Thousands of people reached the shores of the Periyar in spite of incessant rain to offer Vavu Bali, the ritual of paying obeisance to one’s ancestors, held on the new moon day of the Malayalam month of Karkadakam.

The limited facilities on the roadsides because of the submerged sandbanks of the Periyar in Aluva did not deter people from taking part in the rituals.

The rituals started around 4 a.m. and around 150 priests had arrived to help the people with the rituals.

The Mahadeva temple administration helped the people by conducting the rituals for several groups at the same time.

This also eased the constraints of space. Usually these rituals are conducted by a priest for one group at over 300-odd balitharas that are arranged on the sandbanks.

The ritual is completed with a full dip in the river and this was held in the flooded portion of the sandbank just down the temple devaswom office.

The presence of the personnel of the Navy, Fire Force and the police made the people feel safe with rescue boats being kept ready to meet any emergency.

The Advaith Ashram at Aluva also arranged for balitharpanam rituals where about 24,000 people took part, said the manager at the ashram Swami Sivaswaroopananda. The hall at the ashram can accommodate about 2,000 people in a sitting.

The balitharpanam rituals were held way past afternoon on the shores of the river.

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