Maruthamala (Kerala), Sept 12 : Environmentalists laid out a feast for monkeys at a nearby hill in Maruthamala hillock in Kollam District of Kerala as part of the ten-day Onam festival.
The harvest festival, Onam, is celebrated after the harvest has been reaped and granaries are full, as a sure sign of prosperity. It begins on the first day of Malayalam month 'Chingam' and culminates on 'Thiruvonam' day, with a grand feast. On this day, young girls and women make flower patterns called ''Pookalam'' in local parlance to welcome the mythical King Mahabali.
Loaded with bananas, rice and other food items, the environmentalists walked up the hillock to feed their simian friends.
The environmentalists have been crusading to save the hillock from illegal quarrying and to protect the animals residing there.
Feeding the monkeys regularly has become their hobby, but, during Onam, the monkeys are in for special delights.
"This is a state of King Mahabali and all were equal during his reign. That is the reason we celebrate this monkey feast and believe it's very auspicious and are following it for the past eight years now. Thus our main aim is to protect the hillockas well as the wild monkeys who made their habitat in this region," said O. Vijay Prakash, an environmentalist.
The 'Marutha Hill Protection Committee' formed by these environmentalists has been fighting to save the hillock and the animals residing there.