Tourism Department organises harvest festival at Pudupatti

Foreign tourists danced their way to Pudupatti near Alanganallur here on the occasion of Mattu Pongal on Wednesday.

Around 250 international tourists availed the opportunity to celebrate the harvest festival with the villagers, as a part of the programme organised by Tamil Nadu Tourism Department.

The visitors were accorded a traditional reception of ‘melams, chrysanthemum garlands and aarthi.’

Walking through the narrow streets of the village, the foreign tourists took photographs of the houses, women tending to the cattle which were festooned for ‘Maattu Pongal.’

Women and children sporting newly bought dresses assembled in front of their houses to greet the Sari and dhoti-clad foreigners.

They shook hands with the visitors and wished them happy pongal.

Guided by the villagers, the tourists also prepared sweet pongal in brightly-painted earthen pots.

Later, they gathered at the centre of the village, where they were treated to some enchanting display of rural folk arts and martial arts such as Thappatam, Karagattam Kavadiattam, Poi kal kuthirai’ and ‘silambam.’

Other performances using knives and ropes of fire took the audience’s breath away.

Terming the performance as “very good,” Paul (47) of France said that this festival provided an insight into the rural India and its culture.

The foreigners danced to the drum beat amid loud applause from the villagers. Some of them also tried their hand at playing the parai (drum).

The precision of their movements which synchronised with the background beats was really amazing, said Hidenori, a student from Kamakura, Japan.

The visitors posed for photographs with the locals, particularly with the children who bonded very well with them.

Traditional goat fight was also organised for the foreigners.

Interesting culture

“It is an interesting culture. I never get to see things like these back in the U.S.,” said Olen, a student from the United States of America.

T. Gunasekaran, Tourist Officer (In-Charge), Madurai said that a lot of care was taken in organising the arrangements to ensure the foreigners had a memorable experience.

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