There can be no onam without the sadhya. The Onam Sadhya is a very special meal a complex meal of 12 to 30 dishes and beautiful flavours. The onsadaya as it is known is a beautiful multi-course meal with a host of vegetarian dishes, each one as beautifully complex, or simple, as the other. The 30 dishes that comprise the onsadaya is served on a banana leaf and eaten at lunch. The least you will eat is 12 dishes; the most is 30, served largely in temples. The beauty of the flavours lies in the fresh ingredients used, the spices and the way they are cooked. The quintessential Onam Sadhya meals include papad, banana chips, several pickles, avial, olan, kaalan, thoran mezhukkupuratti and dal topped with ghee, besides rasam, khichadi, coconut chutney and buttermilk. Not to forget that quintessential Kerala dessert, Payasam. The beauty of this meal not just lies in the way it is served, on green banana leaves, or the fact that you eat a virtual 25 dishes, each placed in a particular designated place on the leaf. It also lies in the fact that the meal is a sign that Keralites offer Mahabali, the mythical king who is said to return home for 10 days from heaven, that they are happy and prosperous and can afford a meal as elaborate as this.The feasting begins with the ritual of offering the Onam Sadya items to Lord Ganesha.