Some pictures from my recent visit to Kerala, India.
For the first few days, everywhere we went we saw these beautiful creations
made from flowers, petals and leaves
(the writing here says Happy Onam)
and on this one, the dark red is grated beetroot.
These flower carpets are carefully created (sometimes a fresh one each day) as part of the festival of Onam, in honour of Kerala's most loved king Mahabile
This man came over from the festival procession where he was representing Mahabile, and said hello to us in our car.
Mahabile is believed to return once a year to see how the people he so cared for are getting on.
It is also a harvest festival and the rice and coconut represent plenty and prosperity.
We shared a special feast - a Thali - with local people as part of the celebration. The various delicious dishes and chutneys are served in a set sequence on banana leaves - we ate with our fingers which was easier than I'd expected, I came to quite enjoy doing without the cutlery.
As well as the flower carpets, we saw onam flowers for sale in the streets
and I quickly realised that London, on my return, was going to seem somewhat grey....
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11 months ago