The picturesque Kerala is very rightly called, "God's own country". The state is bordered by Arabian Sea on the East and Western Ghats on the West. The vast geographical diversity makes it a beautiful and favourite tourist destination. Kerala should be destination of choice to quench your wanderlust thirst.
The state is adorned with quaint hills, immaculate backwaters, bonny woods and gorgeous beaches. You should visit Kerala irrespective of being a sea-person or hill-person, adventure-lover or peace-seeker. From ayurvedic spa to tea plantation, there is a lot to explore to make myriad memories.
Though you can visit Kerala all round the year, the best time to visit is definitely during Onam. You can feel the festivities in the air.
Onam is essentially a harvest festival. It is celebrated for 10 days. The last or the 10th day is the main festive day.
According to mythology, Kerala was ruled justly by King Mahabali. His kingdom became very prosperous in his reign. Lord Vishnu came to visit him in the form of a dwarf or "Vaman" avatar. He requested for three feet of land from the benevolent king. When King Mahabali readily agreed, Lord Vishnu grew in size and covered the entire world by his two feet. Then, King Mahabali offered the Lord to step on his head. Lord Vishnu was moved by his benignity and blessed his kingdom. Since then, King Mahabali has been living in heaven and visits his kingdom once every year. Onam is celebrated to welcome King Mahabali. Everyone cleans and decorates their house with flower rangolis to welcome the King on the 10th day of Onam.
The major attractions of the festival are:
The Onam celebrations begin with the Athachamayam parades from Thripunithura to Thrikkakara Temple. The processions are a beautiful display of Kerala's culture and heritage. Artists depict the various folk art forms of Kerala. Sometimes the parades also depict mythical or historical scenes. Elephants are a notable feature of the parades. They are beautifully decorated and marched along to celebrate the victory of the King of Kochi. People generally wear traditional clothes to participate or watch the parade.
Did you enjoy the carnival spirit? Then you definitely must visit the Carnival in Goa as well. That is a one-of-a-kind carnival reflecting the Portuguese-Goanese culture and heritage.
As you would be busy enjoying the festivities all day, you must rent hotel rooms only when required. Booking a hotel for an entire day or your entire stay is expensive and cumbersome.
2. Thrikkakara Temple
The Thrikkakara temple is Lord Vishnu's temple. There is an idol depicting the Vaman avatar of the Lord inside the temple. The beautifully decorated temple is a captivating sight. Many events occur in the temple during this time. The most remarkable one is the elaborate sadya feast. Many people visit the temple to partake a morsel of the meal.
The word Pulikali can be broken into two words: Puli and Kali. Literally, Puli means leopard and Kali means art.
Artists paint themselves to look like leopards and act accordingly. The person who manages to be the best leopard is awarded at the end of the event.
Join the fun and be mesmerised by the carnival vibes. You should also visit Mysore during Dussehra and enjoy similar pomp and show.
You can book a dayuse hotel on the street and watch all the fun and galore from the comfort of your room.
Kummattikali is another unique art form like Pulikali. Here, men are dressed in grass and masks. This is extensively a dance form. According to folklore, Lord Shiva had commanded this type of dance form to the Bhoothas.
5. Snake Boat Race
Many boatmen join the competition to compete against one another. The long boats are beautifully decorated. It is quite an enticing sight to behold as all the boats row to outperform others.
The Ganesh Chaturthi immersion processions in Mumbai are equally captivating. Remember to reserve a date with Ganpati to enjoy the extravaganza.
As you would be attending various competitions all day, it would be wise to book hotels only when you want to rest.
6. Government Events
The Kerala tourism arranges a plethora of events to celebrate the festival. All the cultural galore are a reflection of the rich Kerala culture and history. The cultural fiesta is a display of the various art forms of Kerala.
6. Traditional Games
Onakalikal and Talappanthukali are some of the favourite games played during Onam. While Talappanthukali is a famous ball game, Onakalikal is something like a regular "tug-of-war".
7. Back Waters
The lovely Kerala back waters set the perfect backdrop for a romantic date. You can always surprise your better half at one of the most enchanting venues in the world. You would find a multitude of couple-friendly hotels for the perfect date night.
Even in the middle of all the Onam frenzy, you should carve out some time for the pristine beauty of the back waters.
8. Tea Plantations
God's own country has some of the finest collection of tea. The tea plantations of Kerala are not only a heaven for all the tea-lovers. The scenic beauty would enthral one and all. You should definitely spend a day in the midst of tea and fall in love again.
The state is bordered by the Arabian Sea on the east. Hence, it has some of the most beautiful beaches adorned with palm trees. You can enjoy a relaxing day sun-bathing and building sand castles.
Nevertheless, it would be wise to book hourly hotels as you would travel around Kerala to savour the beautiful festival. Onam is the national festival of Kerala and you can easily feel the festivities in the air. So, just let your hair loose and soak in the revelry. After reaching Kerala, you must rest at a nearby hotel by booking it only for a few hours. The long and tiring travel can take a toll on your health and ruin your entire vacation mood. So plan your vacation wisely and always stick to staying in hourly hotels.