Thiruvananthapuram | In a rare fusion of two traditional art forms, exponents of Kalaripayatu, the classical martial art form of Kerala and Shaolin Kung Fu, performed at the Chinese capital of Beijing today as part of a programme organised by Kerala Tourism. Six performers of ‘Kalaripayattu’ joined hands with Shaolin exponents at ‘Kerala Evening’, a programme organised at the Indian Embassy in Beijing, Kerala Tourism Minister A P Anilkumar, presently leading a high-level state delegation to China, said in a release here.
Kerala Tourism is making its foray into China, a vast market with 107 million Chinese tourists traveling worldwide, according to figures available for 2014. A shared cultural heritage was the theme as Shaolin exponents effortlessly mingled with Kalaripayattu performers in a scintillating display of martial arts. Two Kathakali artists from Kerala then went on to enthrall the audience, which had the whos who of Chinese travel and tourism industry.
The breathtaking fusion of Kalaripayattu and Shaolin showed that Kerala and China have a lot in common, said Anilkumar. Like Kerala, China has a rich tradition of classical art forms such as the famous Dragon dance, making it easy for us to understand the country and its culture and also for the people of China to understand our culture, a press release quoting the minister said.
Relations between the people of China and Kerala go back to centuries when traders from China and Kerala exchanged commodities like spices and silk, the minister said, adding that China and Kerala shared several cultural traditions like martial arts, ancient medicinal systems and even kitchen utensils. Kerala is a tiny state of India, but it is blessed with a rich geographical and cultural diversity, said Kerala Chief Secretary, Jiji Thomson, who is part of the state delegation.
With an easy connectivity and ideal proximity, Kerala is a natural destination for visitors from China. The first thing that tourists from worldwide see on our famous backwaters is the Chinese fishing net along its coast. The most important thing in a kitchen in Kerala is the Chinese frying pan, Thomson said.
Indian Ambassador to China Ashok K Kantha was among those present along with the Kerala Chief Secretary and Tourism Secretary G Kamala Vardhana Rao. A highlight of the occasion was a presentation on Kerala’s destinations by Rao. Buoyed by the enthusiastic response to the martial arts fusion and Kathakali performance, Kerala Tourism will organise a repeat show of the two performances for the general public at the Indian Embassy tomorrow.
A similar show will also be organised tomorrow at the venue of the Beijing International Tourism Expo (BITE) 2015, which began today. ‘Kalaripayattu and backwaters’ is the theme of the Kerala Tourism pavilion at BITE 2015. It is for the first time that Kerala Tourism is participating in the three-day BITE, the premier travel and tourism fair in Asia, officials said. Kerala Tourism and its industry partners from the state will also participate in a road show in Shanghai on June 30. It will be the first road show ever by the state tourism in China, they said.
The visit by the Kerala Tourism delegation comes close on the heels of the three-day state visit to China by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May, during which he announced Visa on Arrival for tourists from China. As many as nine private trade partners of Kerala Tourism are taking part in BITE 2015.
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