The lovely state of Kerala and its people are in a joyful festive mood as their favourite festival Onam arrives. Onam Season brings with it the assurance of love, peace, happiness, prosperity, and harmony. Moreover, it celebrates the homecoming of the legendary King Mahabali and reflects the rich culture and vibrant heritage of Kerala.
The grand and awe-inspiring Onam festival gives tons of reasons to visit God’s Own Country, Kerala. It’s the most colourful, jolly, hustling-bustling magical time of the year when the entire state comes alive with gorgeous Pookalams, lively songs, graceful Thiruvathirakali, electrifying boat races, vibrant Pulikali, and spectacular cultural programs.
Full of festivity and celebrations all around, Kerala during Onam is simply endearing and worth visiting. The ever-delicious Onasadya with a variety of yummy Payasam is the best part of Onam celebrations that will definitely conquer your hearts. Thiruvonam falls on September 8th this year.
Let’s take a quick look at the Best Places to Celebrate Onam Festival in Kerala:
Tripunithura: For Athachamayam
Thripunithura hosts numerous cultural events on all 10 days of the Onam festival, making it one of the best places to celebrate Onam in Kerala. The most popular and spectacular of all is the Athachamayam Procession, where tourists and locals from near and far flock to Thripunithura to soak in the festive spirit. This grand cultural fiesta heralds the beginning of the ten-day Onam festival in Kerala and offers a golden chance to witness all the traditional Kerala art forms. The colourful floats, tableaus depicting scenes from history and mythology, percussion music like Pandimelam and Panchavadyam, classical dances like Kathakali and Mohiniyattam, vibrant folk art forms like Pulikali, Theyyam, Kavadiyattam, etc, make the procession extraordinarily splendid. There is nothing more spectacular and awe-inspiring than witnessing the ceremonial Thripunithura Athachamayam, to feel the vibrancy and spirit of the Onam festival.
Date: 30 August 2022
Trivandrum: To Indulge in Grand Onam Celebrations
Visit Trivandrum to indulge in grand Onam celebrations. The festival is celebrated with great fervor and enthusiasm at Trivandrum. The capital city of Kerala is brilliantly lit and decorated in a festive look throughout the entire week of Onam, making it a delight to visit.
Several cultural activities, Pookalam contests, stage shows, dance competitions, folk arts, and handicraft fairs are hosted across the city that helps you soak in the spirit of the Onam festival. It is a delight to witness the spectacular procession of beautifully caparisoned elephants with all their might and the fabulous floats showcasing cultural highlights of Kerala during the grand celebration on Thiruvonam day. You’ll also get a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the splendid Sadya, served in banana leaves on Thiruvonam day.
Date: 6 September 2022 to 12 September 2022.
Thrikkakara Temple: For Pakalpooram
A visit to Thrikkakara Temple during Onam is a whole different experience. This is the only temple in Kerala dedicated to the Vamana avatar of Lord Vishnu where the Onam festival is believed to have originated. The belief is that the legendary king Mahabali was sent to the netherworld at Thrikkakara.
The celebrations of the Onam Festival at Thrikkakara Temple commence on Atham day with a special flag hoisting ceremony and continue for nine more days with remarkable cultural events, music, and dance performances. The main highlight is the Pakalpooram, conducted on the day before Thiruvonam, where the deity of the temple is taken in procession on an elephant around the temple grounds. And there is Thiruvona Sadya at Thrikkakara Temple which is attended by devotees from all across Kerala.
Venue: Thrikkakara Temple, Ernakulam
Date: 30 August 2022 to 7 September 2022.
Thrissur: To Witness Pulikali
Thrissur is undoubtedly one of the best places to drench in the festive spirit of Onam. Kerala’s iconic street art form, Pulikali is one of the top reasons why you should visit Thrissur during the Onam festival. Be there at Thrissur Swaraj Round on the 4th day of the Onam festival to treat your senses and lose yourselves in the electrifying Pulikali where the tiger-clad men mimic the movement of tigers and dance to the rhythmic beats of percussion music.
The entire town gets drenched in colour and festive spirit and thousands are seen cheering with great thrill and excitement while dancing along with their beloved tigers. It is a one-of-a-kind event you would have ever experienced in your lifetime. You should definitely not miss the incredible opportunity to watch Pulikali at Thrissur during the Onam festivity.
Venue: Swaraj Round, Thrissur.
Date: 11 September 2022.
Alleppey: To feast on delicious Onasadya while Cruising Through Backwaters
How about celebrating Onam in a houseboat? Head to Alleppey to enjoy this unique Onam experience. Make colourful Pookalam in the houseboat, have some fun over games with family, and explore the scenic beauty and the festive vibes of the beautiful villages snuggled around it. What’s more, it’s an absolute delight to feast on the delicious Onasadya as you cruise the darling backwaters of Alleppey that cannot be missed.
While Alleppey often finds its way into every traveler’s Kerala itinerary, an Alleppey houseboat trip during Onam is something special that will remain in your heart forever.
Aranmula: To Experience the Real Thrill of Snake Boat Race
Aranmula is indeed one of the best places to celebrate the Onam festival. Aranmula Snake Boat Race is one of the most captivating and exciting adrenaline-pumping events held during the Onam celebrations in Kerala. It is more of a festive celebration than a competition and a grand splendour to behold.
This epic snake boat race witnesses the gusto of oarsmen rowing spectacular snake boats, singing traditional boat songs, and moving in pairs through the water in sync to the tune of the energetic song, and the steep excitement of the spectators that automatically takes you into a celebration mood. Visit Aranmula and feel the real thrill of the snake boat race by yourself.
Venue: Pamba River, Aranmula, Pathanamthitta.
Date: 11 September 2022.
Palakkad: To Witness Onathallu
Palakkad is yet another best place to visit during Onam if you wish to witness Kerala’s Onam special wrestling sport called Onathallu. Onathallu, also known as Kayyamkali or Avittathallu is an Indian martial dance and a semi-contact combat sport performed in Kerala during the Onam festival. It is a quite popular event often practiced in central and North Kerala. This special wrestling sport usually takes place on Thiruvonam afternoon after the sumptuous Onasadya, and two contestants participate at a time. They grapple each other and exchange blows to toss down the opponent whosoever did so wins the game.
Date: 7 September 2022.
Kannur: To Witness Theyyam
Celebrate the Onam Festival in an extraordinary way by watching incredible Theyyam dance. This traditional ritual art form of Kerala that creates an aura of divine splendour is considered the dance of Gods and it holds a special significance during the Onam festival.
It is usually performed in the northern Malabar regions of Kerala, especially the Kannur district. Theyyam is truly a fantastic spectacle to watch, and it makes way for a unique Onam experience in Kerala.
Kerala Backwaters: To Soak in the Thrill & Excitement of Champions Boat League.
An inevitable part and also a remarkable treat of the Onam Festival is the thrilling and enthusiastic Snake Boat Races where one can experience extremes of joy, fun, excitement, and festive fervor. The latest avatar of Snake Boat Race in Kerala is the Champions Boat League which was launched in 2019.
Kerala Backwaters come alive with speeding snake boats and brim with the excitement and enthusiasm of the rowers during the Champions Boat League. The energy, synchronization, and rhythm make for nothing but an out-of-the-world experience. Champions Boat League is worth being on your bucket list.
The Champions Boat League (CBL) 2022 kicked off with the iconic Nehru Trophy Boat Race in Alappuzha Punnamada Lake which willconclude on November 26th with the prestigious President’s Trophy Boat Race in Kollam Ashtamudi Lake.
Karuvatta Boat Race, Pulinkunnu Rajiv Gandhi Trophy Boat Race, Piravom Boat Race, Marine Drive Boat Race, Kottapuram Boat Race, Kainakkari Boat Race, Thazhathangadi Boat Race, Pandanadu Boat Race, Kayamkulam Boat Race, and Kallada Boat Race, are the other boat races that will take part in CBL 2022.
Other prestigious boat races which are not included in the CBL are Uthradam Thirunal Pamba Boat Race, Payippad Boat Race, Kumarakam Boat Race and Aranmula Boat Race.
If you are planning to celebrate the Onam Festival in Kerala, make sure you consider these places to make this festive season an unforgettable one for you.
Come, celebrate Onam in Kerala, and indulge in the fun, excitement, and fervor of this vibrant festival!
Wishing You All a Very Happy & Prosperous Onam in Advance!
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