Nenmara Vallangi Vela
Nenmara Vallangi Vela, one of the biggest festivals of Kerala, South India, is celebrated at Nellikulangara Bhagavati temple in Palakkad district. This grand festival with all its colors and splendor is considered second only to the famous festival of Thrissur Pooram. It is held in the month of Meenam (March-April) as per the Malayalam calendar.
The two neighbouring villages, Nenmara and Vallangi or Vallengi celebrate the vela festival as a joint invocation to Goddess Bhagavathi. They compete with each other to produce their best and the effect is simply majestic.
The festival begins on the first day of Meenam with the traditional flag hoisting ceremony – kodiyettam. On the ninth day the flags are hoisted at both the villages and art forms like Kummatti, Karivela and Andivela are staged on the 9th, 18th and 19th day respectively.
On the twentieth day there is a stunning procession; about 30 caparisoned elephants line up in ritual magnificence under a decorated canopy. The villagers from both the villages stand face-to-face at the tsavapandal (festival marquee) and present panchavadyam and other traditional percussion ensembles.
As part of the ceremony, many rituals are performed. The processions go back to their villages and return the same night with equal spirit, vigor and dynamism. A magnificent display of fireworks that follows brightens the night sky.
The festival comes to an end after koora azhikal (ritualistic lowering of the festival flags) on the twenty-first day at both the villages.