By Damini Singh
While Indian citizens generally celebrate festivals which have developed from religious and ancient origins, there are some events and exhibitions that hold both cultural as well as environmental value, and show every sign of becoming long-standing traditions. Although different kinds of flower exhibits are organised throughout the country, the state of Kerala plays host to one uniquely popular flower show, Pooppoli.
Significance of flowers
Flowers have always been special to human beings. They are used for beautification of homes and gardens. People often gift each other beautiful arrangements or bouquets of flowers on occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries—or for that matter, any big day in a person’s life. Pressing flower petals dry and collecting them is a hobby many people cultivate. Flowers are used in soaps, fragrances, essential oils, body washes, and in any other product that requires an aromatic element.
Keeping in mind the immense love that people have for flowers, along with the instant splash of beauty and colours that these blossoms spread, Kerala Agriculture University (KAU), situated in Thrissur, Kerala, hosts Pooppoli—a state level flower show and agricultural fest, at its Regional Agriculture Research Station (RARS). A festival that celebrates flora and fauna, Pooppoli is truly a remarkable and unique festival to have come up in recent years.
History and special features
The first striking point is the scale of this show. The expo, which involves over 350 stalls, multiple research organisations, state departments and institutions, involves over ten acres of floral displays. Apart from about two acres each of rose and gladiolus gardens and three acres of dahlia garden, this rare and beautiful collection also comprises of gerbera garden, moon garden (with white flowers), sun garden (with red and yellow flowers) as well as an immense collection of ornamental birds.
What makes this festival a truly enjoyable experience is the multitude of attractions besides the breathtaking flower displays. Past editions of the expo have held cultural evenings, food stalls, nursery stalls, a collection of fruit trees and planting materials – as well as joy rides for children. The 2016 edition of Pooppoli included a replica of the Taj Mahal, which was constructed on a 10,000 sq. feet plot next to the lake.
Progress along the years
The exhibition’s first ever edition was conceptualised and held in 2014. Following the spirit of the phrase “every flower is a soul blossoming in nature”, the event was first organised by KAU, in association with other agricultural societies and government organisations. Held at RARS, Ambalavayal, this show sees great success every year, drawing in crowds, and organising seminars and conducting training in order to impart the latest horticulture and agriculture techniques. The 2016 edition of Pooppoli also held an “International Symposium on Succulents and other Ornamentals”, under the aegis of the prestigious institute, International Society for Horticulture Science (ISHS). The 2017 edition held a technology week imparting training to farmers in various fields in agriculture, such as commercial horticulture and hi-tech farming, proving to be more than just an ordinary flower show.
It is not just the rose garden, with its 1600 plus varieties of roses, which is the cynosure of the eye—the expo has drawn praise for its cultivation and subsequent exhibition of an over 1400 orchid varieties, 100 varieties of gladiolus, over 5,000 varieties of dahlia, 150 varieties of gerbera, and almost 5,000 varieties of cactus and orchids, assembled from all corners of the country. Accompanying this flora were rare varieties of rice, ginger and turmeric rhizomes, as well as RARS processed products, made from fruits like litchi, jackfruit, plantain and strawberry. Having attracted over 20 lakh people, a number increasing with every passing edition, this is one of the most successful and upcoming exhibits in the country.
This exhibit has, despite the few numbers of years passed since its inception, encouraged and implemented environment-friendly measures and technology. Exhibitions of modern agricultural tools and 200+ sales counters for the sale of seeds, flowers, vegetables, and tools ensures that the farmers of the state attending the show get high-quality agricultural materials. This helps in reducing the usage of low-quality, environment degrading materials.
However, maintenance of the quality of the flowers can lead to usage of certain chemical fertilisers and pesticides, which cause harm to the soil, as well as the air. These pollutants contribute greatly to the increase of stressors in the lower layers of the atmosphere, leading to breathing problems among people. The organisation of a festival that takes place on such a large scale thus requires the usage of a large amount of these stressors.
Another environmental consequence is that of holding a massive show itself. Joy rides, sound systems and extravagant stalls consume a huge amount of electricity. Moreover, the generators, which are used to supply power, are sources of air pollution. Large involvement of people also leads to cleanliness problems and soil, water and noise pollution.
There are a lot many flowers shows that take place all over India, in different months, and over different spans of time. However, Pooppoli is different from all of those in a lot of many aspects.
The first difference lies in the fact that most flower shows either centre around only one flower or display a select variety of flora. Pooppoli, however, is known for the exorbitant variety displayed. From orchids to gardenias, cacti to roses, fruit plants to chrysanthemums, this exhibit has them all.
Another difference is that this exhibit has heavy participation, both in terms of participants as well as organisers. With 200+ exhibit stalls and over 20 lakh participants, it is one of the most successful and renowned flower shows in the country.
A third difference is that this show has a lot of cultural celebrations going in the later parts of the days. Musicians and performance artists from all over the country come to the show and perform. There are joy rides and food stalls present, for entertainment purposes. It is one celebration that can be attended by every age group, irrespective of their interests in flowers and horticulture.
Thus, Pooppoli is an example of the quintessential Indian culture, which celebrates beauty and nature in all its forms. It keeps drawing crowds and converses with the general population, spreading awareness about horticulture, agriculture and good old flowers.
Featured Image Source: Visual Hunt
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