India’s largest iconic cultural center set to open in March 2020 in Calicut

Markaz Knowledge City, dubbed as India’s biggest iconic cultural center, is fast getting ready for its groundbreaking inauguration slated for March 2020. A galaxy of world leaders, renowned scholars, academics, and business leaders will attend the grand opening ceremony, according to the Center’s Managing Director Dr. Abdul Hakim Azhari.

Sprawling over 125 acres of lush green land, the integrated township is predominantly an expatriate project, with an investment of around Rs30 billion and it opens up a plethora of investment opportunities for expatriates. The city is a dream project of the Calicut-based Markaz Al Saqafat Al Sunniya, headed by a renowned Islamic scholar Sheikh Aboobacker Ahmed, who is also general secretary of the All India Sunni Jamiyyathul Ulama and chairman of the city.

Azhari said that Markaz Knowledge City (MKC), located at Kaithapoyil, 40 km from Calicut City, adjacent to the Calicut-Bangalore National Highway in the south Indian state of Kerala, will be a major boost in further bolstering the centuries-old cultural ties between India and Arabia that date back to pre-Islamic period. “The visit of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman to India and inking of bilateral pacts in key sectors earlier this year was instrumental in bringing about more productive outcome in the business and educational sectors,” he said adding that MKC will be the largest center for the exchange and marketing of culture in the country.

Speaking to Saudi Gazette, Dr. Abdul Salam Muhammed, CEO of the city, said that the city is conceived as an integrated township providing infrastructure for high class academic institutions as well as for residential, commercial, hospitality, health, recreational and leisure facilities aimed to promote as a center of international excellence. “As an integrated township for learning, living and leisure, the city contains over a dozen projects in educational, commercial, health and cultural sectors that mainly focused to bring out the developmental potential of the country with establishing world class human capital and infrastructure. The core principle of the city is to use knowledge for the betterment of humanity in the present world where knowledge is being largely misused and exploited by people with greed to earn money by whatever means possible,” he said.

Abdul Salam said the city will be a change setter in the educational field with identifying children’s intelligence and talent and support them to develop it with full potential by making available of all the highly advanced facilities in an ideal eco-friendly environment. “The city campus is a self-sustained educational hub providing world class education from pre-school level to post graduate courses. It caters to provide education in diverse fields like engineering, medicine, graduate courses, law and management. The institutions in knowledge city will have tie ups with international universities and colleges offering quality education.” “The seamless campus comprising of seven blocks with residential facilities for 5,000 students and over 500 faculty members has been conceived as an eco-friendly campus which minimizes the ecological footprint. The city campus would also provide training facilities for various extracurricular, job oriented and personality development activities,” he said.

As part of the first phase of the city, Alif Global School was opened in June this year. The school, run by Alif Educare Group, follows international standard curriculum and syllabus with introducing a new schooling methodology featuring cutting-edge ideas and concepts to the educational landscape of Kerala. The school, with academic collaboration with Excel Soft Technologies, a global edu-tech firm, focuses on value-based education with a thrust on practical skills of the students rather than theories.

Some of the major institutions that are already opened at the city include Unani Medical College, Law College, School of Islamic Studies and Modern sciences, Malaibar Foundation for Research and Development, Ideal Leadership School and Centre for the Studies of Commerce and Management. The other facilities include Tigris Valley wellness Center for traditional Unani medical treatment; International Exhibition Centre, FEZ Inn hotel and hospitality project, Library and Museum.

MKC, a cultural monument, will find a place on the world tourism map for its salient aesthetic features resembling a Mughal monument and its proximity to Wayanad, one of south India’s enchanting hill stations on the Western Ghats, according to Hibathulla and Muhammed Shakeel, directors of Talenmark Developers, which has been assigned to implement the city project. Addressing a function recently in Riyadh, they said that the iconic project is an amalgam of six different architectural styles, mainly Mughal, with a bulbous dome in steel structure that, on completion, would be the biggest of its kind in India. It finds a modern aesthetic expression among the minarets, chhatris (elevated, dome-shaped pavilion) and arches that can accommodate more than 10,000 people.

MKC, which is modeled on knowledge exchange centers of yore, has elements that allow one to leaf through the civilization such as Arabic Souk, a Spiritual Enclave, and Research and Development Centre. The Circular Souk, built in the Arabic marketplace architecture style, comprises of a labyrinth of 150 shops assigned for more than 50 categories of trade, giving visitors a glimpse into different cultures. International Heritage Museum, another attraction, tells the tale of a beautiful past. The world class library is to have a collection of many worthy monographs. The International Event Centre can host various cultural activities and intellectual dialogues, they said.

Those who addressed the Riyadh meeting also included Jaleel Mattul coordinator of MKC Saudi Arabia, Oracle Muhammad, Qamaruzzaman, Luqman Pazhur and Abdussamad Mavoor.

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