In India, harvest festivals are very popular, Lohri in Punjab and Onam in Kerala are two popular harvest festivals, which also showcases the local culture.
Onam is the biggest festival in Kerala (India), and the festivities continue for ten days. It is also celebrated to mark the homecoming and coronation of ancient mythical Emperor Mahabali. Onam is a good time to see the rich culture and heritage of Kerala.
Onam is celebrated in the beginning of the Malayalam Calendar.
Top places in Kerala to enjoy Onam
Onam is the biggest cultural festival of Kerala. The cities where major celebrations take place include Kottayam, Trivandrum, Kochi and Thrissur etc.
The festival is celebrated as tourism week by the Kerala state government. Its a great time to see and experience Malayalam culture.
Top Onam Festival Attractions
- Thripunithura Athachamayam: Athachamayam festival, featuring a street parade, marks the beginning of Onam. The parade includes various Kerala art forms, dancers, decorated elephants, carnival floats and musicians etc.
This parade is actually organized to mark the similar march of the Maharaja of Kochi, when he used to ride the elephant to visit Thrikkakara Temple on his way from Tripunithura, his native place.
Watch: Atham Procession
- Onasadya: Onam is also the festival of delicacies and recipes, when you get to relish tasty Kerala foods. It includes more than 20 wonderful curries served on a banana leaf. Restaurants in every nook and corner of Kerala offer this tasty treat.
“Happy Onam my Mallu brethren… There is no meal that I love more than Onam Sadhya… and my mum Joyce Arora is just the world’s bestest cook,” Malaika. Malika posted drool worthy pictures of the traditional meal called Thiruvonam Nakshathram on Onam. In the picture, she’s seen with Karisma Kapoor, Amrita Arora, her husband Shakeel Ladak and socialite Anu Dewan.
Watch: Kerala Onasadhya Recipe
- Aranmula Snake Boat Race: The main attraction of the Onam Festival in Kerala is its snake boat races. The Aranmula Boat Race being the oldest and the most popular boat race in Kerala attracts the largest crowd. It begins in the afternoon until all of the religious rituals are completed.
Watch: Aranmula Boat Race
- Pulikkali Tiger Play: Hundreds of people dress up as tigers and dance to the beats of traditional music to mark Onam celebrations. It takes hours to dress-up and decorate as a tiger, the entire body is painted, which they wash later with kerosene oil. The tiger dance is followed by the prize ceremony, where the best dressed tiger is awarded.
Watch: Folk art Pulikali Tiger dance
- The week long Onam celebrations: Weeklong celebrations are held in greater Trivandrum area. The hotspot of the events is Vellar Tourist Village, which is located in Kovalam.