Gurukulam was set up on the banks of the Pampa river at Aranmula in Pathanamthitta district in November 1993.

The main objective of setting up the establishment was to conserve and propagate the traditional architectural science which is part of the Atharva Veda, and related subjects.

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