With Onam Sadhya, You’ll Get That Yummy Yum And Some More

With Onam Sadhya, You’ll Get That Yummy Yum And Some More

The Onam Sadhya is indeed a meal fit for a king.

Having such a meal by all means will make you question your morality. Hinduism, like every major religion, has many tales that address the folly of one’s greed. Likewise, such is the legend of King Mahabali, the origin story of the Onam festival.

Almost all Indian children have grown up with this story in one form or another. As the folklore goes, there once lived a conquering King Mahabali. Known for his generosity, and was beloved by his subjects. In order to test the magnanimity of king Mahabali. Lord Vishnu, the triple deity of supreme divinity, once manifested on earth.

The Lord knew King Mahabali was particularly fond of conquering new lands. Thus, in the avatar of Vaman, an ascetic Brahman little person, Lord Vishnu, appeared. In his petition to King Mahabali, Vaman requested land in a donation. To enumerate, he told the king that the land grant would only cover three steps’ worth of land.

Without a moment’s hesitation, the king accepted this condition. As soon as this happened, Vaman the little Brahman grew to an all-encompassing size. Accordingly, he covered the earth in his first step. Thereupon, taking his second step, he covered the heavens. In the end, Vaman had nothing left in the cosmos to step on.


To place his last step, Mahabali, the ever so charitable King offered Vaman his head. Vaman stepped on Mahabali’s head without delay and with much pleasure. As a result, the altruistic monarch got pushed down to the underworld. What’s more, the gods were pleased with the king and granted him a boon.

Once a year, Mahabali was permitted to visit his land (modern-day Kerala).

Onam is the day when people celebrate this epic with a huge feast. Atthapookalams, elaborate flower carpets are rolled out for the homecoming of their beloved king Mahabali. The celebration of Onam marks the start of spring not only in Kerala, but around the world.

In Kerala and everywhere, people of all religions celebrate Onam with equal zeal. Women wear the traditional golden-bordered kasavu sarees while men don the kasavu Mundus. Albeit everyone sits down together to enjoy the most significant meal of the year – Onam Sadhya. In essence, a sadhya is a lavish feast served on a plantain leaf.