Onam is the most important harvest festival of ‘God’s own Country’ Kerala. Lasting for 10 days, Onam brings people of Kerala together irrespective of castes and creeds in celebration of the homecoming of legendary emperor Mahabali. Onam is a celebration of many elements of the traditions and culture of Kerala as well as the season of harvesting after the monsoon recedes.

Onam greetings
Onam Pookkalam By Ramesh NG [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Onam festival is observed during the Malyali month of ‘Chingam’ and marks the homecoming of ‘asura’ king Mahabali from the underworld. According to the legends, Mahabali’s reign in Kerala was the golden age and the king was so highly regarded by his subjects that even the gods of heaven Indra (Indian counterpart of Zeus) became jealous. The gods then approached Mahavishnu (Hindu creator god and one of the trinity) and beseeched him to do something about it as two Indra in the world represented imbalance.

Vishnu then took the avatar of Vamana – a dwarf Brahmin – and approached Mahabali. Vamana, in the guise of a short Brahman requested three steps of land for him to live in. Given a promise of three steps of land by King Mahabali against the warning given by his Guru Sukracharya, Vamana, the Supreme God assumed a form so huge that he could step from heaven to earth, and earth to the lower worlds in two simple steps. King Mahabali unable to fulfil the promise of three paces of land to the Supreme God offered his head for the third step. In the third step Vamana placed his foot on King Mahabali’s head and gave him immortality for his benevolence. Onam is the celebration of the return of Mahabali from underworld.

Onam festival and Kerala tours
Snake Boat Race By Arun Sinha from India (Aranmula-boat race- Kerala-India-1) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Carnival of Onam lasts for ten days and brings out the best of Kerala culture and tradition. Some of the remarkable features of the festival are decorated Pookalam, Onasadya, Snake Boat Race and exotic Kaikottikali dance. The central feature of Onam is the grand feast called Onasadya, prepared on Thiruonam. It is a nine-course meal consisting of 11 to 13 essential dishes. Onasadya is served on banana leaves and people sit on a mat laid on the floor to have the meal.

Indianluxurytrains.com extends its wishes and greetings to its reader on the occasion of Onam. Festivals like Onam have greatly enriched the enchanting cultural diversity of our country as people from all communities join in the celebrations. May god bless you all and fill your life with color and lights. Have a happy Onam.