Three things define Onam like no other - colours, colours and more colours!
Kerala is a must visit during the annual Onam festival for it is a spectacle to the eye and the soul. With cultural events lasting all night long and kids roaming the streets all day long, Onam is one of the most happening festivals in India. The ten day long festival begins with the gathering at the celebrations of Athachamayam. The now popular name for Athachamayam is Athaghosham. It is believed that King Mahabali leaves to Kerala on this very day. Hence, there are grand processions held annually at Thrippunithura near Kochi.
Elephant processions, traditional dancers, folk artists, enthusiastic musicians, bright coloured devotees, wide-eyed children are what form the heart of Athaghosham. The age old practice of pookalam or floral carpet which is an integral part of Onam, begin this very day.
If celebratory processions mark the start of the festival, it is no different when it ends. The last day of Onam also called thiruonam (sacred onam) simply calls for more celebrations. The pookalam on the last day is the biggest in comparison to the previous nine days.
The grand lunch on thiruonam is a feast you wouldn't want to miss even if there's a flight awaiting you.On the last day, people adorn colourful masks and dance. Puli-kali is the main attraction on thiruonam. Puli-kali, meaning tiger play, is a folk art form where performers get painted as tigers and portray the force of the wild.
The joy and spirit of this day could be a little overwhelming for first-timers. The sounds and the colours of all worlds seem to pour down on earth all at once. There's a sublime sense of order in the extraordinary chaos of so many art-forms coming together. It is an experience better enjoyed first hand than explained in words.
If Thripunithura attracts thousands for the first day of Onam festival, it is Thrissur that attracts a double crowd for the final day. Don't miss an opportunity to visit Kerala during Onam; even if there's a slightest of possibility grab it in both hands. It is sure to leave you lingering with its majestic charm...