Thrissur Pooram Festival - Kerala
If you ponder for a moment as to what makes Kerala such an important tourists' destination in the country, then perhaps you will end up with one conclusion. And that is the rich culture of the state. Be it the monuments, festivals, music & dance forms, cuisine - they are all intrinsically related to Kerala's culture. As a tourist, you will have plenty of opportunity to enjoy these treasures of Kerala. Infact, every minute of your trip will make you realize how deeply rooted culture is in the God's own country.
People and Lifestyle - As with the rest of the
south India, Kerala also, in earlier times, was ruled by the
Dravidians. Hence, the influence of the race is very much apparent
even today. Though the majority of people are Hindus in the state,
there are considerable percentages of Christian and Muslim population
as well. Till the time Israel was created, a significant number of
Jews also resided in the state. The co existence of diverse religion
has made the people not only extremely tolerant, rather it has given
birth to a sense of respect for other religious faith as well. The
official language of the state is Malayalam and the people are quiet
frequently referred to as Malayalees. English is also spoken widely as
Kerala commands the respect of being hundred percent literate state.
A typical Malayali woman drapes herself in a six metre long saree, though the younger generation of girls prefer to put on convenient dresses like churidar kurta and even jeans top. Keralese men are mostly seen in trousers and shirt, though the more traditional attire "Kasavu Mundu" is also quiet popular, specially among rural areas. "Kasavu Mundu" is a three to four meter long cotton twin cloth with silk border. More informal male dress up include "Kaily" or "Lungy". Malayali male's fashion sense requires him to keep long moustaches and also a good beard.
- With so many foreign influences, it is but quiet obvious that
Kerala's cuisine is a mix of a variety. Rice (or rather unpolished
rice) along with coconut form the major ingredients in the day to day
food. They are used in different manners so as to prepare different
dishes and snacks. For example rice can be put to use while preparing
puttu (pounded and formed into cylindrical shape), vattayappam (round
and spongy like a cake), vellappam (lacy edged) , kallappam ( like a
pancacke) and idiappam (like noodles). There are more dishes that can
be prepared from rice. Similarly, when you set out to find the number
of ways coconut is used, you will be left bewildered. Coconut is used
as a thickener, flavouring agent, condiment, garnishing agent, desert
and lastly as oil (for both cooking and applying on body & hair).
Drinks in Kerala include tea, coffee and buttermilk.
Art Forms - Rooted deeply to their culture and
tradition, Keralese have made conscious attempt to preserve their art
heritage. So you have beautiful dance forms like Mohiniattam,
Kathakali, Theyyam and Thullal to delight you by their colourful and
artistic expressions. The music of Kerala also has something that will
leave you rejoicing in its very essence. Panchavadyam, Nadanpattu,
Omanathinkal Kidavo are only few of the music forms that have made
their presence strong over a period of time in Kerala.
The martial art form of Kerala have also found wide recognizition amongst tourists. Kalaripayuttu, in particular traces its origin from the time the state itself was created. Kalari, infact, also has a connection with the ayurvedic treatment of the state. Other martial art form of Kerala include Parisa Kali, Velakanni, Valeru, Kunderu and Njaninmel Kali.
Kerala is well known for its carvings, especially those done on rosewood and sandalwood. Snake Boats that are hugely famous for boat races are made in large numbers. Other items that will catch your imagination include granite idols, coirs, pillars, silk sarees and coconut shell articles. A number of these items make for a brilliant buy during your trip to Kerala.
and Festivals - Like the rest of the country, events and
festivals are a time in Kerala when people leave aside their routine
work and rejoice in the celebration of age old customs and traditions.
The most important festival of the state is Onam which welcomes the
benevolent king Mahabali who lost everything to fulfil his promise to
Vamana Murti, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Around Onam, a whole lot
of boat races are held all over the state. These boat races are
popularly known as Snake Boat Races in English, though there are other
kinds of boats participating as well. The boat races, each have an
individual legend or story attached to them that elevates them to
position where they are not merely a competition, rather they become a
celebration of cultural heritage of the state.
Kerala is known for its population of elephant. This recognition is reinforced when well caprisoned elephant march out in large numbers during the Thrissur Pooram and Elephant Pageant. The grandeur of these festivals are indicative of the richness of Kerala's cultural heritage.
Ayurveda - This 5000 year old ancient form of treatment is inextricably related to Kerala's culture. It is this link that has ensured a continuing faith in this ancient system of healing despite progress in modern method. Not only the natives, rather people from all over India and other parts of the world flock to experience the magical effect of a massage. An ayurvedic treatment is useful in curing as well as instilling a renewed vigour in mind, soul and body.