Encouraging response to Kerala Tourism’s global Onam Pookkalam contest.

Encouraging response to Kerala Tourism’s global Onam Pookkalam contest.

Kerala Tourism’s Global Pookkalam contest is receiving warm response from within the country and abroad, as hordes of Malayalis are registering for the online event on floral decoration which is the highlight of Onam.

The government is hosting the virtual competition, titled ‘Viswa Manavikathayude Loka Ona Pookkalam’, in the backdrop of Covid-19 that has forced Malayalis to remain indoor and celebrate the harvest festival. Kerala Tourism is also readying a comprehensive video programme featuring folk arts by the state’s performers who are in financial difficulties owing to the pandemic. The 15-minute clips will be beamed online through audio-visual and social media.

Tourism Minister Shri P.A. Mohamed Riyas said the international Pookalam contest gives a common platform to both Malayali diaspora who are unable to visit Onam-time Kerala and Keralites who miss their opportunity for social get-togethers this year owing to Covid-19 conditions. “The theme of the event sends across the Onam message of unity and fraternity,” he noted. “Usually, expatriate Malayalis celebrate this festival along with fellow members of their associations. This time, the Pookalam contest facilitates them to celebrate Onam with all Malayalis across the globe,” he added.

The Minister has made a worldwide appeal for massive involvement in the contest. Following this, NORKA Roots (the field agency of the state’s Department of Non-Resident Keralite’s Affairs) held an online meeting and exhorted Malayalis across the globe to participate in the Pookkalam competition.

Individuals, organisations/associations can vie for honours. There is no fee. Registrations are on at https://www.keralatourism.org/contest/pookkalam2021, where the Pookkalam image can be uploaded till August 23 midnight.

The identification number, received on registration, must be shown below the Pookkalam. The image file should be in .jpg format and with a resolution between 1 MB and 5 MB. This image file, along with the picture of the pertinent individual/organization/association, should be uploaded on to the website. Also, a brief description about the Pookkalam must be given.

The jury under the Department of Tourism will evaluate the Pookkalams and select 100 from among them. They will be uploaded onto the website of the department.

The contestants will be awarded first, second and third prizes in two categories: individual and organization/association. There will be ten consolation prizes. Also, all participants will be given a special Onam gift. All contestants can download from the website their certificate of participation.

As for performing arts, 65 video clips of performances of local artistes in different art forms, each with 15-minute duration, will be streamed through the state’s television channels and FM stations besides social-media platforms. The initiative seeks to rejuvenate artists sitting largely idle in Covid-19 times. The participants can also share the videos over Kerala Tourism’s YouTube channel and social-media pages.