Onam Festival 2012 is coming. It is the biggest annual festival in the state of Kerala, India. This two week harvest celebration also marks the beginning of the new year of the Malayalam calendar. Many festivities take place across the state during this time, so we’ve compiled the top five Onam festival attractions you shouldn’t miss on Onam 2012!
Thripunithura Athachamayam 2012
The Athachamayam festival starts off the celebrations with colorful festivities! Feast your eyes on various sights such as a street parade and Onam activity that dates back to the Maharaja of Kochi, who used to march from Tripunithura to the Vamanamoorthy Temple in Thrikkakara. Nowadays, this parade is a spectacle of colorful floats, decorated elephants, musicians, and different art forms and Onam dance performances. Even newcomers will be overwhelmed with delight as the whole community celebrates with floral arrangements, known as Onam pookalam, various street stalls, and lively Onam decorations.
Tips: Go to Tripunithura, which is near Ernakulam (greater Kochi), during Atham. This is ten days before Thiru Onam, otherwise known as the main day of Onam or the Second Onam. Find more information about Onam…
Onam Festival isn’t complete without a feast! Traditionally known as Onasadya, this feast consists of many special Onam dishes – often made with more than twenty different curries! Expect to be served such scrumptious Onam foods on a banana leaf. A little exploration in Kerala will reward you with a tasty feast. You will surely enjoy a grand feast consisting of different onam sadhya recipes.
Tips: You won’t need to search far as you can eat this feast at various restaurants in cities in Kerala, just take note that Onam Sadhya is held on Thiru Onam, the main Onam day. More information about Onam Sadhya and Onasadya Recipes.
Pulikkali Tiger Play 2012
Watch as hundreds of human tigers dance to the beat of traditional percussion instruments! This traditional Onam dance performance displays the art of Pulikkali – and the effort and work of those who prepare for it! An individual male performer takes four hours to transform from human to tiger! Not only that, but all their body hair needs to be removed so that intricate details can be painted on. After the celebration, dancers use kerosene to remove the paint. What a wild way to celebrate!
Tips: This performance is held on the Fourth Onam day at the Swaraj Round in Thrissur. Find more information about Pulikkali Dance.
Aranmula Snake Boat Race 2012
This popular snake boat race is a must-see at the Onam festival! The Aranmula Boat Race is one of the oldest snake boat races in Kerala, and it is famous for prioritizing tradition over competition. Held in the banks of the Pampa River, this sporting event celebrates the installation of the idol of Lord Krishna at the nearby Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. This race starts in the afternoon after religious rituals, and around fifty boats take part in commemorating the festival.
Tips: Travel half an hour by road from the Changannur railway station to Aranmula, where you can locate the banks of the Pampa River near the Parthasarthy temple. This race takes place towards the end of Onam.
Onam Week Celebrations 2012
Kerala has designated around twenty tourist spots in the state capital of Trivandrum! These festivities aim to introduce cultural heritage and traditions in various forms. You can visit stage shows including drama and classical dance, eat from food stalls, see folk art, and participate in handicraft fairs. This day culminates in a grand parade of elephants and floats on the last day of the Onam festival.
Tips: Go around Trivandrum and explore places nearby. The Vellar Tourist Village or Koyalam Tourist Village on the outskirts of Trivandrum also hosts events you can enjoy. These festivities begin on the First Onam (the day before the main Onam day), and continues on until the next week.