Onam, the festival dearest to a Keralite's heart, draws to its grand culmination tomorrow.
The legend behind it is interesting... a beloved king who is banished from his land, yet granted a boon . To return once every year to check whether his subjects are happy.
And for this annual visit, all of Kerala goes into an over-drive of feasting and family bonding .
Of friends and games and snake-boat races.
Of spruced up, squeaky clean homes, and lavishly decorated yards. For ten days the ladies and girls of the house let their artistic talents flow and the result is the exquisitely beautiful poo-kalam.
'Pookalam' or floral design, is so intrinsically a part of the Onam celebration that it is always a colourful festival. A brilliant splash of happy colour, welcoming every visitor to their home.
Petals, blooms and leaves in intricate designs, declaring the patience and artistry of the girls working on them. And obviously, the fun they've been having, decorating the pookalam together.
Yellow and deep orange marigolds, pure white jasmine, rich purple Gomphrena globosas, red rose petals, hibiscus, lantana ... these are some of the favourite flowers of choice.
Rich, vibrant, colourful, beautiful ... much like the land itself! And the festival it loves the most.
( Photos courtesy : George Joseph of CGH Earth )