Thiruvananthapuram: Ask anyone about Kerala,and the answer would be somewhat thus:  ‘Ahhh!! The land of backwaters, beaches, theyyam, handloom and what not’. Talking of Kerala usually brings to everyone’s mind the beaches, backwaters and the mouthwatering cuisine the state offers. Most of the travelers who’ve been to this part of the green world, have categorized Kerala as a destination where one can spend an ultimately relaxing vacation… a getaway place to ease their stress, get an awesome medicinal massage and the like.

This is the common notion which the travelers, online media and even movies have cultivated in the mind of a person who has never been to Kerala. Kerala is much more that all that, in fact.

Monsoon is one season that brings out the best in Kerala. The lush green surroundings, rains and the cool weather with the frequent visit of the sun make it even better. There are many who are fond of visiting Kerala when it rains, just to enjoy the rain and the overflowing rivers. Of late, monsoon has also opened a huge platform for adventure tourism in Kerala. The adventure part of Kerala Tourism still remains hidden. But for some travelers, Kerala is famous as an adventure tourism spot too. Kerala now offers surfing, scuba diving, kayaking etc.

How many of us know that Kerala hosts the Asia’s largest adventure competition? Not many have even heard about the Malabar River Festival, held annually in Kerala during the monsoon. This year, Kerala is all set to host the 6th edition of the Malabar River Festival from July 19- July 22, 2018. And, those of who have taken part in a lot of food, art, and dance festivals would be wondering what River Festival will be like. The Malabar River Festival is akin to the International White Water Kayaking Championship.

Going by the Kerala Tourism website, the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) of Kozhikode and Madras Fun Tools, on behalf of Kerala Tourism, host the festival in the backdrop of green lush of Kerala and its raging rivers. At Malabar River Festival, one will get to see much experienced Kayakers to beginners competing with one another in the rampant rivers of Kerala. Hundreds of participants from around the country would travel down to Kerala just to be part of this extravaganza.

The competitions are held in two categories – Professional and Intermediate.  The competitions will include Downriver, Boater Cross and Slalom. Apart from these, some novel race formats will also be included this year.  Beginners, Intermediate Kayakers, Olympians and Kayaking champions will all be seen participating in the event. Rapid Raja and Rapid Rani will be selected and crowned at the end of the festival. They will be awarded the prize money.

Thusharagiri in Kozhikode, one of the most visited tourist destinations in Kerala, is the venue for this year’s Malabar River Festival. Kerala’s famous Iruvizhanji and Chali rivers had been the venues for the earlier editions of the festival.

The event will also open up Kerala as a huge platform for the kayakers around the world. The idea that kayakers, including beginners, will arrive for the kayaking champions, is a unique feature of the festival. The overflowing rivers in Kerala pose a challenging kayak for the participants. A huge crowd, including the villagers residing on the river banks, and also various other tourists visiting Kerala during that time, will be at the venue to cheer the participants. As of now, apart from Indian contestants, kayakers from places including the US, Italy, Germany, Austria, Russia and France have already registered for the event.

The Malabar River Festival 2018 is expected to stand out from the rest of the editions across the world, as film crew from Germany and France are all set to live stream the four day extravaganza over social media. The crew hailing from Germany is likely to be headed by an award-winning film-maker Olaf Obsommer. It is also being said that the crew is also planning a documentary on famous destinations of Kozhikode district. With this, the state will get a great opportunity to be placed among the prominent adventure tourism destinations in the global tourism map. This, in turn, will also contribute to Kerala’s Monsoon Tourism and Adventure Tourism promotion.

By Manoj

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