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Saarc sparkle on Kerala festival

New Delhi, Jan. 18: For the first time, Saarc countries have been invited to participate in Paaramparya, a festival of art and craft being organised by the Kerala tourism department between February 15 and 22.

Described as a “people’s movement”, the festival provides an opportunity to artists from different regions to demonstrate their traditional skills and culture.

To be held at Asramom, a five-acre strip along the picturesque Asthamudi lake in Quilon, the festival will draw artists from across the country to create, demonstrate and, in some cases, teach. All products will be available for sale.

A film festival will also be organised along with a wide range of performing arts.

Paaramparya, which means tradition, was started in the heritage city of Quilon with the objectives of demonstrating equal validity of pluralistic cultures and their rich heritage, and for reviving and preserving tribal and rural art and traditions.

The District Tourism Promotion Council has invited other states to the festival. Bihar, Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have confirmed participation, while others, including West Bengal, are yet to respond.

The Saarc countries have been roped in this time to expand the scope of the festival that aims to “thread” traditions of the world together.

Quilon district collector Rajan Kobragade, who is also chairman of the tourism council, held talks with external affairs ministry officials last Monday for clearing invitations to the Saarc nations.

State government sources said invitations have been sent out and all Saarc countries, barring Pakistan, are likely to participate.

Five lakh people are expected to attend the festival, which will encompass “an amazing wealth of traditions”, according to state government officials.

Art forms, be they ethnic, religious or linguistic, will find expression in the festival.

Paaramparya is the only event from south India that has been included in the newly established Art and Craft Festival of India.

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