A colourful pageantry that extolled the achievements made by the State in various spheres and highlighted the different facets of Kerala culture and history brought the curtains down to the week-long government-sponsored Onam celebrations here on Tuesday.
With the inclement weather giving way to bright sunshine by afternoon, thousands of people lined up on either side of the main thoroughfare from Vellayambalam to East Fort to witness the spectacle. Governor M.O.H. Farook flagged off the pageantry from Vellayambalam junction. Speaker G. Karthikeyan, Minister for Tourism A.P. Anil Kumar, Minister for Transport V.S. Sivakumar, Shashi Tharoor, MP, Varkala Kahar, MLA, and Mayor K. Chandrika were present.
As many as 75 floats presented by government departments, quasi government departments, public sector undertakings, private institutions, local bodies, cooperative institutions, and others were the focus of the pageantry. ‘Dholi gunitha,' a dance form of Karnataka and ‘Karakattom,' ‘Neyyandi melam,' ‘Thappattam' from Tamil Nadu were the major attractions.
‘Velakali,' ‘Kuzhalpattu,' ‘Pulikali,' ‘Kummatti,' and ‘Kumbupattu' were presented. ‘Panchavadyam,' ‘Elanjitharamelam,' 'Sinkarime lam' and ‘Thayambaka,' and ‘Kalaripayattu' added charm.
Contingents from the NCC, mounted police, and caparisoned elephants participated in the event. The bands of the Kerala Police, NCC, Railway Police, Bharat Scouts and Guides, and Sree Chitra Home played at the function. Schoolchildren presented programmes at different venues to entertain the young and old.
At the VVIP enclosure set up in front of the University College, dignitaries were seen enjoying the pageantry and clicking photos. The Governor, Union Minister of State for Power K.C. Venugopal, K. Muraleedharan, MLA, and other dignitaries were present.
‘Pullikali' was a major attraction with the young and old. Cornia Crisam, a German tourist, expressed her awe at the ‘‘painted tigers'' and said she was thrilled to witness various performing arts all at once for the Onam.
There was a loud applause from the crowd for the float of the Pothencode block panchayat that depicted the scene from Kumaranasan's ‘‘Veenapoovu.'' The float by Kudumbasree stood out by depicting the face of Kerala's empowered woman.
The 13 years of Kudumbasree as the largest network of women in the country and the evolution of Kerala women were depicted through different successful models. The float was mounted behind 13 colourful umbrellas and 13 “Thidambu' to symbolise the 13 years. The pageantry ended at East fort by 8.45 p.m. Over 1,750 policemen and women constables and plainclothes men were deployed in strength all along the route as part of security arrangements.