The State Tourism Department is making special arrangements for foreign tourists to witness the important events of the Chithirai festival, besides organising special entertainment programmes. The programme schedule and the arrangements being made are being sent to major tourist operators, travel agents and star hotels across the State.

According to officials, a five-day programme has been drawn up for the tourists from Saturday to Wednesday. The tourists can avail themselves of transport and free entry to these events from the Tourism Department office.

The first day will see the tourists enjoy variety entertainment programmes and folk dance by Srirangam Kalaimamani Revathi Muthusamy group, ‘Aasatha Povathu Yaru' group (of Sun TV fame) and Madurai ‘Kuluvai Sattham' at Tamukam Grounds.

On Sunday, the tourists will be picked up at 8 a.m. from the Tourism Department Office on West Veli Steet and taken to witness the ‘Tirukkalyanam' (celestial wedding) of Goddess Meenakshi with Lord Sundareswarar.

Special enclosure would be provided to foreign tourists at the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, officials assured. In the evening, a light music programme will be presented by ‘Vellai Roja' troupe at Tamukkam.

On Monday, the foreign tourists will be picked at 7 a.m. and taken to a special elevated dais on the North – West Masi Street junction to see the car festival. In the evening, Kalakendra Academy will perform the dances of nine Indian States.

While Tuesday will see only a Western and rural music programme organised by Madurai Sri Vani Group, on Wednesday the foreign tourists will be taken to the Albert Victor Bridge at 6 a.m. to witness Lord Kallazhagar entering the Vaigai. A light music programme has been organised by ‘7-Swarangal' group in the evening.

Officials said that the arrangements were being made by the Tourism Department jointly with the Meenakshi temple authorities, police, district administration and Madurai Corporation. The Tourism Department had roped in the Travel Club and Dhan foundation, a Madurai-based NGO, to create more awareness, officials said.

Foreign tourists can register themselves for the programmes by contacting the Tourism Office, telephone number: (0452) 233 4757.

Keywords: Annual festival

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