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Last Updated Wednesday January 18 2017 07:37 PM IST

Elephants, pageantry and a New Year celebration

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Elephants, pageantry and a New Year celebration Festivals in April. Photo: Onmanorama

It is that time of the year again; when the festivals are in full swing. We have Vishu, the first day of the zodiac calendar, which is celebrated with much fun and piety. The Thrissur Pooram, which is considered the biggest of all festivals in Kerala. And that is not all – we take a look at some of the festivals, which you should not miss.

Malayattoor Perunal

Festivals in April During the pilgrimage season, thousands carry the cross uphills. Photo: Onmanorama

Malayattoor festival falls on the Sunday after Easter, which is on the 3rd of April this year. Recognised by Vatican as an 'International Pilgrimage Centre', thousands throng this sacred hill, which traces its history to the advent of St Thomas, one of the disciples of Jesus Christ. Here's is all you need to know about Malayattoor Pilgrimage. Where? Malayattoor Church, about 58kms from Ernakulam. When April 3

Meena Bharani

Festivals in March Kodungalloor Bharani 'Kaavuthendal' ritual. Photo: Onmanorama

The Bharani day in the Malayalam month of Meenam (March - April) too is auspicious for the worship of Mother Goddess in Kerala. The festival is celebrated across the state, but at Kodungalloor, the festivities take on a different hue. Bharani festivities last over seven days. And on the penultimate day, there is a ritual called the 'Kaavutheendal'. Thousands of people dressed as oracles gather at the temple and trust us, it is a pleasure to watch. The final day of the festival is special too.

Where? Kodungalloor is about 40kms from Ernakulam. When: 3 April to 9 April

Painguni Uthiram at Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Festivals in April Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple during the festive nights. Photo: Onmanorama

Painguni Uthiram is celebrated across temples in South India and at Padmanabhaswamy temple, it is very special. Believed to have been that day, when Lord Ram married Sita, the festivities are marked with various celebrations. At the Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram, it is that time of the year when the statues of the Pandavas line up in front of the temple. Gazing up at those huge statues against the backdrop of the temple cuts a pretty picture.

Where? The Padmanabha Swamy temple is at East Fort, Thiruvananthapuram. When: April 11 to April 20

Vishu

Festivals in April The traditional 'Vishukani'. Photo: Onmanorama

Vishu is traditionally marked as the beginning of agricultural planning and operations for the year to come. But now, with agriculture taking the backseat, it is more of a nostalgia.

It is that time of the year when the sun is like molten lead poured over the ground. The time when the Indian Laburnum (Kanikkonna) burst forth with all its golden flowers in spike hanging down the branches. That time when traditionally in the 'old days' of a nostalgic era, the affluent farmer families would make a ceremony and ritual of commencing the agricultural operations for the new year.

When? April 14 Where? Across Kerala

Thrissur Pooram

Festivals in April Thrissur Pooram. Photo: Onmanorama

Thrissur Pooram is synonymous with elephants, parasols and fireworks. And this year, it falls on April 17. It is a festival that garners international attention. Last year Pamela, Anderson had in a letter offered to contribute the cost of 30 life-sized, realistic statues to replace real elephants. But, it is not just the elephants that make the festival special. It is the mood, the backdrop of percussion instruments and the general vibe in the air that makes it a festival that has to be experienced.

Where? The grounds of Vadakkunumnatha Temple, Thrissur. When: The festivities will begin on 11 and the grand finale or the Pooram is on April 17.

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