Rise in flower prices hits Onam celebrations

September 3rd, 2008 - 1:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Kozhikode, Sep 3 (IANS) The colourful and often intricate floral patterns called pookkalam, which are made at the entrances to homes in Kerala during the harvest festival of Onam, are a bit smaller this year due to the huge hike in the price of flowers.It is from Atham, the first day of 10-day Onam festivities, that pookkalam is laid. On the Atham day Tuesday, flower outlets, many of them temporary sheds that come up on Onam days, attracted hundreds of customers but they bought only small quantities of flowers as prices have almost doubled since last year.

Rose was being sold for Rs.160 per kilogramme, while marigold and bachelor’s button cost Rs.50 and Rs.100 per kg respectively.

“The prices have skyrocketed this year. I have asked my children to make the pookkalam a little smaller,” K. Sreedharan told IANS as he bought flowers from a shop here.

“When we were young there was no question of purchasing flowers from the market. We used to forage the neighbourhood for flowers. Now people have no time to go around and pick flowers, which are hard to come by anyway,” he said.

The flowers for Onam come mostly from the neighbouring states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

“The flowers you see here are from Mysore and Coimbatore. This time prices have risen sharply,” said P.S. Mani, a flower merchant.

According to Mani, the Vinayaka Chathurthi on Wednesday is one reason for the price rise.

“The flower cultivating villages in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu themselves need flowers for Ganesh Puja decoration. So there is a shortage,” he said.

In Thrissur, the price did not come in the way for N.K. Sudhir and friends from laying a 20-feet floral carpet at Thekkinkadu ground in front of the south gate of Vadakkumnatha Temple.

“The carpet is a venture of a group of friends who used to meet at the ground every evening. The pookkalam cost us Rs.18,000,” Sudhir said.

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