Onam is the grand festival of Kerala in South India and athachamayam marks the beginning of this ten-day festival. It is a grand procession that takes place at Thripunithura, which was the capital of the former kingdom of Cochin, where the royal family was based.
The athachamayam procession is a combination of several pageants, caparisoned elephants, and representations of art forms like theyyam, pulikali, mayilattom, attakavadi, etc. Percussion instruments of all types are played throughout, including the famous Kerala orchestra known as panchavadyam.
Floral carpets, known as pookkalam locally, are an insignia all through Kerala during Onam. Many excellent floral carpets are made at different venues during the athachamayam festival.