As the skies remained clear, crowds began to throng festival venues by Saturday evening

On the morning before Uthradom, the city, caught in a sleepy holiday mood, was far from ready to ring in the festivities. One had to look no further than the walls lining the Napier Museum, which is considered one of the hubs of Onam celebrations here, to gauge this fact.

Final touches

All through the day, a bunch of painters were working on the familiar red and white hues as part of the sprucing-up work undertaken at major city centres ahead of Onam.

At the adjacent Kanakakkunnu grounds, the Ferris wheels were running with more than half of the cars vacant. Same was the case with all the other ‘rides’ at the grounds.

The city residents seemed to expect a repeat of the rain that lashed the city in the past two days.

But by evening, things began to slowly fall into place with the first of the festival crowds gathering at Kanakakkunnu and other places as the skies remained clear through the day.

The city-wide illumination which was switched on officially on Friday, gave the much needed colour to the night.

Queues were also visible near the ‘rides.’

“I was apprehensive of the rain playing spoilsport. But thankfully it has been clear today. Hope it remains the same at least until Thiruvonam Day. This is the most awaited period for people like us as the volume of sales is much above normal,” L. Jayan, who was walking around with his collection of toys and balloons, said.

The road around the periphery of the Napier Museum, which is a favourite haunt of the evening walkers, remained deserted as the crowds started moving towards the trade fairs and festival stalls arranged at Kanakakkunnu and on the premises of the Institution of Engineers Hall.

Traffic chaos

Saturday also gave an idea of what to expect on the traffic front in the coming days as the major roads were chock-a-block with vehicles.

Vehicles parked on either side of the roads also contributed much to the chaos as traffic personnel had a hard time managing the extra rush in the evening.