MANGALAGIRI: Railway stations across the country are a boring and dull sight. Right? Wrong. Travellers alighting at the railway station here would be welcome to a visual treat of Kalamkari art adorning the walls. The ancient and unique style of hand painting has been used to depict popular tales from Mahabharatha, Dasaavathaaram and the fables of Lord Vishnu in fine craftsmanship. This station near the upcoming capital Amaravati, is also in for a major face lift with several new passenger amenities like high level platforms, increased car parking and direct passenger access from the highway, and rest rooms.
The novel initiative is an outcome of a unique partnership between the South Central Railway and the Andhra Pradesh (AP) Tourism and Cultural Department.
“We want to showcase the unique Kalamkari art form which makes a great visual appeal in our railway station at Mangalagiri, a town growing in prominence as a tourist centre and is also witnessing tremendous development after bifurcation of AP,” Divisional Railway Manager, Guntur, V.G. Bhooma said. She appreciated the efforts of AP Tourism Department in roping artistes from different parts of the state.
The station would be given a complete face lift with elevated platforms, parks at the entrance, a ticket vending machine etc. The entire stretch of road leading to the station is being laid with a divider, she added.
Chairman of AP Tourism Jayarami Reddy said that Mangalagiri was the birthplace of Kalamkari art and artists from this region had moved to various parts of the state.
Director, Tourism, Himanshu Shukla said that the Tourism department had taken up several initiatives to popularize the unique forms of art in AP like reviving the dying art of Kalamkari by painting the walls in common spaces and government buildings.
The department would further work with the Railways in promoting tourism. It is working with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Development Corporation (IRCTC) over proposals to introduce spiritual tourism packages from Amaravati region to Tirupati and Nandyal towns. The SCR, Guntur Division, will also have coaches painted with Kalamkari art in a bid to popularize the ancient art form.