Festivities of Onam: A Resonating fiesta

The nature was resonating through the rustic beats of the madalam. The music reverberated in the atmosphere of religious piety conquering the hearts of the foreigners who had flown in to witness the charged atmosphere and to get the feel of the true ethnicity of India. The annual Onam festive in Thrikakkara Temple in Kerala is renowned for its resplendent comportment of deranged crackers and the majestic elephants taking their rounds. The temple is unique for the Onam celebrations spanning 10 days with its exquisite Onam Sadya revered by the thronging thousands. Secularism has a redefined meaning in Thrikakkara with people of all religions, castes, sex or creed jointly celebrating the bliss of the cultural fiesta.

The legend has a story to tell. It is believed that Vishnu’s Avatar Vamana was created for the purpose of killing Asura (Demon) King Mahabali who ruled the Keral nadu (Kingdom of Kerala). Unlike the instinctual Asuras portrayed in the epics Ramayan, Mahabali was the most adroit ruler who lived for the people. However the Devas and their king Indra developed a deep disinclination and hatred towards him and fell before Vishnu to help them. Vishnu incarnated as Vamana, a Brahmin boy toured the Keral nadu and is said to have been enthused by the beauty and the efficient and effective rule of the King under whom the place prospered. However, Vishnu as Vamana had given word to Indra that he will reclaim the lost prestige of Indra. He asked for three vows from King Mahabali known for his piousness and which he accepted without thought. Vamana asked for the World and the sky in his two vows and asked Mahabali to fulfill the third vow. The pious king offered himself to Vamana and got subjugated to a different world. The incarnated Vamana blessed the King and accepted his wish to visit Keral nadu every year in a auspicious time. The inspiring tale is revived in this part of the world during the August-September month with gaiety welcoming the King to his homeland.

Special rituals accompany the arrival of Vamana in Thrikakkara, the place where mahabali was liberated to the other world. People from all parts of life are conjured by the customary rituals, folk dances with special performances of the best traditional drummers. The Panchavadyam (Orchestra of five instruments; timila, madalam, ilathalam, edakka and kombu) is a treat to the audience and is said to welcome the God to the God’s own country.

The special feature of the festive is the Onam Sadya comprising of 14 varieties of delicious delicacies. The massive Ootupura (Kitchen) breathes life to the leaves and vegetables getting ready to treat the people. The unique Payasam, a mix of milk, sugar and dried red rice is a star attraction to many tourists who get the kick of its taste. The mouth watering payasam provides the finishing touches to the feast, which is also a symbol of equality as people from all religion; castes, sex and creed attend it.
The temple is easily accessible through all means. It is situated just 18 km from the Cochin International Airport while it is 2 kms away from the touchpoint of Seaport-Airport Road. The Ernakulam Railway station is 15 km while there is a smaller station in Aluva situated 8 km from the Temple. The serenity of the temple attracts even a cursory onlooker. The Thiruvonam Auditorium is a fully Airconditioned hall for marriage functions under the blessings of the Thikakkaraappan (Lord of Thrikakkara).
Thrikakkara Temple is a religious destination for many people and also testament to culture, art and architecture. Built in the original style of Kerala temples and situated in a sprawling area has many historians taking lessons from it. History and myth is intertwined with about 18 important stone inscriptions dating back to 10-13 AD. The deity is powerful and has another special feature with worshipping of Shiva (Mahadeva) nearby. Further the presence of Upadevathas (subordinate deities) was consecrated during the Kulashekhara era which existed till 1102 AD. The inscriptions say that the Onam festival was conducted to honour the Kulashekara Emperor which later was confined to 10 days. The gold-caparisoned elephants standing in order with the Panchavadyam are a treat to the people. While the Panchavadyam resonates along the corridors of the temple with the pitches going high and low in a well orchestral manner, the people starts dancing to the beatings of the vadyams and get energized forgetting all tensions and sorrows hampering them.

The temple witnesses a conglomeration of spiritual scent transcending boundaries with unique ambience in and around the abode of god. It has indeed a magnetic force which makes you feel to come often. For those persons who want to witness the cultural extravaganza, Thrikakkara offers you an unforgettable experience.

Madhu S

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