Festivals of Kerala are festivals of a lifetime. They are inherited from an age old tradition that exudes the essence of Kerala. Visiting Kerala or God’s Own Land is a Paradise found for travelers. Enjoy the magic colours of Pooram, Vela, Thalappoli and Utsavam.
Pooram is a remarkable event when the gods and goddess arrive on splendidly adorned tuskers for a celebration. The festival is a spectacle of magnificence and majesty. Ten to hundred caparisoned tuskers stand in front of the temple premises with the mahouts atop holding ornate silk umbrellas, white tufts and peacock feather fans, all swaying to the rhythm of the music.
Onam is the most popular of Kerala’s festivals. It honours Mahabali, a selfish ruler whose subjects so content that envious gods tricked him into losing his life and kingdom. His last wish was to visit his people once a year to ensure that they were happy. During Onam, an aura of plenty is created to gladden Mahabali’s heart. Great feasts are prepared, new clothes worn, and courtyards are decorated with floral patterns. The renowned Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held at this time.
Thrissur Pooram is the ceremonial procession of two devis (goddesses) on caparisoned elephants to the Vadakunnathan Temple. The parasols held above the elephants are changed in an exciting synchronized ritual, accompanied by chendamelan, an orchestra of percussion instruments. A display of fireworks marks the climax.
The annual snake boat races are usually held during the second week of August. While these are a much publicized event, there are other festivals where boats are used. In the second week of September, at Aranmula, 128 km from Thiruvananthapuram, a procession of boats and races are held as part of the Parthasarthy Temple Festival.
When you are visiting Kerala, try to watch the snake boat is manned by four helmsmen, followed by twenty five singers and more than hundred of oarsmen who row in union to the fast rhythm of the vanchipattu. Thousands of people crowd the water’s edge to cheer the huge black crafts as they slice through the waters to a spectacular finish.
Vishu is the first day of the Malayali New Year. It is believed that looking upon a group of auspicious objects at dawn ensures a year of peace and prosperity. Utsavam is the annual celebration or festival at a temple. Don’t miss it when you are visiting Kerala.
Vela is a ritual martial art performance by the local people to appease the other goddess also known as Durga or Kali. The ritual is performed in the Devi temples and is a part of the other festivals of Pooram.
Thalappoli is a beautiful parade of the native girls and women in traditional attire with thalam in their hands. The thalam is a brass or silver plate containing rice, flowers, fruits and a lighted lamp, all symbolizing prosperity.
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Visiting Kerala is like visiting God’s own Country!
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