Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Shoring up Pichavaram as tourist centre

Shoring up Pichavaram as tourist centre - The Hindu


“Dawn Fest 2008” kicks off to a colourful start

— Photo:C. Venkatachalapathy
PROMOTING TOURISM: “Dawn Fest 2008” being celebrated at Chinnavaikkal at Pichavaram in Cuddalore district on Sunday.

CUDDALORE: The two-day “Dawn Fest 2008” got off to a colourful start in the backwaters of Pichavaram near Chidambaram on Saturday. District Collector Rajendra Ratnoo, who inaugurated the fete, said the myriad hues of the sky before sunrise in the backdrop of the mangroves were a sight to behold.

Mr. Ratnoo told reporters that the aim of the event, conceptualised by him and funded by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Department, was to showcase Pichavaram as an eco-tourism destination to the stakeholders of the tourism industry such as tour operators, tourism consultants and hoteliers.

He said Cuddalore district held out rich tourism potential of various nature including heritage and pilgrimage tourism (as it housed renowned temples such as Padaleeswarar temple, Natarajar temple and Hayagrivar temple), classical art forms (being promoted through the famed Natyanjali festival and Annamalai University), and beach tourism along the 54-km coastal line, including Chinnavaikkal, Thazhanguda and Silver beach.

The sunrise could be viewed from the Chinnavaikkal islet replete with lush coconut groves that could be easily accessed by boat ride in the backwaters. The islet was illuminated for the occasion and filled with strains of classical music presented by the students of the Music Department of Annamalai University.

While the guests were sailing the boats in the early hours on Sunday the students of the Centre for Advanced Study in Marine Biology, Annamalai University, who accompanied them explained the ecological importance of the mangroves that were home to large number of migratory birds, sources of livelihood to thousands of fishermen and Iruals, and bioshield at the time of natural disasters such as cyclone and the tsunami.

Pichavaram used to attract migratory birds such as seagull from Mongolia in April and after a brief sojourn the winged visitors would return to their native place. The Pichavaram area is now awash with dense colonies of seagulls.

As the sun was rising, the students of the Centre for Yoga Studies, Annamalai University, struck various postures or asanas, signifying paying obeisance to the mighty nature.

The evening was filled with cultural events, mostly in folk forms such as thappattam, karagattm, silambattam, fire show and Irulas’ kolattam.

A handful of foreign tourists too enjoyed the occasion.

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