VIJAYAWADA: The Kerala Tourism department organised an interactive session with the press at Fortune Murali Park on Thursday to highlight the tourist destinations the God’s Own Country has to offer. As part of the tourism promotion, the department showcased the rich cultural heritage of Kerala.
“Andhras constitute about 15 per cent of the domestic tourists. They visit hill stations, beaches, wildlife sanctuaries and backwaters in Kerala. The number of Andhra pilgrims who visit Sabarimala is also high,” Deputy Director of Kerala Tourism department, KP Nandakumar, told Express.
Kerala has many famous beaches like Marari, Alleppey, Vizhinjam etc; popular hill stations like Munnar, Thekkady, Vagamon; backwaters at Kollam, Kochi, Kavvayi, and Alappuzha and wildlife sanctuaries in Kochi, Mangalavanam, Munnar and Pariyaram. Kerala has seen an increase of 11.38 per cent in domestic tourists’ footfall and 5.15 per cent foreigners visiting the State since 2016.
“We were successful in marketing ourselves globally. There is a huge potential to attract more tourists from Andhra as our food and culture are very similar,” said Nandakumar.
After the interactive session, five art forms of Kerala were performed. Mizhavu, a copper drum used as a percussion instrument in the dance and theatre art forms of Koodiyattam and Koothu, was played.
Kerala Natanam, a dance form which evolved from Kathakali was performed.
Then, Kalaripayattu, a martial arts form which can be traced back to ancient Southern India was performed. The programme concluded with Theyyam, a dance form in which the performer seeks to appease Goddess Durga by wearing her costume.
“These performances were choreographed by the Kathakali Performing Arts and Culture Centre. We represent the vibrant art and culture of Kerala with zeal and enthusiasm,” Pramod Payannur, dance teacher, told Express.
Following the performance, delectable dishes from Kerala were served for lunch. A sumptuous meal of brinjal curry, avial, sambar, rasam, chutney, pickle, and fried rice was served. “The food is an example of how Andhras can relate to us. The above dishes are staple food of Andhras too,” said Nandakumar.