The Grandeur of Nenmara Vallangi Vela, Kerala

The people of Kerala are so much fascinated by festivals, elephants, Panchavadyam (orchestra of five traditional instruments), and pyrotechnics. Prominent places of worship in Kerala turned out to be the largest crowd-pullers during festival days. Beyond the religious constraints and boundaries, such festivals are attended by people of all faiths. Thrissur Pooram is a world-famous temple festival. Similarly, Nenmara Vallangi Vela in the Palakkad district of Kerala is a crowd-puller.

Although not as famous as Thrissur Pooram, as per Google, Nenmara Vallangi Vela has the biggest fireworks in Asia during the final day of the festival. The Nenmara Vallangi Vela is an annual local temple festival. It is celebrated by two adjoining villages named Nenmara and Vallangi.

Videos courtesy Insta @nemmaraofficial

History and Significance

Nenmara and Vellangi are two villages in the Palakkad district of Kerala. These two villages play a vital role in conducting the festival. The festival is celebrated in the Malayalam month of Meenam which is usually in April. On the first day of Meenam, a flag is hoisted to herald the festival fervor. And it lasts for 20 days. The 20th day of Meenam is considered to be the birthday of the presiding deity of Nellikulangara Bhagavathy. Hence the occasion is celebrated as Nenmara Vallangi Vela.

Since both the aforesaid villages come together in a friendly competition to celebrate the festival, it is named Nenmara Vallangi Vela. As it is a common festival, both the villages congregate at Nellikulangara Bhagavathy Temple for the Vela.

There are different phases for the Nenmara Vallangi Vela. On the 18th day, Kari Vela is carried out. During Kari Vela, the performers appear their bodies smeared with black powder representing Goddess Kali and disciples of Lord Shiva. It is symbolic of the victory of Goddess Kali over the demon Darika. Even as the festival enters its final days, the festival brims with colorful and ritualistic activities.

On the final day, with religious rituals, the celebrations commence at 4.00 and 4.30 AM respectively at both the villages.

After the harvest, the vacant paddy fields in the region become the stage for the festival.

The exact data on how and when the festival originated is more or less blurred. However, since 1980 the festival gained more popularity. And each year since then, it has been progressing attracting more crowds from far and wide.

Major highlights of Nenmara Vallangi Vela

Anapanthal

Both the villages make one temporary infrastructure called ‘Anapanthal'. These facilities are used to house the elephants. It is like an entrance to the festival area of both villages. Each team pays a great deal of attention to deck Anapanthal in the best way possible. Expert personnel and modern technology are used to outsmart each other. The height and width of the Anapanthal exceed 30 feet each. Embellished with tens of thousands of small bulbs, it is a visual treat and one of the highlights among others. Usually the first couple of days of the festival families visit the spot to marvel at the decorations.

Caparisoned Elephants

On the final day, magnificent processions with caparisoned elephants are taken out from the two villages to the Nellikulangara Temple. Elephant lovers look forward to witnessing this spectacle every year. Both village teams make sure to line up the best and most popular elephants. Obviously, the more popular the elephants, the larger the crowds. And when these giants are fully adorned, their beauty is doubled. Since the ambiance is so crowded and noisy anything can happen. Hence, a lot of attention is paid by the organizers to arrange the elephants and also their rest, food, necessary permits, medicine, etc.

Traditional Kerala Orchestra

Music lovers get a delightful experience here. More than two hundred traditional artists display their brilliance by playing their instruments. Each team arranges a set of an orchestra comprising all the necessary instrument players. Once they reach the temple, the two sides perform the Panchavadyam (traditional Kerala orchestra) on the final day. Since it is done with a competitive spirit you get to enjoy the best of artists playing the best music.

Indigenous Art Forms

Different art forms, both performed and ornamented are on display in full colors. Among them, pictorial representation of deities on the floor using colored powders is a major attraction. Different forms of presiding deity are portrayed on different days. For the said ritual only natural colors are used.

Other traditional folk arts like Kummatti, Karivela, and Andivela are played during these days. Both the organizing villages make sure the best of the artists are part of the event. Thereby, the crowd gets to witness their favorite art forms in the best manner possible.

Fireworks

One of the most awaited parts of the celebrations is the fireworks called “Kuttu” which light up the whole sky on the day of the Nenmara Vallangi Vela.  Each year both villages display new and different ways to make their fireworks more extravagant and unique. Certainly, fireworks at Nenmara Vallangi Vela are the most iconic event. Considered to be the biggest pyrotechnics in Asia, the fireworks here are an electrifying sight. In fact, of the thousands of people thronging to the festival field, the majority are coming to witness the fireworks. When it comes to pyrotechnics, it outmatches even the spectacle of Thrissur Pooram.

Finally, on the 21st day, there is a lowering of the flag ceremony in both villages marking the culmination of the festival.

Note: Since the atmosphere becomes so vociferous and compelling due to the pressure of fireworks and crowds, maintain an adequate distance from the fireworks. Also note that, generally, Palakkad district is one of the sultriest places in Kerala during summer.

How to reach?

The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, which is 91 KMs away.

The nearest railway station is Palakkad, which is 33 KMs away.

The nearest major city is Nenmara, which is 1KMs away and the local town is well connected by roads.

Author

Deepu

A Travel enthusiast and Foodie, craving to explore the intricate beauty of nature and its gift of delectable treats. Pens down his thoughts and experiences to present a delightful journey for his readers

2 thoughts on “The Grandeur of Nenmara Vallangi Vela, Kerala

  • May 18, 2023 at 5:27 pm
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    Da super article.

    Reply
  • May 24, 2023 at 6:28 am
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    Hi there
    Thanks so much for sharing, I have wanted to visit India for such a long time but never managed it but I`d one day love to experience the vibrant culture,world known curries, visit the Taj Mahal, kerala and all that India has to offer.
    Until that time comes, I have subscribed as I`d like to know more so that when the time comes, I`d be well informed and ready.

    Reply

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