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AARDE Foundation

Art & Architecture Research Development & Education Foundation

Cotton Route is considered to be the oldest and largest among all the trade routes. The route was connecting all large ports on the earth from Egypt to India to Mexico. The sea connection was established to trade cotton for gold and spices. The cotton was grown in the tropical and particularly in delta or estuarine regions of the world. Our action to revive Cotton Route is to bring back the ecology associated with the cotton route. The traditional-cotton of every region was sustaining the farmers and weavers for centuries. There was a strong inseparable bond between nature-culture. However, the introduction of scientifically modified cotton-seeds in last five decades delinked the nature-culture linkages. The delink made us distance ourselves from water bodies and wetlands which triggered climate-change. The climate does change, however not in short-span of time. The invisible change occurs slowly through million years, the current scenario is alarming. The change is visible and fast. The climate-change is the biggest threat.

altOur traditional system of keeping the balance between nature and lifestyle was altered by the last one hundred years of modern lifestyle. Our association with micro-climate was separated. Our fast-paced lifestyle is leading us into systematic erosion of our nature. However, we all will agree without our nature our life on this planet cannot sustain. Let us work together to revive the nature which was giving us all the life support system. Our microclimate of Coromandel Coast was unique. The only coast in India to depend on Northeast Monsoon. The monsoon which brings rain to the states Tamilnadu and part of coastal Andhra Pradesh during the month of October to December. 

The major part of the Coromandel Coast falls under Tropical Dry Evergreen vegetation with wetlands ecosystem. However, 95% of its characteristics that are flora and fauna have vanished during the last one century. The loss is due to the change in lifestyle and disassociation ourselves from nature. Looking back to our past we realize that cities across the region have been carved out, both technologically and legally, from the amphibious territories that we called swamp, fens, bogs and marshes. Today these watery spaces threaten to claim back our cities. These amphibious territories are warning us that cities are spaces where we have cultivated a dry culture of living, building and design by initially draining the swamps to create habitable lands for people. The Colonials from the Temperate climatic region had brought non-contextual planning and design methods to our region, ignoring local, tropical vernacular principles. This lack of vernacular-thinking in our system is overtaking our cities and towns during occurrences of floods or other natural calamities every year. 

altOur action to revive Cotton Route needs your support - Join us by contributing your love towards nature. The Friends of Coromandel Waterbodies / Wetlands will map the existing and lost waterbodies. Your support of identifying the waterbody in your area/native with its history, photos and old-maps will create an awareness for conservation. You may join us by filling this form.  


- Xavie
r Benedict. 2018, Cultural landscape of Pulicat Lagoon, DRONHA, ISBN: 978-81-7305-600-0; Context, Vol. XIII

Map of Chennai & its Surrounding in 1797CE