The four-day state-level Yuvajana Mela started with a colourful procession from Sri Mahalingeshwara temple to Sudana School, the venue of the festival, wherein thousands of youths, representing all the 30 districts of the state, took part.
Temple Committee president N Sudhakar Shetty inaugurated the procession.
Besides the cultural troupes, such as all-women Chende team, band team, attractive dolls and dance teams, several teams, representing various districts, attracted the onlookers with their unique costumes.
Addressing the mega event on Sudana School premises, Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat President Meenakshi Shanthigodu called upon the youths to revive the folk arts of the state, which have been slowly forgotten.
Lauding the youths for coming from faraway districts, she said that the Yuvajana Mela, being jointly organised by the district administration, Zilla Panchayat, Youth Empowerment and Sports Department, District and State Yuvajana Okkoota, Puttur Taluk Yuvajana Okkoota and Sudana Residential School, will be a good platform for youths to showcase their talents.
Presiding over the inaugural programme, MLA T Shakunthala Shetty hoped that the four-day event will be a good opportunity for the youths to involve themselves in various activities that depict the culture of the state.
Calling upon the youth organisations to appeal the government to reserve at least 10 cents of land for Yuvaka Mandala as well as Yuvathi Mandala in every village, she said that she too will press for the demand, if the demand comes from the youth organisations.
Addressing the gathering after releasing 'Yuva Sangama,' a souvenir, Zilla Panchayat Vice President Kasturi Panja stressed the need to bring the young talents under one roof.
"The youths should join hands to build a bright nation," she said.
Earlier, welcoming the gathering, Youth Services and Sports Department deputy director Pradeep D'Souza said that for the first time in the history of state Yuvajana Mela, participants from all the 30 districts are taking part in various events as on earlier occasions. But only the winning teams can take part in the Yuvajana Mela, D'Souza said.
"The aim is to bring together youths from all the 30 districts of the state together under one platform," he said adding that arrangements have been made to stay in 14 schools in the vicinity.
"Arrangements for 2,000 young women have been made at Vivekananda schools at Thenkila," he said.
The contests in the four-day fest include Bhaavageethe, Laavani, Rangageethe, solo acting (all individual), Geegi pada, folk songs, folk dance, Kolata and Bhajans (all group); Veeragaase, Dollu Kunitha, Doddata, Sannata, Yakshagana and percussion instruments (all for young men only) and Raagi Beesuva Pada and Shobane Pada (for women only).
Taluk Panchayat President Bhavani Chidanand, TMC President Jayanthi Balnad, Puttur AC Dr Krishnamurthy, District Yuvajana Okkuta President Suresh Rai, State Yuvajana Okkoota General Secretary Dr Balaji and Sudana Institute convener Rev Vijay Harwin were present.