THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Onam is a festival of flowers. The demand for flowers reaches an all time high during Onam. The festival can’t be thought of without atha pookalam or the floral carpet with everyone trying to make the most beautiful one. Flower market expanded mainly due to institutionalised Onam celebrations or competitions associated with it by educational institutions, offices, residents’ associations etc.
Chalai market is the one place to visit during Onam because it is here that one gets all kinds of flowers needed for the celebration. With only one more day remaining before the Onam celebrations begin, the flowers shops in Chalai are anticipating a brisk business. Today the sales at Suresh Kumar’s NSN Flowers in Chalai market is nothing but normal. But he is busy gearing up for the brisk sales which will start from tomorrow evening. The demand for flowers increases a day before Atham (August 25) and dwindles only after Thiruvonam (September 4).
The market receives flowers from Thovalai in Kanyakumari district and from Bangalore. It will be supplemented from flower markets of Hosur, Gundalpet in Karnataka, Aralvaimozhi, Madurai, Dindigul and Satyamangalam in Tamil Nadu. More than 10,000 kg of flowers will reach the Chalai market during Onam. When the demand goes up those who organise celebrations procure flowers from Thovalai directly.
Jamanthi (Indian marigold) and vadamalli (bachelor’s button flower), which are the staple requirements in floral competitions, have not crossed Rs 60 and Rs 120 per kilo, at present.
It is expected to double during the peak days. Different types of arali flowers (nerium oleander) are available. Red arali from Dindigul, which come in 1 kilo packets, is a favourite among buyers. It now costs Rs 120 a packet. From Thovalai, a mix of arali in red, white and rose colours are available for Rs 300 per kilo.
Lotus mostly comes from Vellayani and cost Rs5 a piece. The prices of ‘mulla’ and ‘pichi,’ used as hair adornment, are priced from Rs300 to Rs 350 and Rs 600 to Rs 700 per kg respectively. “Onam also heralds the onset of marriage season. The demand for jasmine and cut flowers goes high,” said Robinson of Rosa Florist and Floral Decors. Apart from flowers the shops also sells evergreen leaves.
A flowery affair
* A shop at Chalai sells around 60 kg of flowers per day during Onam
* Sales comes in the range of Rs 6,000 to Rs 10,000
* There are around 1,200 flower shops which are affiliated to Florists association
* The flower market does a business of approximately Rs 72 lakh to Rs 1.2 crore per day