The residents of Fort Kochi have truly shown the spirit of the country’s hospitality “Atithi Devo Bhava” (Guest is God) when they looked after a Russian tourist who lost his money and was found roaming the streets without food and shelter.
Currently, staying in the house of a local resident at Fort Kochi, Rivkatovich Salavat, 32, will fly back to Russia on March 3 after the Kerala government intervened and raised his situation with the Union Ministry.
Fort Kochi is the most important heritage tourist destination in Kerala which is visited by thousands of tourists from across the world every year. Fort Kochi Councillor Antony Kureethara said they have arranged for accommodation and food for the Russian tourist. “He is currently staying with a family who agreed to accommodate him. We came to know about his plight after a few auto drivers told us that he lost his money and stayed in Fort Kochi with the support of locals,” he said.
Rivkatovich Salavat has been depending on the kindness of the people of Fort Kochi, mainly shopkeepers and auto-rickshaw drivers, for food and accommodation for the last 20 days. “He has been eating food donated by hotel owners until we came to know about his situation. Now we have taken proper care of him,” Antony Kureethara added.
As he has valid travel documents including passport and visa, the authorities contacted the Russian Embassy which has now made arrangements for his return to Russia.
Tourism Minister P A Mohammed Riyas also appreciated the kind hearted people of Fort Kochi for taking care of the Russian tourist. In a Facebook post, the Minister said Salavat, who sought refuge in a nearby park, was initially helped by local residents of Fort Kochi. Special appreciation should be given to the hotel owner who provided free food to Salavat every day.
“Special appreciation goes to the people of Kochi, the people’s representatives, who provided necessary assistance to Salavat, Ernakulam district administration and police, who provided protection to Salavat on the request of the tourism department,” he said.