Nemmara-Vallangy Vela

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A loud dynamite explodes during the fireworks at Nemmara-Vallangy Vela 2007.

Nemmara, a small village in Palakkad District of Kerala state, south India is known far and wide for its ‘Vela’ festival known as Nemmara-Vallangi Vela. Vela is a festival celebrated in the villages of Palakkad district in summer, after the harvests. The prominent crop in these areas is paddy. After harvest, the fields are empty and dry, and this is the time for Vela. Nemmara Vela is celebrated on a grand scale, equalling 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 finale of the festival is the display of fireworks. It is indeed 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.