Flowers for the Gods

A number of professionals contribute to the celebration of rituals and festivals at the small, large and famous temples of Mylapore.

Two kinds are always required round the year. Traditional craftspeople who create vahanams, small chariots and other wooden accessories that are essential here.

And flower decorators who add natural colour and life to the processions of the gods.

In both these categories, the people who pursue their craft follow traditions of their past generations. But some are in it for the first time.

E. Elumalai has been selling flowers for the last 25 years at the vintage Flowers Market in north Madras. He is the first generation in this business.

He has been decorating the pushpa pallakku at the Sri Audikesava Perumal Temple for the last 7 years. And when it was time for celebration last month at this Mylapore temple, Elumalai and his team kept the date.

“We use nearly 50 kilos of flowers to decorate the pallakku,” he says. “There are only certain varieties of flowers that we are supposed to use in a Perumal temple.”
So Elumalai collected samanthi, arali, malli, champagini, kanakambaram and veerachai and had them despatched to the temple to decorate the shell of the pallakku.

These flowers are sourced from the markets in Koyambedu and in George Town – they reach the city markets from different parts of the state like Dindigul and Perambalur.

Elumalai and his team need at least three to four hours to get a decorated pallakku ready. And watching them at their craft is a delight.

His shop is at Badriyan Street, Pookadai. He can be reached at 94444 36858.