Chennai: Sangam-era artefacts excavated at Keeladi and Odisha’s famed sand sculptures will greet visitors at the 43rd Chennai Book Fair to be held at YMCA ground in Nandanam from January 9 to 21.
The Booksellers and Publishers’ Association of South India (BAPASI), with help from the archaeology department, has built a special auditorium for visitors to view the artefacts excavated from Keeladi in Sivaganga. “We have an exhibition at Madurai displaying Keeladi artefacts. A major collection of artefacts from that exhibition will be displayed at the bookfair,” said T Udhayachandran, commissioner of archaeology, Tamil Nadu. Replicas of some of the critical items which cannot be transported will be made.
“To see the artefacts one has to travel to Madurai. We are giving an opportunity to Chennaiites at the book fair to witness the Sangam-era artefacts,” he said.
The auditorium will also have virtual reality gears where visitors will get a feel of walking through the excavation site. Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik will create a sand sculpture of Tamil saint-poet Thiruvalluvar at the entrance of the venue.
Two crore books will be on display at the fair. There will be more than 750 stalls.
“Chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami would inaugurate the fair on January 9,” said R S Shanmugam, president of BAPASI. Publishers and booksellers have announced a 10% discount for all books at the fair.
“We have distributed five lakh free tickets to schools in and around Chennai to attract children to the fair. Last year, we had more than 20 lakh visitors and we expect more than 40 lakh visitors this year,” said BAPASI secretary S K Murugan.
The book fair will also have an 800sqft resting area.
“To connect writers, readers and publishers, BAPASI will hold an event called ‘Eluthalar Mutram’ (Writers Courtyard) where famous writers will introduce their books,” he said.
There will be oratory, drawing and quiz competitions for students. Short films and documentaries having social themes will be screened in an auditorium arranged separately for the purpose. Online tickets, wheel chairs for differently abled and mobile ATMs will also be made available. The fair will be open from 3pm to 9pm on weekdays and 11am to 9pm on holidays.

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