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From: 2014.09.29 To: 2014.09.29
The biggest festival in the Indian state of Kerala, Onam celebrates the homecoming of mythical King Mahabali for ten days solid. Legend has it that the popular ancient ruler brought a golden age to Kerala, which made even the gods green with envy. Therefore, Vishnu set a trap for Mahabali: taking the form of a dwarf Brahmin called Vamana, he begged the unsuspecting king for three paces of land. Then when his request was granted, he suddenly began to swell, covering the whole sky as well as the netherworld. Realizing what is at stake, the desperate king asked Vishnu to put his third step on his head to save his kingdom. Vishnu was deeply moved by Mahabali’s nobility and allowed the king to return to Kerala once a year, at Onam. During the festival, elaborate floral decorations are placed inside and outside homes and the streets are filled with boisterous processions. In Thrissur, dozens of elephants are wrapped in silk and gold – they are even given their own satin umbrellas! While there, make sure to watch Pulikali, a dramatic dance performed in tiger costumes, as well as the spectacular snake boat race called Vallamkali.