Kerala, the southernmost state of India, is a culturally rich place that is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the country. Right from the refreshing hill station of Munnar to the calm beaches of Kovalam and backwaters of Alleppey, Kerala has it all. Witnessing the scenic beauty of Kerala can never get tiring.
Kerala's rich culture and traditions are portrayed to the world through the grand celebration of their festivals. Some of them are unique and are only celebrated in Kerala. So in order to enjoy and understand the very essence of the state's beautiful culture, be part of any of the following 6 festivals of Kerala.
PC: Naveen Sankar
Vishu is a grand festival exclusively celebrated in Kerala and other regions nearby. It is the celebration of a new year, which is followed according to the Malayalam calendar; therefore, it falls on the 14th of April in Gregorian calendar every year. It is also a harvest festival that is celebrated at the beginning of a spring season.
Having Sadya, a meal that is specially designed for the festival, is a specialty; it has a mixture of sweet, sour, salty and bitter food items. Visit revered temples, like Sabarimala Ayyappan Temple, Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple, etc., during Vishu.
PC: Ramesh NG
Onam is a Hindu festival celebrated annually that falls in the months of August or September. It is a harvest festival that commemorates the Vamana avatar of Lord Vishnu as well as the return of the celebrated Hindu mythological character, Emperor Mahabali.
Celebration of Onam includes many interesting activities like Pookkalam - arranging flowers in beautiful abstracts or forms, Pulikali - a dance form where men paint themselves as tigers, Kummati Kali - a dance where performers wear a mask and so on.
Kerala Boat Festival
The immensely diverse and rich culture of Kerala comes together during the Kerala Boat Festival that is held every year; it reflects the brilliant talent and team spirit of the participants during this festival. Locally known as Vallam Kali, boat races have been happening in Kerala from a long time.
Nehru Trophy Boat Race is one of the most important events, which is always held during the second Saturday of August. These events are held at the famous backwaters of Kerala. Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held in Punnamada Lake near Alleppey.
One of the most awaited festivals of Kerala, Thrissur Pooram is a boisterous festival that is celebrated at the Vadakkunnathan Temple at Thrissur. All of traditions, culture and the very essence of Kerala comes alive during this festival, which is held when the moon rises with the Pooram star.
It falls in the months of April or May. It is an exhibition of hundreds of elephants, which are finely decorated and lined in front of the temple. The festival is celebrated with pomp by displaying fireworks, a musical performance using native instruments and so on.
Theyyam festival is the Dance of Gods, an 800-year-old festival where dance, music, drama and mythological stories and characters blend together for a spectacular performance. The people performing Theyyam adorn themselves as deities for the performance. This dance festival is held in the honour of heroes and ancestral spirits.
The boisterous festival of Makara Vilakku takes place on 14th January and goes on for 7 days, at the revered shrine of Sabarimala. It begins on the day of Makara Sankranti.
It takes place every year and millions of devotees crowd the temple during the festival. One of the most important attractions of this festival is the aarti that takes place, which is what is known as Makara Vilakku.