A Story of Two Indian Festivals - Storytrails
Every sight has a story to tell

A Story of Two Indian Festivals

The Varaha Mandapa, a 7th century rock-cut cave temple in Mamallapuram, is home to many fascinating tales set in stone. One of the most spectacular panels in the cave features the Trivikrama or Vamana avatar of Vishnu, in which he defeats the demon king Mahabali. This epic tale also happens to be the origin story of Onam, the harvest festival of Kerala.

The Varaha Mandapa at Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu is a 7th century rock-cut cave temple built by the Pallava kings. On a wall inside, you can see a beautifully carved sculpture called the Trivikrama panel. It tells the story of King Mahabali and Vamana, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. The popular version of this tale ends with the connection between Mahabali and the festival of Onam. But there is a lesser-known sequel to this story. It is one of the many charming stories that explain the origin of the festival of Raksha Bandhan (or Rakhi). The panel also tells the story of King Trishanku; you can see his image on one side of the panel, hanging upside down in an awkward position. Now how does he fit into this storyline? This short video will take you through all these fascinating stories from Hindu mythology. 


This video is brought to you in partnership with Tamil Nadu Tourism

Editing credits: Studio A, Chennai 

Music, Sound Design, Mix & Master: Vedanth Bharadwaj (https://www.youtube.com/c/guitarvedanth)

Illustrations: Vibha Surya

Wardrobe Sponsor – Rare Rabbit (https://thehouseofrare.com/)  


  1. Aarti plate – By carrotmadman6, Flickr: Aarti plate, CC-BY-2.0 <https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29530775>
  2. Rakhi image – Pixahive
  3. Onam Pookalam – By Yugaljoshi, CC-BY-SA-4.0  <https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=86504265>
  4. Lord Vishnu image – By Wellcomecollection.org – https://wellcomecollection.org/works/s8mbvak6/images?id=k2h473v3 
  5. Lord Indra – https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/A_2007-3005-55, Public Domain -<https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9874867>
  6. Keshava Temple – By Ms Sarah Welch – Own Work,  CC-BY-SA-4.0 <https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62685852>
  7. 7.Badami Caves – By Ms Sarah Welch – Own Work,  CC-BY-SA-4.0 <https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62856769>
  8. Earth – Public Domain, <https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10548723>
  9. Sky – By Alex Elfimov – Own Work, CC BY 3.0 <https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57886481>
  10. Hoysaleswara Temple, Halebidu – By Ms Sarah Welch – Own Work,  CC-BY-SA-4.0 <https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62751026>
  11. Osiyan Temple, Jodhpur – By Schwiki – Own Work, CC-BY-SA-3.0 <https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32384814>
  12. Changu Narayan Temple, Nepal – Hans Stieglitz – Own Work, CC-BY-SA-3.0 <https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8300261>
  13. Vamana steps on Bali’s Head – ‘Dwarf Incarnation of Vishnu (Trivikrama)’ Nepal, 19th century – From the Collections of Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Public Domain https://collections.lacma.org/node/248927 
  14. Onam images – By Sivahari – Own Work, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16282988>, By Jinufilmmaker – Own Work, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27882654>, By Ms Sarah Welch – Own Work,  CC-BY-SA-4.0https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56747509>
  15. Lakshmi-Narayan – By Dineshkannambadi, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2646797>
  16. Lakshmi Portrait – Painting by Raja Ravi Varma, Public Domain, <https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=347230>
  17. Raksha Bandhan – Pixabay
  18. Southern Cross – Edoddridge – Own Work, CC-BY-SA-3.0 <https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19425365>
END OF STORY

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