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Like all good stories, the story of Onam has jealousy as its backdrop. The reign of King Mahabali was said to be so impressive that even the Gods grew envious. They plotted and finally Vishnu took on the alias of Vamana and tricked the revered ruler into the netherworlds. Fortunately, Vishnu allowed King to come back once a year to visit his beloved subjects and this homecoming is known as Onam. From Pookkalams (flower carpets) and elaborate sadyas (feasts) to boat races and dancing, the ten…

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“Puli kali” (Tiger Dance), a traditional Kerala art form held in Swaraj Round, Thrissur during the month of September, marks the official ending of Onam celebration in Kerala. Decked in full body paint and masks, the participants of Pulikali dance to the beat of the drums. The make-up process is meticulous and tends to last five to seven hours. These human tigers and the hunters who follow them transform Swaraj Round into a photographer’s dream.

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