Unique temple fete
FESTIVAL The festival of Sree Koodalmanickam Temple stands out for its many unique features.
THE ANNUAL festival of Sree Koodalmanickam Temple at Irinjalakuda started on April 21, with the flag hoisting ceremony.
This Bharatha temple, which belongs to the clan of Padhathikshethram, is devoid of a `balikkalpura,' `utsavabali' or `deeparadhana.'
The 11-day festival at this temple is characterised by many unique features. Unlike in other temples, the deity is brought out of the sanctum sanctorum only once in a year, during the festival season.
Even for the Araattupuzha Pooram, where all the deities are supposed to meet, there is only a symbolic participation from this temple.
Panchari melam, by seasoned artistes, which forms the quintessential part of the festival, attracts laymen and purists alike, who throng the temple at both its eastern and western entrances.
The melam reaches its zenith at the western entrance.
The panchari melam is followed by one of the most charming sights of the festival, when the elephants are paraded alongside the temple pond towards the eastern side, to the beats of Chembada.
The elephants are adorned with silver ornaments. Two elephants accompany the elephant carrying the deity.
The panchari melam in the morning and the panchavadhyam and paandimelam at night, on the day of `pallivetta,' is a unique treat.
Cultural programmes, which include dance, music and religious discourses, are held at the main stage every day in addition to Kathakali performance by well-known artistes. This includes traditional plays and new ones.
`Sree Rama Pattabhishekam' is performed on the eighth day, when the temple complex is filled with devotees and the audience also becomes part of the dance-drama in an ambience charged with devotion.
Temple art forms
One can also attend performances of Kurathiyattam, Paatakam, Thullal and instrumental ensembles, which are essentially temple art forms, such as Thayambaka, Keli, Kombupatte, Kuzhalpatte and Madhalapatte.
Even the `arat,' which is different from other temples, is performed at two destinations in alternate years. Numerous other rituals such as kalasam are performed daily.
Encompassing all aspects of an ulsavam and attracting all sections of society alike, this festival occupies an important place on the cultural map of Kerala.
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Chennai and Tamil Nadu