Onam and flower carpets (pookalam) go hand in hand. There once was a time when the young and the old used to go out into the garden and pluck flowers that went into making the flower carpets. But now, with living spaces getting more compact, lawns and gardens are a thing of the past. A Malayali has to resort to purchasing flowers from the market.
During Onam, there is a mad rush to buy flowers for the Pookalam. And they come in from just across the bordering states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Here's a list of popular places where thousands of farmers plant flowers to meet the demand. The flowers start blooming by June and the three months that follow is the ideal time to take a trip to these places.
Thovalai is famous for its flower market. And for kilometers of flower farms just beyond the city. It is about 85kms away from the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram and one of the main places from where the flowers arrive at the Chalai bazar. Thovalai is famous for its sweet-scented jasmine flowers in addition to the marigolds and other seasonal flowers.
Picture this. Rolling farmlands with paddy fields, kilometers of flower farms in full bloom. And a rock formation, which was the shooting location of the Tamil movie 'Anyan'. A trip to Sundarapandiapuram will be a relaxing drive. It is just about 122 kms away from Thiruvananthapuram.
The flower merchants of Kerala place their orders with farmers in Hosur for roses and other flowers like chrysanthemums and marigolds.
Did you know that there are farmlands near Trichi where Kozhi Poo, or the Hen's horn flower is the main crop? These flowers arrive by the loads to Kerala during Onam.
First come the sunflowers, then the marigolds, a drive through Gundlupet just around 50 kms away from Kalpetta is a trip you have to make during the months from June to September.