The festival is from December 22 to January 2
For a scenic and peaceful Christmas away from the maddening crowd, head to ‘Christmas-New Year Fest’, which begins on December 22 at Vavvamoola Bund Road on the banks of Vellayani Lake. One of the most picturesque spots in the city, it will host a spectrum of events till January 2.
The programme is an initiative of Neerthadakam, an environment conservation forum formed by a group of youngsters in 2014 to save the Vellayani lake, the second largest freshwater lake in Kerala.
“Our objective is to create awareness about the importance of the lake and its ecosystem. That’s why we started Kayal Fest in 2016 by the banks of the lake during Onam, which featured exhibition and sale of agricultural produce and handicrafts, food, games and cultural competitions. We had three editions of Kayal Fest. This is the first edition of the Christmas-New Year festival,” says Kiran AJ, founder and director of Neerthadakam.
A view of Vellayani lake from Vavvamoola
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Among the attractions at the fete will be a 51-ft-high figure of Santa Claus, decorated cribs, food stalls with ethnic and traditional eats, sale of art, craft and fabric, and games. “We have roped in the cooperation of the people from the neighbourhood. Most of the products on sale will be showcased by people living in and around the lake. The general perception has been that the lake benefits only the fisherfolk. But we wanted to show how it is also possible to tap into its tourism potential by keeping it clean and holding such events, thereby earning a livelihood for the people living in its vicinity,” says Kiran.
During the event, visitors can take a 30-minute boat ride along the Vavvamoola part of the lake in a pedal boat acquired by Neerthadakam.
“Thanks to concerted efforts, this part of the lake is clean and we want people to enjoy the scenery and do a bit of bird watching from the boat.” Neerthadakam has been working alongside institutions and organisations such as kanthari, Swasthi Foundation, Indus Cycling Embassy, various professional colleges, cycling clubs and schools in and around the city to conserve the lake that was getting choked by garbage and invasive weeds.
“Neerthadakam was launched with five members. Now there are 75 of us and this includes ward members, school and college students, retired professionals, social activists, environmentalists… most of whom have voluntarily.
Members of Neerthadakam
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“Now residents’ associations, local self-government bodies and the State government have also stepped in. There was a time when only a few people knew about Vavvamoola. But we natives of this place are extremely happy with the positive change and this festival is an invite for everyone to be part of the ongoing initiatives to revive the lake,” adds the 27-year-old.
The forum has a bird watching club as well, which goes on monthly trails and collect data about the avian population. Twenty-one members have undergone training and they take classes in schools. Photographs taken by the members will be exhibited at the venue of the event. “We are setting an example since we want similar efforts to save water bodies in and around the district,” he says.
The fête is open from 8 am to 9 pm. Entry fee for amusements is ₹30 and boat ride costs ₹50 per head. Contact: 9745900934
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