A colourful carpet made of flowers left people mesmerized on the occasion of a harvest festival in Thrissur, Kerala.
Over 150 men from various communities and belonging to different religions arranged the floral carpet on the grounds of Vadakkumnathan Temple.
Vadakkumnathan Temple or Vadakkunnathan Temple is one of the largest and ancient Shiva temples of India. It is situated in Thrissur district of Kerala.
Also known as Thenkailasam and Vrishabhachalam, the temple, spread over nine acres, stands majestically on an elevated hillock right in the centre of the city.
Hindu traditions say that the temple was built by Parasurama, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu and the legendary creator of Kerala.
On the occasion of the harvest festival, people used natural flowers to create the floral pattern. This was the sixth time a colourful design was made to begin the festival season of this year.
The traditional 'Ona-Pookalam' (flower decorations for Onam) usually contains ten rings, indicating the ten-day rituals associated with Onam.
The festival is greatly awaited across Kerala, as it is believed that the harvest festival heralds prosperity and happiness in the society.
It took almost 20 hours to make the floral pattern and the theme was to spread communal harmony and peace among the people of the state.
"Onam is the largest festival in Kerala. People belonging to all religions come together and celebrate this festival with utmost gusto. This festival is important in Kerala as it brings everyone together and is seen as a festival which brings forth both unity and brotherhood among the residents," said programme co-coordinator for the floral design, Shybi John.
Residents kickstarted the celebrations of the harvest festival with the royal parade in Kochi on Saturday.
The 10-day long harvest festival celebrations begin every year with Aathachamayam (The Royal Parade on Aatham Day) in Thripunithara (a suburb of Kochi City).
Onam is marked with varied festivities, including women performing assorted dance performances and men playing musical instruments to celebrate the auspicious occasion.
Schools and colleges have been shut for the ten-day festival period.
It is one of the very few festivals in Kerala that is celebrated with most of the cultural elements such as Vallam Kali (Boat race), Pulikkali (traditional animal dance), Pookkalam (flower decorations) and many more.
The uniqueness of the festival lies in the historical background of the festival.
The festival is based on the story of 'King Mahabali' who was so attached to his kingdom that it is believed that he comes annually from the nether world to see if his people are living happily. It is in honour of King Mahabali, affectionately called Onathappan, that Onam is celebrated.
Of all these days, most important ones are the first day, Atham and the last or tenth day, Thiru Onam on September 16 which will include the grand Thiruvona-Sadya, well known for being one of the most sumptuous feasts and includes 13 to 15 dishes apart from other regular items.