Malli stall comes up at airport

Exclusive Madurai malli (jasmine) stall opens at international terminal of Madurai Airport.
Madurai: With SpiceJet’s Mad­urai-Dubai flight taking off tonight, putting the customs airport in the Temple City on an expansion mode, a stall exclusively for Madurai malli (jasmine), which the city is famous for, was opened to promote the flower known for its fragrance in the international market.
N. Jegatheesan, malli exporter and president of Tamil Nadu Chamber of Com­m­erce and Industry, has taken a small 4x4 square feet space at the international terminal on rent to make the queen of flowers available for arriving and departing passengers.
The neatly strung fresh jasmines, tied with banana fibre, is sold in two boxes1.5 m long strand for Rs 100, and 3 m long string for Rs 300. Given that stringing the buds is an art perfected by the flower sellers of Madurai, and is looked at with awe by tourists, a skilled jasmine ‘weaver’ has been engaged to keep tying the flowers to demonstrate the craft to tourists.
Union minister of state for commerce and industry E.M. Suda­rsana Natch­iappan, wh­o inaugurated the stall on Friday, welcomed the move to have a sta­nd for Madurai malli at the airport as the flow­er, like the Meenakshi tem­ple, is synonymous with the city’s heritage. He urged the trade and industrialists to take steps to promote the flower in the international market.
On day one, the patr­onage for malli boxes was good. “We kept 50 boxes for sale as it was the opening day. But to our surprise, all were sold out even bef­ore the arrival of passe­ngers of the inaugural Dubai flight,” Jegat­heesan said. If the swanky airport s­ports a jasmine stall no­w to help passengers gra­b a strand or two, the­ book Madurai Ma­llig­ai authored by educ­ati­onist, Dr Uma Kan­nan, has already been made available to help international tour­ists have an insight of th­e city’s ubiquitous flo­­wer and its versatility.
( Source : dc )
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