Kerala to consider associating Kakkoor Kalavayal with Responsible Tourism

Bull race held at Kakkoor Kalavayal near Muvattupuzha. File photo: Manorama

Kerala's Minister for Tourism, PA Muhammad Riyas has said the state government will consider associating the century-old Kakkoor Kalavayal agricultural fest with its responsible tourism project.

The Kalavayal -- that was famous for its traditional bull race, 'maramadi', until a few years ago, before animal rights groups secured a ban -- still draws huge crowds when the annual festival is held at Kakkoor near Muvattupuzha in February-March.

The Supreme Court had in 2014 banned Jallikattu and other bull races, including maramadi. While an exception was later given to Jallikattu, the bull races in most of Kerala are not being held for the past few years.

Now, the muddy fields once raced by bulls host car and bike races. To keep its post-harvest tradition intact, an exhibition of cattle and farm products is held as part of the Kalavayal.

"Responsible Tourism is part of the policy to introduce tourists to the potential of agriculture. The state government is looking at the advantages of farm tourism and as part of this, the promotion of Kakkoor Kalavayal in a way it attracts more tourists will be examined," said minister Riyas while inaugurating a cattle exhibition at the Kalavayal on Monday.

'Responsible tourism good for business'
Earlier, minister Riyas spoke at the valedictory event of the Global Responsible Tourism Summit at Kumarakom. He said that in recent years, Kerala has "demonstrated that responsible tourism can be very good for business". "The challenge is to use responsible tourism to support local communities for sustainable development," he said.

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