River festival on Feb 22, 23

For the first time, a festival dedicated to a river – Aghanashini River Festival – will be held in Aghanashini village, Kumta taluk, Uttara Kannada district, from February 22 to 23.

The festival is being organised by Eco Watch, Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development, to sensitise people to the biodiversity of the Western Ghats and its ecological importance.

It will be held at the birthplace of the river, said to be the oldest in the country, and worshipped by locals as the destroyer of all sins. It is a prime source of water and livelihood for many locals, especially fishermen. They should be made aware of the increasing commercialisation, exploitation and degrading environment, said Suresh Heblikar, director of Eco Watch.

The place where it joins the Arabian Sea near Gokarna is spectacular and has become a tourist hotspot. Importance should be given to its conservation, Heblikar said. 

Environmentalists, ecologists, historians, scientists and religious leaders will attend the festival, which will be inaugurated by Tourism Minister R V Deshpande.  Cultural performances, traditional boat-riding competition, a cycle rally, an exhibition and special performances by tribals, including members of Siddhi tribe, will mark the celebrations.

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