Thripunithura Athachamayam is the
colourful beginning for the Onam festival of Kerala. Athachamayam is held
on Atham asterism of the Malayalam month Chingam (August/September), which
is the first day of Onam. Thripunithura is the small town near to
Ernakulam in Kerala.
History of Athachamayam:
Athachamayam celebrations is closely linked with Cochin royal family. In
the olden days, Maharaja of the erstwhile state of Cochin, used the custom
of travelling to the Thripunithura fort with all his entourage. His people
can greet him and see him closely at this occassion. People from all walks
of life, including the priest of the church of Karingachira, Champil
Arayan, Nettoor Thangal would greet the king. According another popular
belief, Maharaja travelled from Thripunithura to Thrikkakkara Vamana
Temple on the Atham day. The glory of the King is displayed during this
When the rein of the Kings came to end after independance, the festival
had died out. But it was revived by the Kerala Government in 1960. Now,
the procession is without the King, but with all the spectacular colours
of the folk arts of Kerala, as well as the tableaus of the current
happenings. Athachamayam is conducted in a spectacular manner in
Thripunithura every year.
Tourists as well as the local people can witness almost all the art forms
tableaus in Athachamayam procession. Witnessing this event is an
enchanting experience for anyone. There will be many caparisoned elephants
(elephants decorated with the traditional 'Nettipattam'). Kerala's art
forms like Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Thiruvathirakali, Theyyam, Karakattam,
Ammankudam, Attakavadi, Pulikali, Mayilattam and many more are presented
as floats in this procession.
Kerala's famous musical ensembles Chendamelam, Panchavadyam, Pambamelam
etc. can also be witnessed. Tourists, both National and International,
flock Tripunithura to witness this spectacular, customary procession.
Floral carpets are also made during Athachamayam.
One can reach Thripunithura by road, rail or Air. Cochin International
Airport is about 30 km from Thripunithura. There is a railway station at
Thripunithura. Also, one can get down at Ernakulam Town or Ernakulam
Junction Railway Stations to reach Thripunithura. There are a lot of
private and KSRTC bus services to this historical town.