Neelamperoor Pooram Padayani

Photo credits : Ramesh Kidangoor

Photo credits: Ramesh Kidangoor

Neelamperoor Pooram Padayani is an old Dravidian ritual offering to the Kali Mother Goddess. This great cultural and religious event of central Kerala is celebrated during September-October at Neelamperoor, a village near to Kottayam. This Padayani is celebrated in the Palli Bhagavathi Temple, which has a history of more than 1000 years. Continue reading

Onam Redux

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The most spectacular event of all Kerala festivals, Onam epitomises a new found vigour and enthusiasm about everything. The festival celebrates the return of King Mahabali, who is said to visit his subjects each year. To convince their beloved King that Kerala continues to be prosperous land of milk and honey people decorate their homes and celebrate to the fullest sometimes even faking prosperity to present a happy and flourishing facade to their King. Continue reading

Southern Birdwing Butterfly

Photo credits : Josekallukaran

Photo credits: Jose Kallukaran

The Southern Birdwing butterfly  is the largest butterfly in India, and is endemic to the Western Ghats. Males are more frequently seen than females, mainly feeding on flowers of the Pagoda plant, west Indian jasmine, mimosa, and other ornamental bushes. Unlike many butterfly species that prefer full sun, the southern birdwing tends to be more active during the evening. Continue reading

Festival Of The Gods – Theyyam

Photo credits : Shymon G

Photo credits: Shymon G

Theyyam is one of the most popular ritualistic dances of Kerala. It is a devotional performance with a surrealistic representation of the divine. Almost every village in Kerala has its own temple with an annual festival. So there’s always a local festival happening somewhere or the other, each with its own special flavour. Continue reading

Gol Gumbaz

Photo credits : Vijay Mampilly

Photo credits : Vijay Mampilly

Gol Gumbaz is one of the largest and most famous monuments in India. Gol Gumbaz was constructed as a mausoleum for Sultan Mohammed Adil Shah, the seventh ruler of Adil Shah dynasty (1627- 57). Construction was completed in 1656. The monument’s central tomb remains a popular tourist attraction, but in fact the entire building, despite its simple design, stands as a masterpiece of Deccan-era architecture. Continue reading

Tamil Lacewing Butterfly

Photo credits : Aparna P

Photo credits: Aparna P

The Tamil Lacewing Butterfly (Scientific name: Cethosia nietneri) is endemic to the  Western Ghats of India and Sri Lanka, where it commonly cuts through the breezes from the months of June to September. Frequent at the onset of monsoon season, the beautiful insect usually disappears by September or October. Catch it while you can! Continue reading

Munnar, Gem of Kerala

Photo credits : Ramesh Kidangoor

Photo credits: Ramesh Kidangoor

Munnar is famous for its tea plantations, rolling hills, sparkling waterfalls, and sprawling estates, a combination of features which makes it a popular tourist destination. Visitors to Munnar can not only enjoy Kerala’s natural beauty but also learn about and participate in the area’s culture and economy. As attested in these photographs, Munnar has been one of Kerala’s hotspots for tea production, with tea plantations scattered throughout the rolling mountain ranges. Continue reading

Temple Festival – Ezhara Ponnana

Photo credits : Ramesh Kidangoor

Photo credits: Ramesh Kidangoor

Ezhara Ponnana is a unique temple festival at Ettumanoor, a temple to Lord Shiva near Kottayam. “Ezhara” means seven-and-a-half and “Ponnana” means golden elephant. Statues of these elephants are made of nearly 13 kg of gold each. Seven of the elephants are two feet high, but the eighth one is only one foot tall, which gives the procession and festival of Ezhara Ponnana its name. Continue reading

Glory Of The Past – Allappuzha

Photo credits: Ramesh Kidangoor

Photo credits: Ramesh Kidangoor

Situated at the south-western tip of Lake Vembanad, Allappuzha had its heyday as a commercial hub in 1775-76 when Dewan Raja Keshavadas built it as a major port of the erstwhile Travancore state. Allapuzha had the dual advantage of cheap inland water transport on its eastern end and calm seas suitable for an all-weather port on the west. Continue reading

Temple Dance – Kerala

Photo Credits : Ramesh Kidangoor

Photo Credits: Ramesh Kidangoor

Kerala temples offer a veritable array of performing arts, often related to religious rituals and and mythological stories. The rhythm and elegance of the temple dances of Kerala are a result of  the various cultural influences that took place in the state. The dramatic costumes, vibrant colors, and throbbing music all make watching temple dances an unforgettable experience. Continue reading

Melodious Rhythms of India: the Nadaswaram

Photo credits : Ramesh Kidangoor

Photo credits: Ramesh Kidangoor

Kerala lays claim to a wide range of native musical instruments, which all together play host to a great range of unique sounds and melodies. The nadaswaram is a wooden-body pipe about two and a half feet long. This double-reed wind instrument is typically played during temple rituals and processions, weddings, and other celebrations. The nadaswaram is thought to achieve the peak of its acoustic quality in open environments where the sounds can resonate outwards, which is why it has evolved into a procession instrument. Continue reading

Edakkal Caves – Wayanad

Photo credits : Ramesh Kidangoor

Photo credits: Ramesh Kidangoor

Edakkal Caves  are situated in Wayanad district near Sulthan Bathery. This prehistoric rock shelter made up of natural rock formations includes a massive boulder wedged in between two huge vertical outcroppings, forming a large cave. Petroglyph writing inside the cave form inscriptions of human and animal figures with peculiar headdresses as well as drawings of wheels, bows, knives and trees. Continue reading

The Ritual of Karkidakam Vavu bali

 

Photo credits : Remash Kidangoor

Photo credit: Remash Kidangoor

Karkidakam is the last month of Malayalam calendar, a calendar of significance for Hindus living in Kerala. On the eve of the new moon in Karkidakam–two days ago, July 26th–Keralite Hindus gather on the beaches and river banks to pay obeisance to their ancestors by performing the bali tharpanam ritual. This day is known as Karkidakam Vavu. Keralite Hindus believe that the souls of their ancestors attain liberation by the ritual pujas (prayers) and bathing on this day. Continue reading

The Nilgiri Marten

 

Photo credit : Aparna P

Photo credit : Aparna P

The Nilgiri marten (Sc. name: Martes gwatkinsii) is the only marten found in southern India, in the Nilgiris and western Ghats. Martens are fairly widespread members of the family Mustelidae, which also includes the familiar otter, badger, weasel, ferret, and other small carnivorous mammals. The Nilgiri marten, like other martens, makes its home in the forest, inhabiting the moist and semi-evergreen forests of the Western Ghats. They are quite rare and not very well researched; although mostly arboreal, their wide-ranging travels motivated by their carnivorous diet will occasionally bring them down from the trees where lucky photographers may be able to snap a few photos before the marten hightails it. Continue reading

Nilgiri Railway – Ooty

Photo credits : Ramesh Kidangoor

Photo credits: Ramesh Kidangoor

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway was built by the British in 1908. The railway line lies between the hill ranges of Mettupalayam and Ooty, with a 46km-long track that passes over 26 viaducts and through 16 tunnels, as well as tall girder bridges. This mountain rail is particularly picturesque because of the rocky surroundings and forested hills. Continue reading

Elephant Blessings

Photo Credits :Ramesh Kidangoor

Photo Credits: Ramesh Kidangoor

In Hinduism, the elephant represents one of the most important Gods: Lord Ganesh. Many Hindu temples in south India have elephants stationed outside the main door to give blessing to visitors. For a long time, elephants have been part of life in Kerala. People here consider this animal a harbinger of good fortune, a remover of obstacles and an inseparable part of religious and economic life. Continue reading

Monsoon Kerala

Photo credits : Ramesh Kidangoor

Photo credits: Ramesh Kidangoor

With its long monsoon season, Kerala is one of the rainiest states in India. Starting from June to August, many visitors flock to Kerala during Monsoon when the climate is cool, the nature is lush green, the atmosphere is dust free, and the streams and waterfalls of the high ranges are flowing with water. There is also the long traditional belief that the rainy monsoon season is the best time for Ayurveda treatments. Continue reading