Kozhikode: The four-day Beypore Water Fest as part of the government's efforts to tap the tourism potential of the ancient port town on the Malabar coast began on Sunday.
Tourism and PWD Minister P A Muhammad Riyas presided over the inaugural function on December 26 that also seeks to further highlight the age-old culture of Malabar before the world.
The event, which will end on December 29, aims to feature the heritage value of one of the country's oldest harbours, known for its ship-building tradition and cross-cultural influences amid communal amity, the Tourism department said in a release.
“A chief attraction of the event will be competitive races and Malabar's first sailing regatta. It is curated by retired Naval officer-yachtsman, Commander Abhilash Tomy, who became the first Indian to complete a solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the world under sail," the release said.
Mammootty appeared online to declare the festival open. Besides Riyas, Parliamentarians M K Raghavan, M V Shreyamskumar, Additional Chief Secretary (Tourism) Dr Venu V, Kerala Tourism Director V R Krishna Teja, District Collector Dr Narasimhugari T L Reddy and elected representatives of three-tier local administration bodies also took part in the event.
On December 27, a kite fest will be inaugurated by Elamaram Kareem, MP. The valedictory function will have actress Manju Warrier as the chief guest, the release said.
The fest, which will have races and celebrations held in ten venues, features kayaking, paddle race, display boat, boat races, the Navy's band music and an exhibition of naval ships.
Beypore is located six km south-west of Kozhikode city on the estuary where the River Chaliyar empties into Arabian Sea. Long before the advent of the western colonialists, the port was a vital link in maritime trade with West Asia.
As Malabar's commercial hub, it was renowned for the weather-resistant wooden ships built by the local artisans. Called uru' (dhow), it was in great demand and the vessels carried the bulk of trade with West Asia.