Lashing rains and slush-filled roads in no way dampened the spirits of thousands of people who gathered at Aavanipoovarangu 2013, the annual Onam celebration cultural mela held at YMCA in Royapettah on Sunday.

Hosted by the Confederation of Tamil Nadu Malayalee Associations (CTMA), the two-day event that began on Saturday rekindled the Onam spirit despite the festival concluding over a month ago.

The gala event offered members of over 25 city-based Malayalee associations and the general public a variety of experiences including the festival’s own pookkalam, games, literary events and light music. Malayalees who excelled in various fields were also honoured.

On Sunday, Aavanipoovarangu greeted participants with papier-mâché elephants, which at first sight looked real. Children apart, even adult mounted the paper pachyderms much to the delight of their loved ones and media persons, all of whose cameras were constantly clicking. The sea of people who thronged the grounds also feasted on a variety of culinary delights.

“ This is an irresistible annual celebration for every Malayalee in the city,” said Anitha, a resident of Villavakkam.

The stage was shared by members of CTMA including chairman Gokulam Gopalan, president M. Nandagovind, general secretary M.A. Salim, event chairman P. Raju and convener K.S. Gopal.

Actors Indrajith Sukumaran and Ashokan also participated, with the latter being honoured for his career in Malayalam cinema. The actors addressed the audience amidst thundering applause. While Indrajith recalled his days in Chennai and expressed his joy over the huge Malayalee crowd in a city outside Kerala, Ashokan enthralled the crowd with the song Ekkanta Chandrike from his movie In Harihar Nagar. Minister of State for labour Kodikunnil Suresh also participated.

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