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Kerala is one of the most popular tourist places in India; it is in everyone’s bucket list. While the state is known for its pristine natural landscape, it is also home to some of the most magnificent temples in India and the ever so charming backwaters. Kerala’s rich culture and festivals, especially Onam deserves a special mention, and it gives tons of reasons to visit the state.  

Onam festival in Kerala is celebrated annually to welcome the harvest season. It is the biggest and grandest festival in Kerala that fills every nook and corner in the state with excitement, happiness, and colours. If you have not seen the Onam celebration in Kerala, honestly, you are missing out a lot. Let us give you five reasons why you must visit Kerala during Onam. 

Pulikali  

Pulikali, literally translates to ‘play of the tigers.’ It is one of the unique folk art forms and an important cultural event in Kerala during Onam. In this art form, the men get painted themselves like tigers and perform dances on the streets. The event takes place in the Swaraj Round in Thrissur. Wherever you are, seeing the men perform Pulikali is a sight that is worth travelling. 

No matter, if you have visited Kerala many times before, the rich culture, colourful customs of Kerala like Pulikali that are on display during Onam is the top reason why you must consider visiting Kerala again during the festival.  

Athachamayam

Onam festival celebrations in Kerala begin with the Athachamayam parade from Thripunithura to Thrikkakara Temple. One of the most important processions in Kerala that happens during the Onam festival and gives the world a glimpse of Kerala’s rich cultural heritage. 

Athachamayam is basically a folk art of Kerala that depicts mythical scenes or historical events that holds a great sentimental value for the locals. The most notable thing about this procession that makes it special is the Elephant parade where they are decorated beautifully in honour of the King of Kochi. It is a beautiful sight that will remain etched in your memory for a long time.

Onasadya 

Onam celebrations are incomplete without Onasadya, the grand meal. Like any other festival in India, during Onam, the people of Kerala prepare an elaborate and delicious feast for the family members and guests. And, Onasadya is a traditional feast, which is prepared on the last day of the Onam festival.

The feast include a variety of vegetarian preparations, from pickles to chutneys, and papads to salads. The feast is served on banana leaves and it showcases the rich culinary history and heritage of Kerala. 

There are savoury starters, main course, sides, and delectable desserts like payasam. It is a meal that you must have at least once in your life, and the taste will remain in your memory forever.  

Vallamkali 

Vallmakali is just the Malayalam name for the iconic snake boat race. You may have seen pictures of the snake-like boats racing over the serene backwaters and lakes of Kerala, well, you can see this race for real and live during the Onam festival. The Vallmakali is an integral and important part of the Onam festival celebrations. The long snake boats are known as Chundan Vallam in the local language, and these boats are not ordinary boats. The oarsmen worship the boat as their Gods and they hold a great spiritual value for the locals.  

Every village has one Chundan Vallam and the oarsmen who ride the boat represent their village at the race. For these men the race is not just any ordinary sport, it is a matter of great pride and prestige for them. While there are many races held across Kerala during Onam, the greatest and the grandest of them all is the Nehru Trophy, which is held over Punnamada Lake in Alleppey. And, if you are visiting Alleppey to watch the snake boat race, you can book your stay at the Club Mahindra Arookutty, one of the best resorts in Kerala. The spacious rooms, premium amenities and exclusive experiences at the resort are sure to give you a memorable holiday experience. 

Thirkkakara Temple 

If you are visiting Kerala during Onam, and wish to visit the iconic temples in the state, you would feel delighted. While there are many temples and places of worship in Kerala, the Thirkkakara temple is a must-visit during Onam; it would give you an experience of a lifetime.  

During the first and last day of the festival, the temple exudes a palpable spiritual aura that you may not have experienced anywhere else in the world. Also, the temple comes alive as various dance, music and cultural events are held within its premises. You can see the locals dressed up in traditional attire performing dance and just having a merry. The temple is one of the best places to visit in Kerala to awaken your spiritual senses.  

Onam is undoubtedly one of the grandest festivals of Kerala and visiting the state during the festival, witnessing the celebrations and the customs is sure to give you the best travel experience you have ever had. 

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