THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Following an age-old tradition, a group of adivasi families arrived at the Kowdiar palace on Thursday carrying a wide range of products gathered from the tribal areas. As part of the ancient custom called ‘Onakazcha’, which has been followed for long as part of Onam celebrations, tribals from the forest settlements around Agasthiar Kudam including Kottur, Pattampara, Kunnatheri, Plavila, Cherumangal, Pattanipara, Pothode, Aamode, Anakkal, Moonnumukkan and Kaithode came to the palace to present their products to the royal family.
After offering floral tributes at ‘Panchavadi’, the memorial of Sree Chithira Thirunal on the grounds, the tribals proceeded to the palace. They were greeted by Pooyam Tirunal Gouri Parvathy Bayi and Aswathi Thirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bayi, who interacted with the group, which included women and children. The products presented ranged from baskets and other handicrafts made from bamboo, coconuts and bananas to forest honey, edible forest tubers, gooseberries, kundirikkam, herbal medicinal products and more, wrapped in banana leaves. The members of group were in turn presented with new clothes, food and given dakshina by Pooyam Tirunal Gouri Parvathybai Thampurati and Aswathi Thirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bayi Tampurati.
The annual journey of the tribals from their hamlets to the Kowdiar palace is organised by the Kottoor Mundany Madan Thamburan Temple Trust. After a trip to the Shankumugham beach, Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple and other places in the city, the group will head back to their respective forest settlements.
As part of the Onam festivities, tribals from the forest area around Agasthyar Kudam will be organising a 10-day mela at Kappukadu Aana Paripalana Kendram and Kottur from August 26, said an elderly member from the group. Some of the specialities of the mela will be swings made from forest creepers, bamboo boat rides and ethnic food stalls.
While some of the tribals staying in areas close to Kottur have basic facilities like water and electricity, many living deep within the forest have to do without these. Power supply in some of these tribal settlements was recently inaugurated by Electricity Minister Aryadan Muhammed.