Athachamayam at Tripunithura – The Beginning of Onam

The ten-day harvest festival of Onam kick-starts with Athachamayam at Tripunithura, Kerala. Its a great opportunity to witness the different folk art forms of Kerala.

Atham started to commemorate the landmark victory of the Kochi king. During the days of the kings, this was day to show the royal pomp. This was also an opportunity for the public to meet and greet the king.

 

The day before the festival, we went to the Hill Palace and Museum. It seemed as the festival had already started and everyone was excited. Ladies wearing traditional Mundum Neriyathum stand to welcome procession.

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A Theyyam dancer

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Onam is associated with King Bali’s story, you will see various avatars of him all over during the festival.AttachamayamTripunithura_012

These ladies were standing on the roads to welcome the elephant.

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A practise session for this kid tigers to prepare for the next day of the festival.

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Early morning, we went to the school where the artists were getting ready for the procession. Every face was painted in a different colour. Each person tried his best to look exactly the way they were intended to; they were paying a lot of attention to details.

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Setups were made on trucks to depict some story with a learning. These trucks move along with the procession.

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It was quite hot. This man got tired, came out of the procession and was taking a drink break.

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Some tips for photographers
1. The best time to go is early in the morning when the participants get ready.
2. Please understand that you are not the only photographer there, finish your shots quickly and make room for others. Sometimes one photographer taking too much time leaves the others frustrated, which is not a good idea.
3. Don’t interfere in their activity. Let them do what they are doing and keep shooting.
4. Carry enough water with you during the procession, it is quite hot.
5. Take a hotel close to the venue, during the procession, all roads are closed and you will not get any transport to go back.

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Thanksgiving:
Thanks a lot to my friend Ashit for giving me information about the festival and to my friends Mallika and Jaunet for accompanying me for the trip.

Thank you for reading this post. Hope you liked spending time here. I will be back again with another interesting place.

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This post is written by Saurabh Chatterjee. He is a travel photographer and a photography trainer.
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