The aroma of fresh flowers filled the air and the floor was decorated with colourful floral designs as Delhiites from all corners of the city came together Sunday to celebrate the beginning of the Onam festivities.
The patterns marking the beginning of 10-day rituals came alive in the form of the seventh Pookalam decoration contest by media house Malayala Manorama here.
"The festival has been growing with each year. Now it is not just Malyalees who come to this festival, people from other communities also celebrate," said Malayala Manorama resident editor K.S. Sachidananda Murthy.
"We started with 11 participants. Communities from all over the national capital region are a part of this ritual now," he added.
The contest saw participation from 24 groups. Each comprised five members who were given three hours to prepare a floral pattern. The designs were later open for judgement.
"There is lot of tradition, rituals, preparation that goes into these designs. It is a ritual in itself," said Ramachandran, a school teacher from south Delhi's Safdarjung Enclave.
Said Harshit Bansal, a participant: "My teacher told me about the competition. I did not know anything about the culture but found this very interesting and full of tradition."
Onam, celebrated largely in Kerala, marks the homecoming of king Mahabali during the harvesting season in the region.