|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2006)|
Nemmara, a small village in the Palakkad District of Kerala state, southern India is known far and wide for its 'Vela' festival known as Nemmara-Vallangi Vela.It is the biggest of all vela held in Kerala.
The Vela is a festival celebrated in the villages of the Palakkad and Thrissur (especially in Talappilly Taluk) districts in summer, after the harvest. The prominent crop in this area is rice. After the harvest, the fields are empty and dry, and this is the time for the Vela. The Vela is celebrated on a grand scale, equaling the famous 'Trissur Pooram'. The festival is believed to be the birthday of the presiding deity of the village temple or the memory of a major event like the killing of a demon by the goddess.The most highlight of vela is fireworks.
The Vela falls on the 20th day of 'Meenam', the month in the Malayalam era (2nd or 3 April). Two competing groups, Nemmara and Vallangi, have their own temples plus a common temple, the Nellikkulangara, where the two groups can mingle. The festivities start ten days earlier than the actual day of Vela, with the hoisting of a flag (Kodiyettam), in the respective temples. Natives are not supposed to leave the village once the flags have been raised.
The Nemmara group starts its Vela from the Mandam or Vela Mandam and the Vallangi from the Siva temple. There are 11 to 15 elephants for each of the two groups. These elephants are decorated and to the accompaniment of percussion instruments, are paraded through the main thoroughfares of the town. In the evening, these groups reach the Nellikulangara temple. There is an area of empty fields here, enough to accommodate a large crowd.
The festival attracts a lot of people not only from nearby, but also from the neighbouring districts of Trissur, Malappuram and from Tamil Nadu. The Vela is also an occasion for family reunions. People of the villages settled elsewhere, make it a point to attend the festival. People celebrate this event as a whole without any discrimination of caste/religion.Some foreign tourists are also usually seen. Many TV channels broadcast the festival live.
Another attraction of the festival is the Aana Pandal which is an arch-like structure, where the caparisoned elephants remain for some time. The 'Pandal', fully decorated with coloured electric lamps, give out different light patterns when switched on. Both groups keep the design of the illuminations a secret. The switching on of the 'Pandal' on the previous day of the festival is a grand occasion for the local people.
The finale of the festival is the fireworks display. It is a magnificent show, with both sides vying to get the upper hand. New techniques are tried every year to bring out the best performance. The quality and quantity of the fireworks are discussed by the people for many days after the event.
The selection of the elephants is another prestigious issue for the organisers. They compete to get the best elephants in Kerala, paying exorbitant sums. Both sides (Nemmara and Vallengi), are very competitive. Sometimes, they try to get the same elephant, resulting in unrealistic bidding. If the Nemmara have 21 elephants, the Vallengi will try to match that or have more and vice versa.once Vallangi desam bagged Guruvayoor Padmanabhan for 2,22,222.This remains the highest tender for an elephant till now.
The Highlight of Nemmara-Vallangi Vela is fireworks known as "Vedikettu". Both sides shows beautiful arrangements in it.The special is the kootu.This is considered as the biggest fireworks in the World without using modern and newer pyrotechnics.
Vadhya Kala (Instrument Percussion)
Another one is Vadhya Kala like Panchavadyam and Pandimelam. Vallangi Desam starts the Vela from Siva temple with Panchavadyam and Nemmara Desam starts from Nemmara Mannam (Temple). Both sides of Panchavadyam will finish at AAnapandal (Elephant assembling). Then Paandimelam will start.
How to get there
Nearest Airport: Kochi or Coimbatore Nearest railway station: Palakkad or Trichur or Kollengode. From Kochi Airport: travel to Trichur - 30 km, take a taxi to Nemmara or by bus from Trichur bus stand to Nemmara - 48 km.
From Coimbatore Airport : By Taxi or bus to Palakkad - 60 km.
From Palakkad: By taxi or bus to Nemmara, 28 km.
- Sri Nellikulangara Bhagavathi temple
- Nemmara Vela
- Nemmara Vallangi Vela
- Vallangi Vela
- Trissur Pooram