The contest receives 250 entries under three themes from across the State

An ancient face softened by twilight and belief, captured in prayer; a raging bull trying to shake off a man and his hopes of triumph; and a bright yellow saree picked up by the unbridled wind blowing through a dry riverbed: these were the prize winning entries at a photography contest-cum-exhibition organised by Trichy Travel Federation (TTF) in the run up to World Tourism Day.

Held at Hotel Femina, the photography exhibition hoped to capture film facets of Tiruchi, Thanjavur and Pudukkottai districts with potential for tourism. Announced in August, the contest received 250 entries from across the State categorised under three themes- rural life, culture and festivals, and temples and monuments.

“While the pictures had to be taken in locations within Tiruchi, Pudukkottai and Thanjavur districts alone, the contest was open to anyone who could handle a camera,” says M. Ponnilango, vice president, Trichy Travel Federation. Organised for the first time, the two-day exhibition brought to a close the celebrations organised by TTF towards World Tourism Day, slated to be observed on September 27.

Talking about his experience, Sridhar Bharathi, one of the prize winners, recalls getting into trouble with devotees at Kuzhumaaiyi Amman temple festival at Puthur. His picture, which shows the temple priest drinking blood directly from a sacrificial goat in the midst of fervent devotees, captures the moment from a vivid proximity. “You are generally not allowed to photograph the ritual and when they saw me taking pictures a scuffle broke out,” he says.

Among the 50 photographs showcased at the exhibition, nine were selected as prize winning entries. “A two-member panel judged the photographs for technical superiority and reflection of the theme,” said Mr. Ponnilango. While the first prize winners in each category will be given air tickets to Colombo or Singapore, the second prize winners can choose between two nights at Kodaikanal or Yercaud; and the third prize winners get dinner coupons worth Rs.1000 for Hotel Sangam, Hotel Femina and Hotel Ramyas. The prizes will be given away by Collector Jayashree Muralidharan on September 27 at the finale event to be held at Hotel Sangam.

The first prize winners were S. Chidambaram (rural life), Sridhar Bharathi (culture and festivals), and C. Ramasubramanian (temples and monuments); the second place winners were S. Akilan (rural life), J. Ravishankar (culture and festivals), and K. Ashok Kumar (temples and monuments); and the third prize winners were K. Rajiv Gandhi (rural life), C. Ramasubramanian (culture and festivals), and M. Venkatachalam (temples and monuments).