The annual Pongal celebration organised in the district for foreign tourists by the State Tourism Department promises to be a grand affair this year with the event duration doubled to four days.

Owing to the tremendous response to the last year’s celebrations at Tidiyan near Chellampatti, this year the Department has increased the number of events, official sources told The Hindu here on Monday.

This year, the celebrations will be held from January 13 to 16. On Day One, foreign tourists would be taken to the Oriental Catering College at Uthangudi. The college students will dress up in rural attire with folk arts and classical performances is planned.

On day two, sources said, different cultural programmes have been scheduled at the King Tirumalai Naick Palace in the evening.

On day three, the foreign tourists would be taken to Thuvariman, a village en route to Sholavandhan. The programmes have been located at a remote place by the Tourism Department with a view to promote lesser known tourist spots and rural tourism, sources said.

The foreigners would be taken around the village to provide them an exposure to rural ambience. Bullock carts were also likely to be arranged to ferry them a short distance.

On the final day, the tourists would be taken to the world-famous Alanganallur jallikattu where the Tourism Department has put up a separate enclosure, sources said.

While the last year’s celebrations attracted around 200 tourists, ourism officials expect more than 250 this time around. Handbills and letters have been sent to travel agents and hotels across the country. Tourist operators and hotels across Tamil Nadu have also been informed of the event.

The bookings for this programme, which is entirely free of cost, could be done by contacting the Tourism Office: (0452) 233 4757 / 232 1946.

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