Celebrating Onam Traditionally
And so goes the legend how Lord Vishnu in the guise of a Brahmin boy tricked Mahabali, the generous king of Kerala into relinquishing his kingdom, as the boy grew in size with his footsteps covering the entire earth. The King requested Vishnu that he be allowed to visit his people once every year. This arrival of King Mahabali, to meet his people, is celebrated over the 10 days of Onam. It is a mythical tale, one that every child in Kerala loves to hear and one that every grandparent takes great pleasure in telling, with some exaggerations of their own.
I only need as much land as I can cover with three footsteps of mine.The little brahmin boy (Lord Vishnu in disguise)
- Destination: Kerala
- Nearest City (Airport): Kochi
- Starting/Ending Point: Thrissur Railway Station
- Price: On request
Onam is Kerala’s biggest festival. It sees participation across caste and religious lines. However, there is more to Onam than just the Sadya, the festive meal that is served on a banana leaf. The entire state gets ready to welcome the King Mahabali. There is a shopping frenzy with huge discounts and a whole range of products up for sale- saris, handloom textile, jewellery, handicrafts, bell metal products, ayurvedic products, snacks and sweets, and lots more. Women of the family, especially unmarried ones, perform the Thiruvathira Kali (see picture below) which, it is believed, will help them get a loving and caring bride-groom. Most women though, today, see it is as a bonding moment, of having a good time with family and friends. Folk performances, public parades and competitions are organized. Temples organize community sadyas which sees participation from members of the Muslim and Christian communities. The atmosphere is “zimply” wonderful!
This trip promises to be a good mix of all things local- festivities, community, traditions, history, food, shopping, folk and ritual arts and village life. So let us join the Keralites in welcoming King Mahabali and celebrate this Onam with them.
- Day 1:
- Arrive in the morning at Thrissur, 70 kms north of Kochi city, and head to a river-side resort. Meet a local Nair family at their private residence and enjoy a traditional Onam sadya (festive meal) with them. This will be followed by a traditional festive dance known as Thiru-vathira-kali, performed entirely by local women. Thrissur is the best place to go shopping so we spend the evening doing just that. After shopping, we head back to the resort for dinner and call it a day.
- Day 2:
- We visit a beautiful village known for its ancient traditions and customs, paddy fields, ancestral homes and art forms. We meet a family of shadow puppeteers that practice the art of Tholpava-koothu. "Tholpava" means leather puppets and "Koothu" means dance/performance. A special one hour performance of a scene(s) from the Indian epic Ramayana will be performed just for you by the artiste and his family. After lunch we visit a traditional Kerala Brahmin house, which is open to visitors, and appreciate its design and simplicity. Head back to the resort. Rest of the evening at leisure.
- Day 3:
- The morning is at leisure. We check-out of the resort by mid-day and head to Thrissur. After lunch we assemble at the place where the Puli-kali (Tiger Dance) will be performed by hundreds of men with Tiger tattoos on their body. After the parade we head to the train station for the journey back home.
- Accommodation in a river-side resort in a village.
- Local Transport: Air-conditioned 12-seater Tempo Traveller.
- All Meals – 3 Breakfasts (Days 1, 2, 3), 3 Lunches (Days 1, 2, 3) and 2 Dinners (Days 1, 2). It includes a special Onam Sadya (festive meal) at the house of a local Nair family.
- All special interest experiences listed above- Thiruvathirakali, Tholpavakoothu, Visit to a traditional Kerala Brahmin household and the Tiger Dance parade.
- Services of a Trip Manager.
- All applicable govt. taxes.
- Any expenses that are of a personal nature and not included in the “Inclusions” list above.
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