SANTHIGIRI Fest, the fifty-day long trade fair and cultural event hosted by Santhigiri Ashram, has seen thousands flocking to the tranquil hillock at Pothencode. Beating the heavy rains which had disturbed the fest for a while, the event saw a steady flow of crowds, especially after the start of the summer vacations. While the fair had a flattering array of choices, it also proved to be a convenient stop over where shopping and fun were on offer for families.
“We organised a fest of this kind to cater to the tastes of people of all ages and profiles. There was a steady flow of crowds on week days and approximately five lakh people visited through the weekends,” says Swami Padmaprakasa Jnana Thapaswi, in-charge of Santhigiri Fest celebration division.
Children are delighted at the opportunity to ride on a camel or an elephant here. The fest, which had enough to engage elders as well as children, had Arogya mela, Home Expo, Coir pavilion by the Coir Board, Ice and Snow World and the 3D mini theatre as its highlights. The preparation of the fest, which began one month prior to the event, became a success with the joint efforts of the twenty one departments functioning at the Santhigiri Ashram.
“The concept behind setting up an ‘Arogya Mela’ was to combine the traditional practices of Ayurveda and Siddha. We thought that reviving the ancient knowledge which became dormant over a period of time would be beneficial for people. To introduce Siddha medical system, one of the oldest methods of treatment practiced in Tamil Nadu, we started the first Siddha Medical College in Kerala,” says Swami Padmaprakasa.
The beauty conscious among the visitors have the Herbal beauty clinic van at the fest which sold 450 kinds of beauty products, of which 80 are patented products. Visitors also have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the arts and crafts of tribes from different states, like the Toda embroidery and Kurumba paintings, the exhibitions of which are held at the pavilion of TRIFED. Informative programmes at the fest include the science exhibition, health fair and the international book fair.
There is also good news for shopaholics who haven’t yet visited the fest. “We have extended the fest till June 10 in view of the huge public response. Some stalls put up by individuals will have to be wound up, but the ones set up by the Government and by the Ashram will function till the end of the fest,” says Swami Padmaprakasa.