Floats, percussion ensembles, and dances will be part of a procession

More than 130 colourful floats, over 2,500 performing artistes, and much more are slated to mesmerise the city on Monday as the week-long official Onam celebrations draw to an end with a massive procession that will begin from Vellayambalam at 5 p.m.

Tourism Minister A.P. Anil Kumar, addressing a press conference along with Varkala Kahar, MLA, here on Sunday, said the procession, to be flagged off by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy from near Keltron in the presence of Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan, Speaker G. Karthikeyan and others, would pass via the Museum junction, Palayam, University College, Statue, and the Ayurveda College junction before culminating at East Fort.

Jumbo in the lead

The procession, to be led by a decked-up elephant, would have a 101-strong ‘chenda’ troupe, followed by a 200-strong team of men and women on horses, donning traditional Kerala attire, and 35 Mohiniyattom artistes. Fifty ‘velakali’ artistes accompanied by 38 ‘panchavadyam’ artistes would be right behind the mounted team, after which would come various floats, each of which would have ‘chendamelam,’ ‘panchavadyam,’ ‘nadaswaram,’ ‘shinkarimelam’ or ‘veeku chenda’ teams in front of them. Women’s ‘chendamelam’ teams too would be part of the affair.

Mr. Kahar said nearly 1,500 artistes specialised in various art forms, including Manipuri dance, Punjab’s bhangra, and various classical dances and folk and art forms unique to Kerala would be part of the procession. A 30-member team from Manipur, which had performed at the Commonwealth Games, would present the colourful ‘Pung Cholom’ classical Manipuri, dance while a 15-strong women’s team would present Karnataka’s popular drum dance ‘Dollu Kunitha.’ The procession would also have teams from Tamil Nadu presenting ‘Karakkam’ and ‘Kavadi’ dances, apart from performances of Kerala’s own ‘Theyyam,’ ‘Padayani,’ ‘Chavittunadakam,’ ‘Mayilaattom,’ ‘Gopurakavadi,’ ‘Kumbhanrutham,’ ‘Garudan Thookkam,’ ‘Pakkanaraattom,’ ‘Pulikkali,’ ‘Parichamuttu,’ ‘Kalaripayattu’ and so on.

Stilt walkers, a Mickey Mouse on a cycle, Lord Mahabali on a motorbike, Lord Siva, Parvathi, and Murugan on a ‘two-wheeler family trip,’ Vamanan on roller skates, tiny tots performing ‘Pulikkali,’ and a Pallipuram-based CRPF team competing with a team from Punjab to showcase their bhangra skills would be the other attractions, Mr. Anil Kumar said.

The procession, after being flagged off by Mr. Chandy, would be heralded by a 21 gun salute apart from a flower shower from the skies, to be done by an aircraft owned by the Rajiv Gandhi Academy for Aviation Technology.

Holiday from 3 p.m.

Government offices and schools have been given a holiday from 3 p.m. onwards on Monday, Mr. Kahar said. A prize distribution function for the best floats and performances would be organised at 10 p.m. at the Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium.

Rani George, Director (Tourism), was present.