Thiruvananthapuram: If you are in Thiruvananthapuram, you will not miss the earthly scent of your land anymore. The state capital has added to its list of museums a storehouse of soil from all the districts of Kerala.
The first soil museum in India is put together by the state soil survey and soil conservation department. Soil samples from all terrains in Kerala are on display in the Kerala Soil Museum at Parottukonam near Kesavadasapuram. The items outnumber the exhibits of the World Soil Museum at Wageningen in the Netherlands.
The exhibits have been classified into separate series depending on their natural properties. The most prevalent or relevant among these series are highlighted as benchmark samples.
The benchmarks have been identified on the basis of internationally accepted conventions formed by the US agriculture department. There are 82 benchmarks from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram.
The soils in Kerala have been broadly categorised into eight groups.
The museum offers visitors a chance to understand the nature of soil in each area, their scientific names, fertility and modes of conservation. Samples of rocks and minerals are also on display. The museum has been attracting a steady flow of students, researchers, farmers and nature enthusiasts. They can also browse through authoritative works on soil in the museum information centre.
The museum is an effort to pass on information about soil and water and the means of their conservation to future generations, said soil survey department assistant director Anil M Joseph.
The museum also contains working models of watersheds and important conservation methods. Models of mud bunds, stone bunds, streams and check dams are on display.
Visitors can view soil maps, water maps and mineral maps from all 14 districts.