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Onavillu : A divine offering

Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple is an ancient Hindu temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Located at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, South India, this temple is one of the 108 holiest shrines of Lord Mahavishnu.

On thiruvonam day of the Onam festival, which is the birthday of Lord Mahavishnu, devotees of Lord Vishnu in large numbers, visit the Padmanabhaswamy temple to pay homage and to take part in the onavillu charthal or the dedication ceremony of the colourful bows.

The ceremonial onavillu is made from a flat piece of wood, tapering on both sides. It is then decorated with miniature paintings of Anantha Sayanam (Sayanam means reclining pose), Goddess Lakshmi, Thadaka, Maharshi and Dwarapalakas.

The making of the bows is the preserve of a local family.