Photographer's Note

This is a flower decoration set for the harvest festival of Onam in Kerala. The decoration is meant to welcome the King Mahabali for a feast at every house.

The decoration is called the "Atha poovu". Mahabali was the legendary King of Kerala who is said to visit his subjects from the netherworlds once every year on Onam. It is said that when the fame of Mahabali exceeded that of the Gods, the Gods went berserk. To stop this imbalance, the Lord Vishnu, one among the trinities, descended to earth in the guise of a poor brahmin and asks the king for alms and gets assurance for 3 measures of land. The Lord then appears in his gigantic form and measures the heavens and the earth in 2 strides and asks for the 3rd stride of land. The king in his wisdom sees thru the brahmin's plot and offers his head for the third stride. The lord is pleased with the King's generosity and asks to grant one wish to the King. The King asks to visit his subjects once every year which is celebrated as Onam in Kerala.

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Additional Photos by Ranjith Kumar (apache) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 325 W: 13 N: 359] (1426)
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