Kathakali Faces Hang Around at LuLu Mall, Ernakulam

Kathakali face cutouts hung on display at the LuLu Mall in Ernakulam (Kochi), Kerala during the Onam festival season like all mall interiors are decorated. Along with Onam, Snake Boats etc., Kathakali and its faces are among the strongest cultural synonyms and representative images (and tourist attractions) of Kerala. Kathakali is a world-famous art form that originated and is practiced in Kerala, a kind of dramatized dancing usually depicting stories from the Mahabharata performed by actors wearing highly stylized makeup, elaborate headgear, and costumes that are often a riot of colors. The end result of this makeup generally looks like the faces in this picture.

Aluva Puzha, Aluva Sky, Aluva Manappuram…

Blue everywhere during early morning as one end of the Aluva Manappuram, where the mighty Periyar river splits into two flows along calm and composed in the morning, as its banks are seen as apit of green between the blue sky and the blue river… The famous Aluva Manappuram Mahadeva Temple (Shiva Temple) can be seen along with the “Manappuram Kadathu”. Aluva Manappuram and its surroundings are steeped in Kerala culture and history as locations for the annual “Balitharppanam” and also of the historic Mamankam festival and many wars. It was the spot where many ancient and medieval kingdoms flexed their muscles of power and where much blood had been spilled, now lies silent and contended… Note the reflection of the apartment highrise in the water.

The Blue Periyar River at Aluva at Dusk

As dusk was falling, the blue Periyar river flows silently past Aluva in all her glassy majesty. Aluva is Ernakulam/Kochi’s most important suburb which is slowly getting integrated into the city. Facing us in the distance is the famous Aluva Manappuram where thousands of people congregate during Sivaratri to do “pithrutharppanam” or “Bali tharappanam” to honor their ancestors. The Periyar river is closely tied with Kerala and her culture from ancient ages.¬†Shot from a railway bridge.¬†This is the location.

Happy Vishu! Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

The Kani Konna or Golden Shower tree and its blooms or Cassia Fistula (scientific name) blooms as the time for Kerala’s second most important cultural festival, Vishu approaches, which falls today, April 14. Vishu coincides with the Malayalam month Medam 1 on the Kollavarsham (Malayalam calendar), and used to be observed as the New Year falling on the Vernal Equinox for many centuries, before the calendar was changed and Chingam 1 was made the technical New Year. But still, Vishu is celebrated as the New Year in Kerala. The Kani Konna is popularly used as a part of the “Vishu Kani”, the ritul first thing seen on the New Year. The Kani Konna is also Kerala’s state flower.