The State Tourism Department is going to conduct a two-day ‘Chettinad heritage festival’ at Karaikudi from Monday to promote tourism in the region in a big way.

A major thrust of the celebrations would be to throw light on the lesser-known but grand Chettinad palaces located in and around the area by taking foreign and domestic tourists into the palaces, official sources told The Hindu in Madurai on Saturday.

Among the events planned include a massive students rally from Periyar Statue to Kannadasan Maninmandapam in Karaikudi in which folk artistes would also participate to create awareness among the public.

It will be followed by a bharatnatyam performance at the Manimandapam where all the events would be held and a magic show by ‘Yona’ from Palladam, Tirupur district.During the inaugural function on Monday, K.R. Periakaruppan, Hindu Religions and Charitable Endowment Minister, will give away the prizes for various contests held on the occasion.

On the second day of celebrations, a heritage walk has been planned from Pallathur, which has many heritage buildings such as massive Chettinad palaces. Foreign and domestic tourists along with school students would be taken in and around these palaces and would be explained about its various features, officials said.

A rangoli contest has also been organised on the occasion, in which women members of self-help groups are expected to take part. A seminar on ‘responsible tourism in chettinad tourism’ moderated by Ponnambala Desigar of Kundrakudi Mutt will also be held.

As Karaikudi was the native of poet and lyricist Kannadasan, a vocal concert featuring his poems would also be held, according to officials.

“A tourism office for Sivganga District in Karakudi area was opened only in this financial year in order to give a thrust to tourism. More such functions would be held in the future,” an official said.