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Dawn Fest a big draw among foreign tourists

Special Correspondent
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Rural Industries Minister M.C. Sampath and Cuddalore Collector Rajendra Ratnoo with foreign tourists at M.G.R.Thittu on Saturday. — Photo:C.Venkatachalapathy
Rural Industries Minister M.C. Sampath and Cuddalore Collector Rajendra Ratnoo with foreign tourists at M.G.R.Thittu on Saturday. — Photo:C.Venkatachalapathy

Dawn Fest-2012 organised on M.G.R.Thittu islet near Pichavaram as a tourism promotion effort on Friday and Saturday evoked good response from foreign tourists and local residents.

About 30 foreign tourists from 15 countries, including New Zealand and Canada, along with good number of local residents participated in the event. On Friday afternoon, the tourists were taken on a boat ride through mangroves and later escorted to M.G.R.Thittu.

It may be noted that once inhabited by fishermen, the December 2004 tsunami destroyed the habitations and killed over 80 people on the islet. Now, only the barren walls, bereft of roofs, stand testimony to the natural disaster that made fishermen abandon the place.

The district administration deemed it fit to hold the fete on this islet because it has a three-km stretch of beach where one could have a commanding view of the sun rise. Hence, the event was named Dawn Fest.

Foreign tourists were provided plastic tents for overnight stay on the islet. They were treated to folk arts such as karagattam and oyilattam. In the early hours on Saturday, students of Annamalai University performed “surya namaskaram,” a form of yoga.

Generator sets were provided on the islet to light up the sandy stretch. On Saturday morning, Rural Industries Minister M.C.Sampath unveiled the Dawn Fest-2012 logo in the presence of Cuddalore Collector Rajendra Ratnoo.

Mr. Ratnoo made a request to the Minister that allocation for organising the festival be enhanced from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 10 lakh.

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