Onam | Thiru Onam

Onam is a festival in Kerala. Onam is clebrated with fun and fervor in Kerala. The Onam festival is a ten day festival. Onam is celebrated in the Chingam month of the Kerala Calendar.

The legend for celebrating Onam is the return of the Demon King Maha Bali to his kingdom. Onam is celebrated to welcome the King Maha Bali. As per the Puranas it is believed that King Bali was forced down to Patala Loka by Lord Vishnu in the form of Vamana, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

The Story of King Bali:

Kind Bali was a demon king who was pious. All the people in his kingdom were happy. It was a golden era during the rule of King Bali.

King Bali was ruling as per Dhrama and also perfomed many Yagnas and Yagas. King Bali’s popularity as a great king exceeded that of Indra. At a particular time the whole Virtue or Punya that King Bali accumulated was more than what was required to become Indra and be the lord of Gods.

Indra was overcome by fear of getting removed and King Bali to become the king of Gods. He approached Lord Vishnu and prayed to him to save him. Lord Vishnu was pleased with Indra and gave him assurance.

Once King Bali was performing a Yaga. Lord Vishnu came to the Yaga in the form an Brahmin boy and introduced himself as Vamana. King Bali welcomed the boy and asked him what can he give him.

Vamana asked Bali to grant him all the things that he could cover in three steps. As King Bali was getting ready to give him the same, the Guru of Demons Sukracharya, warns Bali that the Brahmin boy is none other than Lord Vishnu and he was here only to see the destruction of Bali. King Bali replies that if Lord Vishnu has come, then it is a honor for him to be able to give the Lord something.

Bali grants the boy the wish and the tradition of granting the wish is to pour water from the Kamandalam(pot carried by Rushis). While Bali tries to pour water from the Kamandalam, the water doesn’t come out form the hole. Bali is surprised. Vamana understands that Sukracharya was obstructing the flow of water by becoming small and blocking the passage. Vamana takes a small stick and inserts into the hole. The stick pierces one eye of Sukracharya, who immediately returns back to the normal form outside. Thus Sukracharya loses one of his eyes.

Lord Vamana takes the three steps from Bali and then increases his size enoromously, with one step he covers the whole earth and with the second step he covers the other worlds, he asks Bali where he should keep the third step. Bali immediately tells him to keep the third feet on his head. Which Vamana does and press him to PatalaLoka.

Lord Vishnu moved by the sacrifice of Bali, grants him the following wishes

1)   Bali would rule the Patala Loka

2)   Bali would be Indra for one Manvantra

3)   Bali could visit his kingdom once in a year

This visit of Bali is celebrated as Onam.


The festival as said earlier goes on for ten days as follows:

First DayAtham
Secnd DayChitira
Third DayChodhi
Fourth DayVisakam
Fifth DayAnizham
Sixth DayThriketa
Seventh DayMoolam
Eighth DayPooradam
Ninth DayUthardam
Tenth DayThiruvonam


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