THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After two consecutive flood, a resilient Kerala, putting loss and painful memories behind it, rose and got into the festival mood to celebrate Onam, the biggest festival of the state. A terror attack warning by the enforcement agencies in southern parts of the country notwithstanding, people bustled about in the last-minute Uthradapachil shopping and preparations ahead of Thiruvonam.
Most parts of central and northern Kerala have been experiencing rain for the last few days. The weatherman has forecast light to moderate rain on Onam as well. Major markets across the state, however, witnessed heavy rush from Tuesday morning. Thoroughfares and roads in cities and towns were filled with shoppers.
Last year, the state had called off its Onam celebrations in the wake of the mega flood which claimed over 400 lives and destroyed houses and livelihood of thousands of people. Though the flash flood and landslides this August killed over hundred people, the loss, destruction and displacement were relatively less. The government decided to move on and go ahead with the Onam celebrations this year.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan kicked off the week-long Onam celebrations of the government in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday. The seven-day festivities will showcase various art forms, both modern and traditional, by over 5,000 artistes from across the state. Twenty-nine venues have been arranged in Thiruvananthapuram alone and the curtain on the festivities will come down with a grand cultural pageantry on September 16.
Major temples across the state are also set to receive pilgrims who throng them on the auspicious day of Thiruvonam. Thousands of visually appealing golden-coloured banana bunches (Kaazhchakulakal) were presented to the presiding deity of the Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple by the devotees as part of the Uthradakazhcha ritual at the Guruvayur Sree Krishna temple on Tuesday. Thousands will visit the temple on Wednesday, Thiruvonam day, to witness the Vakacharthu.The Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple was opened for Onam festival on Monday and temple will be closed after Athazhapuja on Friday evening.