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Kerala Festivals

Kerala celebrates traditional, religious, state and national festivals. These festivals are full of messages depicting one or more aspects of human life, relationships or ancient traditions. Some of the popular festivals are briefed below.

Kerala celebrates traditional, religious, state and national festivals

Nishagandhi Dance Festival (April 5- 12)

The Tourism Development Corporation organises the dance festival. Leading artists of Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kathak, Odissi, modern ballet and other folk form will perform at the open-air theatre of Nishagandhi in the Kanakakunnu Palace compound at Thiruvananthapuram.

Onam Festival (August - September)

Onam is a harvest festival celebrated throughout Kerala in August-September to welcome the yearly homecoming of the legendary King 'Mahabali' who was generous, just and kind. People decorate their homes, wear new cloths and hold special games and competitions.

Vetta & Arattu

This festival is celebrated twice in a year, once in Oct.-Nov. and other in March-April. Vetta represents Lord Vishnu hunting down the demon of evil in the forest

Thrissur Pooram

Thrissur Pooram is the most colourful temple festival of Kerala. The festival attracts large masses of devotees and tourists from all parts of Kerala. Celebrated in the Malayalam month of Medom (April-May) caparisoned elephant processions from neighbouring Krishna and Devi temples proceed to the Vadakunathan Temple.

Nehru Trophy Boat Race

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Kerala is the Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race that began in 1952 when the erstwhile Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, visited Alappuzha. The race is held every year on the second Saturday of August. Many gigantic snake boats with 100 rowers in each representing different villages take part in the race. Another Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held in mid-January to promote tourism


It is a spectacular procession accompanied by caparisoned elephants and floats making the beginning of Onam Festival. Conducted at Thripunithura and Piravam, it displays folk and temple arts of Kerala.

Cochin Carnival

Celebrated in Kochi, The origin of the carnival is traced to the New Year celebration of the Portuguese during the colonial days. Noted for the unique games and competitions, the feast is observed during the last week of December with a grand procession on the New Year day.

Indira Gandhi Boat Race

The race is conducted in the Vembanad Lake (Kochi) during the last week of December to coincide with the tourism fair. Several snake boats representing different villages participate in this race.