Showing posts from February, 2018

Of bandhs, elephants and melam - Part 2

So I had braved the bandh and reached my hometown.

The festival in Ernakulam Siva temple was on in full swing.  The day we reached was the 5th day of the 8 day festival.  Most Kerala temples have a festival protocol - from hoisting the festival flag to pooram, para, sheeveli, vilakku and finally the unhoisting of the flag followed by aaraattu.

Sheeveli (the circumambulation of the festival idol around the temple compound on caprisoned elephants to the accompaniment of chenda melam) is one of the highlights of the festival and is performed both on morning on all the festival days and evening on days except the first, last day, pooram day and utsava bali day.  Reputed melam artistes participate in the melam.  This is the time melam aficionados are waiting for.  Though I was brought up in Ernakulam and had witnessed the festival for a number of years, I had not had a chance to appreciate the many festival traditions like melam (familiarity breeds contempt).  I was determined to make up …