Thiruvananthapuram: Featuring around 60 floats, a performance of 3,000 artists and the vibrant participation of the common man, the week-long Onam celebration organised by the Kerala Tourism Department drew to a close here on Saturday evening.
A colourful cultural pageantry, which reflected the diverse cultural fabric of Kerala, was the final event of the celebration. The procession concluded at East Fort, after moving through the heart of the city.
Exciting projects coming up
Kerala Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas, who gave the inaugural address of the event at Nishagandhi Auditorium, said the government has envisaged a Rs 6 crore worth project for the development of historic Kanakakunnu Palace.
He said the project includes setting up of a museum and an auditorium at Kanakakunnu.
Kanakakunnu Palace was built during the reign of erstwhile ruler of Travancore, Srimulam Thirunal (1885-1924). "Kanakakunnu Palace will be transformed into an active tourism destination and a place for enjoying nightlife," he said. The tremendous success of Onam celebrations underlines the harmony and secular attitude of the people of Kerala, the minister added.
MLA V K Prasanth presided over the function in which Health Minister Veena George, Food and Civil Supplies Minister G R Anil, Transport Minister Antony Raju, MLAs I B Satheesh, G Stephen and D K Murali were also present.
Actors Shane Nigam, Neeraj Madhav, and Antony Varghese (Pepe) attended the closing ceremony where the performance of Harisankar's music band was the highlight. Kerala Tourism Director P B Nooh proposed a vote of thanks.
Prizes to the winners of various competitions held as part of the Onam celebrations were given away at the valedictory function.
Garden of Lights
Earlier, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan flagged off the cultural pageantry at 5 pm at Manaveeyam Veedhi, marking the finale of the festival that enthralled people across the state since last Sunday.
Assembly Speaker A N Shamseer was the chief guest. Riyas handed over the traditional wind instrument 'Kombu' to the main artiste, thereby setting the rhythm for the spectacle to wend its way along the thoroughfares of the city.
Kerala Tourism's 100-meter-long float 'Garden of Lights', jointly created by Responsible Tourism (RT) Mission, Eco-Tourism and Adventure Tourism, hogged the limelight at the pageantry.
The women's bike rally of RT Mission was part of its woman-friendly tourism initiative.
The show offered vivid glimpses into the diverse artistic and cultural heritage of the country and the state, featuring spectacular floats and a variety of classical and folk traditions.
Onam, the symphony of harmony
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the celebrations on August 27, setting the stage for a variety of classical, folk, ethnic and popular art forms to come alive in multiple venues in the state capital and districts across the state for a week, based on the core theme 'Onam, the symphony of harmony'.
The festival, held in scores of venues in the capital city and district centres, elicited good public response across the state.
(With PTI inputs)