|Onam (August - September)|
Onam is one of the most widely celebrated festivals of Kerala, and it commemorates the legendary rule of King Mahabali, during which time the people were so happy that it aroused the jealousy of the gods
To mark the Onam festivities, the Tourism Week is celebrated in the state especially in Thiruvananthapuram during which the streets in the city are illuminated and a unique package of traditional and cultural programmes are staged at the Kanakakkunnu Palace and other landmark points. It culminates in a colourful carnival which the vast majority of the populace turn out to watch.
|Gramam - Village Fair (January)|
An entire village of the bygone days of rural Kerala is recreated with artisans. The traditional nalukettu (the quadrangular upper class house with a central open courtyard) and its premises become the venue of the fair, where the culture, arts and crafts of Kerala come alive.
Festival highlights Arts and crafts fair, displays of cultural performances like Kathakali, Thiruvathirakali, Mohiniattam, Oppana, Kalaripayattu, Sarpapattu, Theyyam, Kummattikali, Panchavadyam, Chakyarkoothu, Ottanthullal so that the visitors will be able to see and visualize how people of Kerala in those days went about their lives. The festival lasts for a week. The village is set near Kovalam.
|Nishagandhi Dance and Music Festival (February) |
This week long festival of Indian classical dances is held at the Nishagandhi open air theatre. Kanakakunnu Palace grounds, Thiruvananthapuram.
The Tourism Development Corporation organises the dance festival. Leading artists of Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kathak, Odissi, Modern ballet and other folk form will be performed in the evenings at the open-air theatre of Nishagandhi in the Kanakakunnu Palace compound. Admission is free and the festival usually is accompanied with music.
Flavour Food Festival (February)
The festival is conducted during the 2nd week of February. Specialized chefs stalls for each state. Spread through seven evenings, one can taste almost all types of delicacies of Indian cuisine from various regions of India. Those prepared are also available for purchase. It will be worthwhile to have a go at the dishes from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.
Renowned hotels from across the country participate in this week long international festival of the various cuisines held at the Kanakakunnu Palace grounds, Thiruvananthapuram. Continental, Chinese, North Indian and South Indian and many more varieties of food are also available.
|The Great Elephant March (January) |
The Great Elephant March is a major tourist attraction that brings in visitors from all over. It is a four day program organized by the Department of tourism, Kerala. Elephant pageantry, boat races and folk art performances are specially arranged in a four-day period for the tourists to have a glimpse of the Kerala culture.
On the fourth day, the Elephant pageantry is held at Trivandrum. Here tourists will have an occasion to witness Kerala's folk art forms and its ancient martial art display, Kalaripayattu. The grand finale is at Kovalam Beach. It concludes with the seaside barbecue.
|Attukal Pongala (February - March)|
Attukal Bhagavathy temple known as the Sabarimala of women, is in Attukal 2kms from Thiruvananthapuram. The festival begins on bharani day between February - March and continues for nine days.
Ponkala is an offering usually made in Bhagavathy temples, prepared in the form of payasam (a liquid food in Kerala), ingredients are rice, jaggery, coconut kernel and plantain fruits.
This festival has entered in the Guinness book of World Records for the largest gathering of women for pongala offerings.On the ninth day, women throng the temple with ponkala pots and ingredients for cooking.
Ponkala preparation starts in the morning and would be over by noon, then the melsanthi (chief priest) carrying Devi's sword goes around the temple sprinkling holy water and showering flowers over the preparation.
After this, the idol of the Devi is being taken in procession to the Manacaud Sastha Temple with the accompaniment of thalapoli, kuthiyottom, annam, vahanam and, caparisoned elephants. Percussion in the procession include chenda, nagaswaram, band and neyyandi melam.
There will also be Kumbhakudam (pageantry) during the procession. En route, the procession is received with nirapara (a pot filled with paddy and decorated with flowers usually arranged in front of traditional Kerala houses). The procession returns next morning.
Vetta and Arattu
This festival is celebrated twice in a year, once in Oct.-Nov and other in March-April. Vetta represents Lord Vishnu hunting down the demon of evil in the forest.
The next day afternoon the Arattu procession begins. Images of Lord Padmanabha, Lord Krishna and Lord Narasimha are carried to the Arabian Sea at Sangumugham beach escorted by the members of the Royal Family.
At sunset the images are ritually bathed in the sea. Returning the images in a procession back to the Padmanabhaswamy temple concludes the event. Several cultural programs including all-night Kathakali are performed during the festival.
|Flower Show (December)|
Flower show is organised every year as a part of Christmas celebration by the Kerala Agri-Horticultural Society and the Kerala Rose Society at the Observatory Hills. The 10-day show would feature an array of flowers and plants brought from different parts of the country.
An aqua show featuring a variety of ornamental fishes are also on display. Visitors can view different types of floral arrangement at the venue. Visitors could also buy plants at the show.