Kozhikode's bid to enter the record books for the biggest pookkalam (flower arrangement) came a step closer to realisation on Saturday with its 17,662 sq. ft. floral carpet, with radius of 75.5 ft, completed in 2.08 hours.

‘Kerala Soaps Manavamaithri Snehapookalam,' a combined venture of the district administration and the District Tourism Promotion Council, witnessed an overwhelming participation of citizens, with over 1,000 people taking part in the celebrations. The floral carpet was rendered at Swapnanagari in the city.

Over 15 tonnes of flowers costing Rs.6.75 lakh were brought from Thovala in Tamil Nadu, including the traditional chettipoovu (marigold), mulla (jasmine), jamanthi (chrysanthemum), vadamalli, arali, kozhipoovu and Tube rose.

Prominent personalities of the city led by Zamorin P.K.S. Raja, including Industries Minister Elamaram Kareem, Mayor M. Bhaskaran, Chief Khazi K.V. Imbichi Ahmed, Bishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, Swami Praneshananda, Swami Jnanaswaroopananda, musician Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri, MLAs A. Pradeep Kumar, P.M.A. Salim, scriptwriter T.A. Razak, film director V.M. Vinu, Deputy Mayor P.T. Abdul Lathif and District Collector P.B. Salim, placed the first flowers of the pookkalam to inaugurate it at 10.30 a.m. The participants from various social and cultural organisations, residents' associations, educational institutions, labour unions, farmers' unions, student and youth organisations and spiritual organisations were divided into 400 groups and assigned one each of the 400 grids of the pookkalam. The pattern of the pookkalam, designed by art director C.K.Suresh, consisted of flowers of seven colours, signifying the seven continents. A number of volunteers and drawing teachers strived to bring the pookkalam to perfection.

Cultural programmes were held on the five stages set up around the pookkalam when it was being rendered. Veteran Mappilapattu artiste V.M. Kutty and party, Gargi Krishnan who presented a semi classical dance, Rajani Palakkal and her child Jyothika Palakkal who rendered Kuchipudi were among the top entertainers of the day. A music troupe presented the world cup song ‘waka waka' when the pookkalam was about to end, giving the participants added vigour.

By 12.30 p.m., the pookalam was completed, while the finishing touches took 8 minutes. The independent judges, Mayor M. Bhaskaran, M.K. Raghavan, MP, and District Judge P.I. Ismail declared at 12.40 p.m. that it was the largest floral carpet in the world that has been completed in record time. The existing record is for a pookkalam made five days ago in Kochi, which measured 14,400 sq. ft. and was completed in 3 hours.

The representatives of the Guinness Book of World Records and the Limca Book of Records were present on the occasion. However, the official announcement of the record will be made only in a week after considering all the parameters, said the Collector.

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