With the Arabian Sea on the west, the Western Ghats in the east and networked by 44 rivers, Kerala enjoys unique geographical features that have made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Asia. Add to that an equable climate, a long shoreline with serene beaches and tranquil stretches of emerald backwaters interspersed with lush hill stations and teeming wildlife; Kerala truly lives up to its status of being 'God's Own Country'.
To mark the arrival of Onam, the Thiruvananthapuram airport was decorated with Pookalam, while men dressed in Kathakali costumes and as Mahabali were seen welcoming tourists at the airport. Tourists as well as passengers, informs the company, appreciated the welcome and were seen clicking pictures of the colourful flower pattern created with several ingredients, depicting different designs.
The festival oriented arrangements at International and domestic terminals which began on August 24th continued till August 30th, a day before the official curtain downs of Onam celebrations in the city.
Tourists who flew down at Trivandrum could feel the festive mood prevailing in the state from airport itself as a golden attired Mahabali and a Kadhakali performer welcomed the passengers at the airport arrival.
Kerala Tourism department with the permission of Airport Authority of India, Trivandrum Region made special arrangements to greet tourists from August 24th, to declare the buoyant and prosperous mood of Onam . Other than the smiling Mahabali wishing happy onam and the Kathakali artist, a spectacular athapookalam (floral carpet) was also made at the business area of Trivandrum International terminal, where the arriving passengers were also given Kerala delicacies like banana chips and upperi (sweets).Tourism department also gave coupons with which tourists could avail of payasam from Chaitram hotel with a discount of Rs 23 for each litre.
Commenting on the initiatve, says P I Sheikh Pareeth, director, Kerala Tourism, "This is the first time that we could extend Onam celebrations to airport, which is intended to give an immediate idea about Onam and Kerala's culture to tourists,".
Many tourists , especially foreigners seemed enthusiastic on seeing the grandeur of Mahabali along with the charismatic costume of Kathakali and loves to be photographed with both.
Brochures and leaflets consisting of programme details and venues of cultural extravaganza organized in the city as part of Onam celebrations were also distributed at the tourism information office at the Trivandrum airport. Tourism Minister A P Anil Kumar appreciated the tourism department's efforts to attract foreigners and other state tourists visiting the city and also expressed his gratitude towards Thiruvananthapuram Airport Authority director , George G Tharakan for approving tourism department's venture.