Kasaragod: In a bid to promote Kasaragod as a tourism destination, the state government is organising the first 'International Beach Festival' against the backdrop of the Bekal Fort this holiday season.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the 10-day 'Bekal International Beach Festival' on the eve of Christmas on Bekal beach on December 24. "This will be an annual festival celebrating the cultural heritage and natural beauty of Kasaragod, and Bekal will be its permanent venue," said Udma MLA and chairman of the festival C H Kunhambu.
Apart from the amusement rides, the festival will have a flower show, sand art, food fest, automobile expo and flea market, helicopter ride, and water sports such as kayaking, parasailing, canoeing, snorkelling, scuba diving, catamaran sailing, and windsurfing, he said. "The highlights of the festival will be a robotic show and night-long concerts on the beach by top performers from north and south India," Kunhambu said.
Cuban Ambassador Alejandro Simancas Marin and travel journalist and managing director of Safari TV Santhosh George Kulangara will be the guests of the festival on December 28.
The Department of Tourism has partnered with Bekal Resorts Development Corporation (BRDC), District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC), Kudumbashree, and local self-government bodies to organise the festival.
Mahyoobah Eco Solutions Pvt Ltd, a solid waste management company in Kerala, won the bid to organise the event. Mahyoobah also runs Aasmi Holidays but its expertise in waste management will ensure the 10-day festival will be a zero-waste event, said the MLA.
The organisers are expecting around 5 lakh people during the 10 days. The tickets are priced at Rs 50 per head. "We have sold 2.5 lakh tickets through Kudumbashree," said Kunhambu.
Kudumbashree is also offering a special tour package 'Yathrashree' for tourists flocking to the festival to explore unseen tourist destinations in the Kasargod district, he said.
Around 1,000 artistes from abroad and India will perform at the beach festival.
Sufi band Nooran Sisters from Punjab, playback singers Sithara Krishnakumar, Vidhu Prathap, Shabnam Riyaz, Mohammed Aslam, folk singer Praseetha Chalakkudy, and musician Stephen Devassy would perform every night at 7pm.
Magic and comedy artistes Raj Kalesh and Nirmal Palazhi would perform on December 25; and percussionist Mattannur Sankarankutty Marar would team up with Arun Alaatt and Anju Joseph for a fusion concert on December 29.
Guests can also experience Theyyam, Alaamikkali, and Yakshagana, which are unique to Kasaragod, said the MLA.
Learn to fly drones at Bekal Beach Festival
Bekal International Beach Festival will paint the sky with colourful kites as the kite-flying festival is one of its main draws. But children can learn to fly drones, too, during the festival.
"We are roping in Inker Robotics, a Thrissur-based startup, to introduce robotic literacy to children and adults coming to the festival," said U K Kunjabdullah, MD of Aasmi Holidays, one of the organisers of the events.
Inker said it would set up a netted space on the beach to teach children how to fly drones and other aerial vehicles.
Inside, Inker would partition its stall into eight zones to take the guests through the evolution of robotics and introduce them to the different types of robots, such as human-shaped robots and industrial robots, said K Chandrakaladharan, vice president of the company.
Guests would also be introduced to technologies that are shaping the fourth industrial revolution such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Machine Learning, 3D Printing, and the Internet of Things (IoT), he said. "Visitors can see how 3D printing is used to make a yummy cake to build a liveable house," he said.
Kunjabdullah said this was the first time such a robotics show was being organised in north Malabar. "Our children can be made aware of these technologies at an early age," he said.