Origin of Onam in god’s own country

Onam festival in Kerala – Pookalam

Onam festival in Kerala – Pookalam

There is a folk song describing Maveli. It says, Maveli nadu vaneedum kalam, manusyarellarum onnu pole”. It means that when Maveli ruled the kingdom everyone was treated equally.

The story is, Bali, the Asura (demon) king ruled his kingdom with the enchanting state of Kerala as his capital. Though he was an asura, he was religious, paid respects to the priests and carried out the Vedic Aswamedha ritual to widen his kingdom. Bali sacrificed his kingdom just like his grandfather (Prahlada) who was among the greatest devotees of Lord Vishnu on Earth. The King was revered in the kingdom and was considered to be kind, prudent, and shrewd.

As he was a Daitya(descendent of Diti), Devas felt that he was evil. Except for that, the rule of Mahabali was virtuous as per the Vamana Purana. People believed that he encroached others’property.(based on Thiruppavai).

Onam festival celebrations are held in Trikkakara, which is 10 Km away from Kochi(Cochin) on the Edapally- Pookattupadi road. It is said that Trikkakara was the capital of the powerful King Mahabali. There is a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu who is in the form of Trikkakara appan or Vamanamurthy.

This enchanting fable is beautifully portrayed at Suchindram Temple in Kanyakumari district, a place where Lord Shiva is said to have killed Banasura, the wicked child of the divine Mahabali.
It is alleged that Kerala had seen its golden times during the reign of King Bali. There was no prejudice based on caste and creed. All were very happy in the kingdom.

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