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Guruvayur Kesavan comes alive on a field in Kerala

Farmer uses rice paddy art to replicate image.

A 3D replica of the legendary elephant, Guruvayur Kesavan, is taking shape on a farmland in Kerala’s Wayanad district.

Praseed Kumar, a progressive farmer at Thayyil in Sulthan Bathery, is using rice paddy art, a 3D art form, to depict the celebrated Guruvayur temple elephant that died in 1976.

Four varieties used

Mr. Kumar has used the violet-coloured Krishna Kamod, a Basmati rice variety, and Karuvachi, an indigenous rice variety of Wayanad, to give shape to the image. He also used Gandhakasala and Jeerakasala, two rice varieties of the district known for their aroma, for setting the border of the art work.

This is the third consecutive year that Mr. Kumar is creating eye-catching shapes in his rice field at Nambikkolly under the Nenmeni Krishi Bhavan. “The farmers of Inakadate village in Japan started using paddy art, a landscape design, to beautify their fields three decades ago. They drew huge replicas of famous paintings, including Mona Lisa, by growing rice crops with fronds of different colours. This art form is called Tanbo Art or rice paddy art,” Mr. Kumar said.

“Today, Inakadate art forms draw over 2,00,000 visitors a year to the small village, which has a population of only 7,985,” Mr. Kumar said.

“Farm tourism is gradually flourishing in the district too and the art form will help farmers get a share of the tourism industry’s profits,” Mr. Kumar said.

“If the Japanese farmers can attract the attention of a huge crowd, we can also replicate it here with the support of governments,” the young farmer said. It would also encourage local youth to take up agriculture seriously, in turn ensuring food security, he said.

₹5,000 spent on artwork

Mr. Kumar has spent nearly ₹5,000 for the art work on 20 cents of farmland. A. Prasad, an artist of A1 Art at Sulthan Bathery, drew the outline.

Mr. Kumar has also cultivated 51 rare varieties of rice seeds on his 6 acres of land and has a website to market the seeds.

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