Manikya Mala, a unique floral weaving pattern to adorn deities now exists only at Thovalai
, in Kanyakumari District
of Tamil Nadu
. Used to adorn Lord Ananthapadmanabha (Lord Vishnu
), this century old art form was once boomed under the patronage of Moolam Thirunal Maharaja of Travancore. Now on the edge of extinction, this is the sole legacy of Muthumperumal and his wife Tamilarasi.
Manikya Mala translates to ‘garland of precious stones’. The garland is made of arli (oleander) flower, nuchi and bulrush leaves. The leaves and flowers are woven together by using the bulrush leaf. This feature prevents flowers from decay and keeps them fresh for three to four days.