Kumarakom all set to host G-20 meet; ‘Kerala Carnival’ among highlights

While the main programmes of the meet are scheduled on March 30, 31 and April 1, cultural events and a boat trip are among the engagements planned on April 2. Photo: Manorama

Kottayam: All arrangements have been completed for the G-20 Sherpas (officers) meet to be held at the exotic destination of Kumarakom in Kottayam district of Kerala during March 30-April 2 and delegates have already started arriving.

The first guests to reach Kumarakom belong to the UN and White House in the US. Sources said that the chief of the National Security Agency is among the team from the US. However, officials did not disclose the identity of the delegates, citing security reasons.

While the main programmes of the meet are scheduled on March 30, 31 and April 1, cultural events and a boat trip are among the engagements planned on April 2. An interaction between the international delegates and student police cadets and presidents of Kumarakom, Aymanam and Vechoor panchayats is also scheduled.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will participate in the meet as a special invitee and Governor Arif Mohammed Khan is also likely to attend.

Performance of various traditional art forms presented by film director T K Rajeev Kumar is one of the attractions at the G20 officer's meet in Kumarakom. Photo: Manorama

The second phase of the event, a development meet, will take place later from April 6 to 9.

Cultural programmes
A highlight of the cultural programmes planned for the G-20 meet is an Onam celebration at Coconut Lagoon Resort on April 2. Performance of various traditional art forms presented by film director T K Rajeev Kumar is another attraction. Yet another interesting programme is the creation of floral carpets (‘pookkalam’) by international delegates.
Meanwhile, Kerala’s Responsible Tourism Mission will arrange stalls to familiarize the guests about the state’s crafts such as coir-making, handicrafts and pottery.

Local cuisine
Local flavours would dominate the food served to guests. Fruits grown widely in Kerala such as jackfruit, mango, ‘nendran’ banana, papaya, breadfruit and wild jack would be among the main items. Eight varieties of mango have been arranged, including ‘Chandrakaran’ and ‘Kuttiyattoor.’

The entrance gate of the KTDC resort in Kumarakom spruced up with bamboo for the the officers’ meet to be held here as part of the G20 summit being hosted by India. Photo: Manorama/Rijo Joseph

Abundant supply of tender coconut water and coconut ‘lassi’ also would be ensured. Another beverage to greet guests is a herbal drink made with Ayurvedic medicines which would be served in coconut shells.

Snacks ordered for the delegates include ‘achappam’, ‘kuzhalappam’, ‘vattayappam’, ‘sarkaravaratti’ and chips. During the breaks between sessions, mint and sweets made of cumin seeds will be served.

The main meals too will have a Kerala flavour, with dishes made of ground coconut and pearl spot prepared in Kumarakom style.

Eight cops to protect each delegate
Elaborate security measures are in place at Kumarakom for the event and the police personnel involved include six SPs, 20 DySPs, 20 Inspectors and 1,600 other officers. In short, there will be eight police personnel to protect each delegate.

The second phase of G20 officer's meet will take place later from April 6 to 9. Photo: Manorama

The security measures include a ban on unauthorized parking, deployment of the police on boats for round-the-clock surveillance and special checking on the borders of Kottayam and Alappuzha districts.

Basic infrastructure
Roads, canals and power supply have been improved in and around Kumarakom. In fact, five roads leading to Kumarakom and Kottayam Medical College Hospital have been modernized.

Tarring of a parallel route – Kallara – Vechoor Road – also has been completed.

Meanwhile, sides of all roads have been cleared of garbage and the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has installed necessary facilities to ensure uninterrupted power supply.

Teams of the Food Safety Department too have launched inspections.

“The improvement in the basic facilities would benefit Kumarakom in the long-term,” said Sarat Valsaraj, general manager of Zuri Resort, which is among the hotels hosting the G-20 meet delegates.

Kumarakom and the surrounding areas have been included in the red zone in view of the G20 meet. Photo: Rijo Joseph/Manorama

“The place is popular as a destination wedding location. After the G-20 meet, Kumarakom will be known in more countries and we expect the arrival of guests from there too,” he said.

“However, the local authorities should ensure that the spruced up roads and streetlights are maintained properly,” he added.

A ‘Kerala Carnival’ planned
Director T K Rajeev Kumar has envisaged a cultural programme which aims to present the unique features of Kerala’s traditional art forms before the international audience.

Preparations for the show began two months ago and involved 600 artistes. “We intend to spread awareness among the guests from abroad on the state’s rich arts, culture and heritage. The delegates too would be made active participants of the programmes,” said Rajeev Kumar.

“Theme-based stages will be arranged from the boat jetty for the performances. Even though innovative experiences would be offered, the traditional structure of the art forms will be retained,” he said.

Day One
The venue of the cultural programme on the first day of the G-20 event is Kumarakom Lake Resort. Titled ‘Parakaya pravesam’, a Kathakali scene from the Mahabharata depicting the game of dice will be performed by 20 artistes.

Unique features of the programme include draping the Kathakali costume on guests; explanations on Kathakali, its attire, songs, makeup and musical instruments and a discussion among the delegates on the art form.

The boat jetty will be designed as a ‘Koothambalam’ for the performance.

Day Two
Titled ‘Othiram mohitham’, the second day’s cultural event would present Unniyarcha, a legendary exponent of Kalaripayattu and a historic representative of a strong Kerala woman, accompanied by ‘vadakkan pattu’. The venue is Zuri Resort.

Art forms such as Kalaripayattu, Mohiniyattom, Padayani, Theyyam, Chavittu nadakom, Mudiyettu, Kolkali and Koodiyattom will be performed on the day.

Bamboo ceiling to provide perfect acoustics during G20 event at Kumarakom
The ceiling with bamboo poles at the newly-built convention centre on the premises of the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation’s (KTDC’s) resort Waterscapes which, the authorities said, would provide perfect acoustics to the venue. Photo: Manorama

Dance and acting will be the focus of these programmes and choreography will be arranged by Neerav of ‘Mazhavil Manorama D 4 Dance’ TV show.

As many as 200 performers had started preparations for the event two months ago.

The boat jetty will take the shape of a ‘Kalari thara’ for the event. Guests would be given ‘udukku’ used by Panans to follow the beats.

Day Three

‘Panchavadyam’ and ‘Pancharimelam’ are scheduled on the third day and the stage is titled ‘Talam melam,’ The venue is Taj Kumarakom.

As the theme is ‘pooram’, three caparisoned elephants will be present.

A Carnatic recital by 14 singers under noted music director Sarath is part of the programme. Instruments to be played include 10 each of chenda, mridangam, edakka, thadam, mizhavu and maddalam.

A mini fireworks display too will take place.

The boat jetty for the programme would resemble the Thrissur pooram ground.

Day Four
To be hosted by Coconut Lagoon resort, the ‘Onam celebrations’ on the fourth day will start at 9 am and last till evening.

‘Onathappans’ will line up on the resort’s boat jetty that day. Guests would be received with ‘edakka’, sandal paste and jasmine flowers.

Floral carpets, ‘sadya’ with two ‘payasams’, pulikali, kummattikali, kalaripayattu, Thiruvathirakali and oonjalattom have been arranged for delegates. Moreover, officials and delegates would be attired in traditional Kerala clothes on the day.

The Responsible Tourism Mission’s stalls on Kerala crafts also will come up on the fourth day.

The authorities of various state government departments are currently engaged in sprucing up Kumarakom on a war-footing in view of the G20 meet. Rijo Joseph/Photo: Manorama

Gifts for guests
“The duration of the traditional art performances is 30 minutes,” said Rajeev Kumar.

“Gifts such as miniatures of Kathakali forms, musical instruments and sword and shield also would be presented to each guest,” he added.

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