Ah! for the thought of the rain in summer! The river, lake, pond and the sea are water resources too, but what can compare with the abundance from above that arrives at its own will to cool the earth and the creatures therein?
Though known for fierce summers, India can boast of being unique in having a season devoted to the rains. The country prepares for the monsoon and with the right measure of rain, all life is made beautiful.
Up the hills of Wayanad in the Western Ghats, Kerala, was born a rain festival timed with the monsoons. The festival is just about a year old, and July marks the first anniversary. Wayanad would play host to rain-loving travellers from across the globe, who would congregate in the woody settings of the wild to draw inspiration from the rains.
The monsoon festival named “Splaash” is a nine-day extravaganza replete with activities. When the rain falls, farmers rejoice and paddy fields turn slushy. Would you imagine a football match on a turf like that? “Splaash” promises you such a cool game. Mud football is just one of the many outdoor activities. Then there is kambukayattam (climbing a slippery pole), uriyadikkal (breaking clay pots), Njaru nadal (paddy transplanting), biking, rafting and crab catching. Those fond of the indoors could settle down for nadan pattu, theyyam and kathakali. A food court and stalls selling handicraft and spices would also feature at the festival.
Promoted as a “carnival” introduced by the Wayanad Tourism Organisation (WTO), “Splaash” is being organised with the support of Kerala Tourism and District Tourism Promotion Council. The WTO team, however, says that for them “the dream is yet to be accomplished”.
Increasing pollution which also means littering of plastic waste at tourist spots is the biggest threat to an “eco-destination”, they say. Government departments must co-ordinate with the tourism sector to tackle this.
The festival of colours, Holi, comes close to being called a water festival in India. It is similar to the Burmese Thingyan when people splash water on one another as a sign of goodwill. So too would “Splaash” be an event that brings people together to appreciate nature's benevolence.