A colourful pageantry depicting the strides made in various spheres and traditional art and dance forms of the state will bring down the curtains on the week-long Kerala Tourism Onam celebrations in the capital on September 7.
A record number of 85 floats will participate in the pageantry that will be flagged-off from Vellayambalam junction by the Minister for Tourism and Home, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan at 5.30 p.m.
The Vice-chairman of the Onam celebrations general committee V. Sivankutty, MLA, and District Panchayat president and chairman of the pageantry committee Anavoor Nagappan outlined the programme to mediapersons here on Saturday.
Mr. Sivankutty said the floats will be presented by 11 government departments, quasi-government departments, public sector undertakings (31), private institutions (15), local bodies (12), cooperative institutions (8) and others.
Well-known artistes from the state will join the pageantry with traditional art forms. ‘Velakali’, ‘Kuzhalpattu’, ‘Pulikali’, ‘Kummatti’ and Kumbupattu’ will be presented. ‘Panchavadyam’, ‘Elanjitharamelam’, ‘Sinkarimelam’ and ‘Thayambaka,’ and ‘Kalaripayattu’ will add charm to the pageantry.
Contingents from the NCC, mounted police and caparisoned elephants will participate. The bands of the Kerala Police, NCC, Railway Police, Bharat Scouts and Guides and Sree Chitra Home will play.
Mr. Nagappan said the film director T.K. Rajeev Kumar will coordinate the pageantry that will take more than three hours to reach East Fort. The organisers expect a turnout of over 12 lakhs.
To entertain the people arriving to see the pageantry, students from schools in the city will present cultural programmes at 10 venues between Vellayambalam and East Fort.
The cultural programmes will be presented at the entrance of Kanakakunnu palace, Park View/Museum gate, Public Library, Martyr’s Column, University College, AG’s office, near Azad Gate, Pulimoodu and near SMV School till the pageantry arrives.
A separate enclosure will be set up near the University College for the Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, Ministers, MPs, MLAs, other VVIPs. The band troupe of the Indian Army will perform near the VVIP enclosure that can seat 1000 persons.
Another enclosure will be set up for the senior officials, tourists, heads of the public sector undertakings and other important persons near the Public Library and Government Fine Arts College. The entry to the enclosures will be restricted through pass.
The public will not be allowed to cross the road on the East Fort - Vellayamablam stretch once the pageantry commences, according to the Convener of the pageantry committee, N. Ayyappan. Awards will be given for best floats in various categories. A rehearsal of the pageantry will be held at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
The Mayor, C. Jayan Babu, who was also present at the press conference, urged the public coming to see the pageantry to avoid food packets. “It is our request and those who bring food packets should ensure that they are not dumped on the streets’, he said. The Mayor has also cautioned the public arriving in the city from taking cool drinks and food from make-shift wayside eateries.
The educational institutions and Government offices will remain closed from 3 p.m. on Monday in view of the pageantry.