Pookalam contest saw 50 teams vying with each other for the top slot

The air was filled with the scent of flowers. The floor was decked with patterns and figures such as woman, farmer, Kathakali dancer, King Mahabali and Vamana. The floral arrangement was a myriad of hues streaked in yellow, white, green and red.

All this was part of the Pookalam Contest 2012, organised by the Malayala Manorama, Chennai Region, at Chettinad Vidyashram auditorium, R.A. Puram, on August 19.

This year’s contest witnessed 50 teams vying with each other to transform their creative designs into a floral arrangement. Music director Deepak Dev, Sound designer M.R. Rajakrishnan and DGM Marketing-Parry Neutraciticals (Murugappa Group) S. Keraleeyan were the judges for the event. Babu Immanuel, MD of Original Kerala Jewellers (OKJ); and A.V. Anoop, Managing Director, Medimix, selected a team each of their choice and presented awards.

Prize winning teams

ICF Friends of Kolathur, who came first for their striking pattern with perfect sequence, was given a cash award of Rs. 15,000 and a shield; Kerala Kala Samithi of Egmore, that brought out the scene of Gajendra Moksham, stood second and was given a cash award of Rs. 10,000 and Ushus of Selaiyur, that brought out the sketch of a cock walking, came third and was given a prize of Rs. 7,500.

OKJ’s special prize — a gift voucher of Rs. 12,000 — was given to the team Aiswarya of Padi, which came up with a captivating floral design. One had to resist touching the violin, which was brought out with a 3D effect by the team Sargamaya of Velachery. The team was honoured by Medimix with a cash prize of Rs. 10,000.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Deepak Dev said, “Every Malayalee living outside Kerala will miss Onam celebrations of his hometown. The Pookalam is an effort to create that ambience. The designs are expressions of nostalgia.”

“With 50 Pookalams in a hall, I think it is like a dream of flowers. It is not easy to judge a Pookalam as each has its own style and design. Though not all the teams can be awarded for the effort, I congratulate them on making the ambience beautiful,” said Mr. Rajakrishnan.

Origin of Pookalam

‘Poov’ means flower, ‘kalam’ means colour sketches and the speciality of Pookalam is that no colour powder or artificial flowers are used. Pookalam, also known as Aththa-poo, is part of the 10-day Onam celebrations, which begins on Atham and ends on Thiru Onam during the month of Chingam.

Keralites believe that their beloved King Mahabali visits Kerala during Onam to see his subjects living happily. To welcome the King, colourful floral patterns are drawn on the front courtyard of the Kerala houses.

With the traditional festival becoming a secular one, organising contest and honouring the best ones have become part of the festival.

Though Onasadya (nine-course meal), Vallamkali (snake-boat race) and Onakalikal (traditional games) remain as the unique features of Onam celebrations in Kerala, Pookalam has become an integral part of the celebrations throughout south India.

This year Thiru Onam falls on August 29. Let creativity begin! Happy Onam!

RELATED NEWS

Arts, Entertainment & EventsMay 14, 2012

More In: Chennai