The week-long State-wide Onam celebrations will be kicked off on September 14 by the Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy at the Central Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram.
Actor Sridevi Kapoor will be the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony at the stadium that is being made the venue for the State-sponsored festivities for the first time. Leading Actor Prithviraj Sukumaran who has made his presence felt in Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi films, will also attend as guest of honour.
Leader of Opposition, V. S. Achuthanandan will deliver the key-note address at the function presided over by the Minister for Tourism, A. P. Anil Kumar.
“Elazhanjithara pandimelam” to be presented by 101 artistes led by Peruvanom Kuttan Marar at the venue before the ceremony and the special programme “Amma Malayalam Sreshta Malayalam” will be the main attraction of the brief inaugural function.
In addition to 27 venues in the capital, Varkala, Chirayinkil, Shanghumughom, Aruvikkara, Neyyar Dam and Akkulam in the district, programmes will be held in Ernakulam and Kozhikode and in other district headquarters during the week.
Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, Mr. Anil Kumar said the Onam flag will be hoisted in the Kanakakunnu palace on September 13 by Minister for Culture, K. C. Joseph. Later, the illumination from Raj Bhavan to East fort will be switched on by Minister for Health and Devaswom, V. S. Sivakumar.
The Minister said as many as 5,000 artistes will alone participate in the week-long programmes in the capital. An expenditure of Rs. 2.20 crore is anticipated for the festivities.
For the conduct of the programmes, Kozhikode and Ernakulam DTPC’s had been given Rs. 30 lakh each, Thiruvananthapuram Rs. 15.5 lakh and all other districts Rs. 3 lakh each.
Emphasis on traditional art forms, kathakali, kite flying, rock show, laser show and making Vyloppilly Samskrithi Bhavan as a major venue are highlights of the week-long celebrations. The celebrations will conclude with the pageantry from Vellayambalam to East Fort on September 20, he said.
Mayor K. Chandrika, convener of the programme committee, Palode Ravi and Director, Tourism, Harikishore attended the press conference.