Indian cultural fiesta opens in Jeddah


Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — Hundreds of artists, mostly students, from the southern Indian state of Kerala, enthralled the audience with their stunning performance showcasing India’s cultural diversity with a variety of folk art forms at the two-day Kerala Festival, which kicked off at the Indian Consulate premises on Friday evening.

Thousands of people, mainly families, turned out for the event, inaugurated by Indian Consul General Mohammed Noor Rahman Sheikh in a colorful ceremony held in the presence of consuls and Indian community leaders.

Jeddah Keralites Forum (JKF), an umbrella body of Keralites’ organizations based in Jeddah, organized the cultural extravaganza, in association with the Consulate General of India as part of India@70 celebrations. The festival that features the cultural traditions and folklore arts of Indian states aims at introducing the diverse culture of India to Saudis and foreigners and attracting them to India.

Kerala festival will be followed by festivals of other states.

The festival kick-started with a colorful procession, showcasing the rich and diverse traditions and heritage of Kerala. It was followed by the opening session in which Consul General Sheikh was the chief guest. Dr. Mohammed Nurul Hassan, consul commerce, welcomed the gathering. V.K. Rauf, general convener of the organizing committee, delivered the introductory speech while K.M. Sherif Kunju, chairman of the organizing committee, briefed all on the programs and activities.

The speakers included Mohammed Alungal, president of Abeer Medical group, Mir Gazanfar Ali Zaki, general secretary of Saudi Indian Business Network, Ahmad Palayat, and P.P. Raheem. K.T.A. Muneer, convener of the program committee, proposed the vote of thanks.

The cultural fiesta, featuring several traditional performances and classical dance forms including Tiruvathirakali, Kathakali, Mappila Pattu, Oppana, Daff Muttu, Kolkkali, and Kerala fusion dance mesmerized the audience. Around 50 girls participated in the Tiruvathirakali.

‘Poothathirayattam,’ a dramatic visualization of the poem “Poothappattu”, the masterpiece of the renowned Indian poet Idasseri Govindan Nair, stole the show at the fest. Several artists staged the show, which was conceived by Anil Narayanaand choreographed by renowned dance teacher Shelna Vijay. A signature program by Anil Narayana and Shelna Vijay was also held.

As part of the festival, essay writing competition for students as well as tug of war game and football matches were held earlier. The festival venue also hosts food festival and more than a dozen stalls introducing Kerala’s tourism attractions and investment opportunities. The festival, which is open to all, free of charge, from 4 p.m. until 11 p.m. will come to a close on Saturday.