Travel in Kerala during Onam with Green Earth Trails
Updated: Apr 2, 2020
Onam would undoubtedly the state festival of Kerala where people of the land celebrate irrespective of religion, caste, creed, and sects. A session of welcoming of the Mythical King Mahabali who once ruled over modern-day Kerala, during when it was a golden era in Kerala. The people were then happier than they could ever be and were so attached to King Mahabali. That is why they believe you should celebrate Onam at any cost. Probably the only time those glitters were not there was in 2018, just after the Kerala floods, still, people celebrated it in their hearts.
Onam falls during the month of August or September, I am still not sure about what is the deciding factor, we get to know all these when we get the calendar for the next year. Having said that, we might not be an encyclopedia, but we could be the only tour operator in Kerala who organized a tour during Onam, giving an opportunity to experience every bit of Onam, probably you could have a look at the following video about the Onam tour we organized in 2019.
Onam is a time of homecoming for most Malayalees, more than five million Malayalees have been working in different countries across the globe. Everyone comes home during Onam which is like a reunion, it is probably those moments and memories hidden deep inside their minds that pop up as nostalgia. Women would be busy in the Kitchen with the Onam Sadhya, children playing out in the courtyard and preparing for the Pookalam (flower carpet), men busy in the backyard cutting the “Thooshanela” (the tip part of the banana leaf) which is going to be their lunch plates. It is a group event or a group effort during Onam. Malayalees who might be reading this blog would have already gone back to the great Onam days of their time.
Mahabali was so popular among the people, that the Gods got Jealous about his popularity. Vishnu came in the avatar of Vamana and pushed the king to the underworld. Before his act, Vamana gave Mahabali his last wish, and Mahabali rightfully requested him, to allow him to visit his people once every year - And that marks the beginning of Onam. Our king was wise, today his name and popularity have gone up manifolds than the Gods could think of. We miss him but Onam compensates for it.
Our Onam tours actually start from Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, and we drive all the way seeing the Cholan temple of Tamil Nadu and finally enter Kerala after Madurai, crossing the Western Ghats. This gives them a chance to experience the transition of entering Kerala and diving into the vibe of Onam. Guests would see flower carpets everywhere, in front of homes, offices, hotels, restaurants, in short everywhere.
It is a ten-day festival and each day there would be some activities out there, during our Onam Kerala tour, we primarily experience the trumpets and the Caparison elephants during the Thiruonam day. The tiger dance, which is like a folk dance procession that happens in the streets, the carnival would have men painted yellow and stripes all over the body and wear a tiger mask. By evening they start their processing and walk across the street dancing to the tunes of the drum beats, there would be a series of tableaus there.
And finally, it is going to be a series of boat races on the Pamba river. Snake boats which are otherwise called as Pallyodams, which are like holy vessels of the Lord Vishnu, take part in the water festival in river Pamba, a vessel represents a village on the banks of the river and can carry up to 100s of rowers. It is a competition among the villagers as to know who is the best and the fastest among them, and the winner is awarded a trophy.
Read our detailed blog about the snake boats or Palliyodams of Aranmula and the Vallasadhya ceremony at the Parthasarathy Temple.
The Onam festive season in God’s own country is about is a fusion of events, festivities, celebrations and a lot of more of cultural extravaganza. For someone to experience it, probably the Only Kerala tour operator who could organize this beautifully could be Green Earth Trails. Apart from Onam, we organise temple festival tours in Kerala - Our experience in organising festival tours to Kerala is beyond comparision - Watch this video of Uthrallikavu Temple Festival and Arrattupuzha Temple Festival in Kerala.