"I like Kerala and Kozhikode. Everything is so organised here, and the people are polite," says Pratap Singh, member of a Manipuri cultural delegation now in Kozhikode.

Mr. Singh, from Soubal district of Manipur, finds his stay in Kerala "a rare and exciting experience."

M. Anil Kumar, District Youth Coordinator, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, says members of the delegation are being accommodated in houses at Kadalundi for three days so that they can have a closer understanding of Kerala's lifestyle and culture.

Members of the Kadalundi Grama Panchayat accorded them a traditional welcome.

The Manipuris found the marriage ceremony and feast they attended at Kadalundi different from their own back home.

"Our marriages are more simple. In a majority of cases, the boy or girl decides on the life partner. Arranged marriages are few," Mr. Pratap Singh says.

A Theyyam performance, Thiruvathira dance and Kolkali were staged for the visitors. They performed their traditional dance at a public programme in Kadalundi town.

The highlight of the delegation's visit to the city was an interaction with Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan. The members posed for a photograph with him.

They performed a Manipuri folk dance at the venue of Sarovaram project's inauguration on Sunday evening.

The tour of the 16-member team is being organised as part of a joint cultural exchange programme by the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development and the Nehru Yuva Kendra.

On Monday, the members, aged 20 to 35 and including seven women, visited the Chaliyam beach.

"Coming from a land-locked State, this is a rare and exhilarating experience for us," says a member of the group.

Boating in the Chaliyam river and a visit to the Beypore port were also part of Monday's itinerary.

Visits had also been arranged to C.V.N. Kalari, Kappad beach and the Kunhali Marakkar memorial at Iringal. The group visited P.K.S. Raja, scion of the Zamorin family, erstwhile rulers of Kozhikode, at his home in Chalappuram. He went down memory lane on seeing the Manipuri youths.

More In: KERALA | NATIONAL