Sunday, October 4, 2009

An endeavor to unearth Kerala's religious inception

It has taken three years for me to write a post like this, a post on Kerala’s religious inception or better be called an endeavor by writer to unearth hidden treasures in Kerala. Why are we after money? Why are we working? Why should I earn? Why I am wasting 24x7 working for pieces of paper? I have an answer to all these questions. I have to live my life this way, to let the next generation see the world more peacefully.

Have I missed something my ancestors have met with? Am I able to enjoy and see the things they did? I had no answer to these questions, until I have seen the festivals and celebrations in Kerala; the land of my ancestors, my fore fathers. To a mere reader or a forlorn traveler it may appear wastage of time he had done in the past.

I am certain you will wonder, why the cheerful Abhi has written something in a puzzled and not a properly understanding language. This post is not intended to make myself and the ones who read it sleep but to have a pause before sharing happiness so people can take it the way the post is proposed to.

I am now in Cochin and get time to travel across kerala and view its celebrations and culture. However, being a child of the deep-rooted busy city culture, I have to return some day or the other back to my domain so I have to explore the maximum I could. I have shared a couple of my experiences in Kerala through my blog. This article is on the ulsavams we have in Kerala and to understand what I have missed and my future generations will.

Ulsavams are different across kerala featuring different dance forms, music, and celebrations. I have captured images of several ulsavams held across kerala. The ones that are shown in this post are from the ulsavams held in Thamarakulam, Bharanikavu in Alleppy District and Ulsavam in Tripunithura in Ernakulam District.

Also some videos have been provided so you could visualize the moments. This is something I missed in my city culture. In Thamarakulam huge man made bullocks having the height equal to 100 men standing one above the other accompany the ulsavams. The KSEB (Kerala State Electricity Board) creates a blackout to avoid unnecessary short circuits and chances of accidents during ulsavams. People pull these bullocks through ropes and small bullocks are carried on shoulders where men dance to devote their worship before the god. Each ulsavam is a part of a temple and the people surrounding it.

Ulsvams in Bhranikavu have people riding huge elephants, the difference being they are not man made. A series of dance forms and tableaus accompany these elephants. Goddess is brought on one of the elephants that move ahead of the others. Each elephant represent different directions and places around alleppy. Childrens are busy buying balloons and eatables.

Ulsavam at Poornathrayeesa temple in Ernakulam, cochin starts before onam and is worth watching. Series of large elephants stand still with people beating drums along the corridors of the temple. People are seen handling fire on long sticks. Ulsavam has pancharimelam, karnatic kacheris, kathakali and different dance forms as a side dish to the actual recipe. These take place during day and even night until it is again morning.

Aaana ootu(Feeding elephants) is worth watching in Tripunithura where large elephants are brought one after the other and they are fed with rice.

Today morning Atul gave me a call to ensure I am present on his marriage. He started in a way to make me feel that it has been too long since I gave him a call. We started chatting and soon he placed the old sentence, “Why don’t you come to puna? We all are here. We will enjoy, what’s kept in the land too far from north?” Then he continues with his normal dialogues, “Are you planning to settle there?” It is quiet hard to make him understand what I will miss if I leave here.

Ulsavams are worth watching and every citizen of kerala resident or NRI might miss it if he is away for his hometown, far in the west or ones who have never seen their native land before.


  1. Hmm, thoughtful post. For me traveling has been the cure till date of my city life and I do not yearn for a more permanent break but then that is just me.

  2. Wonderful post...was good to read and c those pictures as well as videos...Thanks for sharing ....

  3. Great post. I love attending such festivals. But,I have noted one thing, most festivals in Kerala are not safe for women. I visited Trissur pooram in 2007. I saw the way men in the crowd treated women........horrible. Thank God, I was atop a building.

  4. Re: Smitha

    Thank you for the comments.

    I hope you will find such rotten rats everywhere, in all parts of the world who do not know how to behave with ladies.

    I think for few of them it is never fine to make all men victims.

  5. Great post Abhi, very nice pictures and videos. Really wanted to visit Kerala during such celebrations. Will do so once i am back:)

  6. oh ho..ithu adipoli..
    That was awesome read...Ur articles r quite interesting...well..well..i respect the culture and love watching u said am missing nammude naadum and ulsavam etc..very badly but sure am enjoying it through your blog...:)
    Thanks for sharing...Keep rocking!!!

  7. Heyy abhilash collect your award.its waiting in my blog 4 U.

  8. I enjoyed reading your post as I love Kerala very much and I stayed there for two years because of my studies. The photos are very beautiful and also the video is very nice.

  9. Please accept your award from my blog.

  10. RE: All

    Thank you all for the comments.

    Thank you Sangeetha and Babli for the awards. I really value your opinions.

  11. Hey abhi thats really interesting to read each and every post of yours. I know how really u miss ur hometown, cultures, greenary, parents everything. This ulsavam festival looks really grand and good to know more about it. Through your post we are getting to know more abt your cultures and festivals. Keep going ...

  12. Abhi, it is nice to experience the different utsavams and the cultural happenings around Kerala :)

    I may be late in commenting on your posts, as am very much tied up with work, family and a lot of activities around. But I make sure that I read all of them ;)

  13. Isn't it today your birthday??!! Did you get yourself a large piece of cake?
    A grand festival! Just curious, how many festivals and holidays do you have there?
    Angie's Recipes

  14. Abhii...this is really great...i miss all festivals here..Diwali is coming here..but im thinking of "karthika" which i had enjoyed with my cousins....i loved all snaps.. :)

  15. Eee post vayikkendayirunnu ennu thonnunnu Abhi..enichippo naatil ponam.....nice post,i miss our Theyyam a lot...

  16. Wow, this is a pretty serious and thoughtful post compared to your previous ones...a good one though :) Thanks for the concern about my late posts, I was a little busy with lots of other stuffs going on. Take care Abhi :)

  17. Dear Abhi,
    Amazing theme,my fav n i do often write on rituals,culture n festivals!being a pravasi,i miss my hometwn,the mornings,the temple visits n festivals!felt nice reaching at your space n specially at this post.:)
    lots n lots n to learn n try to reach out the story behind each festival n the message it has to convey!
    lovely ptctures n wonderful videos.hey,i'm still fond of buying the glass bangles n balloons!i love wandering the premises n i live in a place where more than sixty elephants live in harmony!
    the great attempts to reach the roots,hey,doing a great work!a pat on your back.:)
    have a great day ahead,

  18. Wow... a lovely post again. True buddy, life goes waste if we dont enjoy such stuff. I am agnostic by thoughts. But if you see, I would have celebrated every festival in a grand scale. Its all for just one reason that it makes everyone happy. Anything that gives us happiness is heavenly. :)

    Wish I could see all these celebrations in person. I am sure its so interesting and divine.

  19. That was a nice one.. it did make me homesick though...

    although I grew up far away from Temples and Churches.. I have seen most of these scenes while travelling thru the roads in Kerala..nd the traffic comes to a stand still and we get to see everything at close range....

  20. I love the decorated elephants and the deepam on banana leaf!Love the traditions there:)


Thank you for your valuable comments. I do respect your opinions.

All the posts are about my life with a pinch of comment on social activities and new discoveries happening around us.

The purpose is to impart knowledge and welcome comments for correction on views, since these are from a single spectator.

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