11 Feb 2013

The Priceless Experience of Onam

One of the major port cities of west India, Kochi, Cochin or Ernakulum is a city that adds to the beauty of God’s own country, Kerala. The most populated city of the state, Kochi also has the highest number of tourists in the country.

While the population in Kochi is a mix of people of many cultures due to the constant migration to the city over centuries, one time of the year that sees the entire city excited and has many tourists flocking to Kochi is during the traditional Kerala festival, Onam. Other festivals like Holi, Christmas, Easter and Eid are also celebrated with gusto. The Jewish community in Kochi is also very prominent, and the synagogues in multiple locations are telling of this culture.
Onam pookkalam (photo courtesy:http:holidays.vgreets.com) 
Sadhya Meal , The Traditional Onam Feast (Photo Courtesy: paahun.blogspot.in)
Onam is generally celebrated between August and September, during the month of Chingam. The festival commemorates Lord Vishnu in Vamana avatar, and celebrates the homecoming of legendary Emperor Mahabali. Onam is celebrated with high spirited enthusiasm, complete with intricate carpets made of flowers (called Pookalam), feasts fit for Kings, snake boat races, and so on. The feasts are nine-course meals with about thirteen different kinds of dishes served on a banana peel. It is a time to play games as well when men play rigorous sports, and the women make the intricately designed flower mats.
The Popular thripunithura athachamayam festival in onam (photo courtesy:goindia.about.com)
The Colorful Folk Art Pulikali Onam (photo courtesy:godsowncountrys.com)
The Great kathakali dance performance (photo courtesy:foodnightlifeblog.buzzintown.com)
Onam is an ancient festival celebrated by Malayalis and Mahabali has been revered by people of Kerala since time immemorial. The legend behind the festival is that during the rule of King Mahabali, Kerala experienced a Golden Age and according to the Brahma-Vaivarta Puranam, Mahabali was put in a position of power by Lord Vishnu to curb the pride of Lord Indra. Lord Vishnu’s plan worked as Mahabali was very popular among the his subjects and almost equalled Lord Indra in stature. After assuring that Lord Indra’s pride had been contained, he went to Mahabali in the guise of a dwarf, Vamana. Vamana requested 3 footsteps space to live in, and Mahabali granted this request. Vamana enlarged himself so much so that he was able to step on all three worlds in two steps, and Mahabali offered Vamana his head to step on as a third step. Vamana stepped on the King’s head, sending him to the netherworld, but had to wait until the next Yuga or era to be Indra. In the meantime, with Vishnu’s blessings, he visited his people once a year. This annual visit and the wisdom of Lord Vishnu as Vamana is what is celebrated as Onam every year.  
The famous snake boat race completes Onam (photo: hazimiai.wordpress.com)
Being one the best festivals to witness, start planning your trip with SpiceJet to Kerala. Simply get on to any of our Kochi Flights and experience one of the top visited destinations of this country in all its glory. 


  1. What a wonderful celebration. You can feel the festivity in these well-captured photos. My best Onam greetings to all Keralite around the world... Happy Onam!

  2. Great spectacles and celebrations, so this is how Onam festival looks like... I love the photos you feature and you can almost feel the fun and festivity through them. Happy Onam to all Malayalee!

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