The Onattukara region, spread over Kayamkulam and Mavelikara, has come alive with the ‘Kettukazhcha’ festival season beginning.
The season, which will reach its zenith with the Chettikulangara Kumbha Bharani festival on February 20, got off to a colourful start with the ‘Kettukazhcha’ pageant in connection with Maha Sivarathri celebrations at the Padanilam Parabrahma Temple at Nooranad, about 60km from here, on Friday.
Steeped in history, legends and endearing tales of religious harmony, the temple saw thousands flocking to its premises to have a glimpse of the gigantic, colourful temple cars bearing equally huge effigies of
bullock. Seventeen of them were brought to the ‘padanilam’ in energetic processions that were accompanied by thumping music and dancing devotees. Brought from the 13 provinces of Palamel, Edappon, Muthukatukara, Naduvilemuri, Thathammuna, Nedukulanjimuri, Ulavakad, Kidangayam, Pazhanjikonam, Pulimel, Edakunnam, Pattoor and Puthupallikunnam, the ritual of the bullocks paying homage to the temple deity is part of what is said to be one of the biggest such festivals in the State.
The season will move into top gear on the Bharani Nakshatram day of the Malayalam month of Kumbham at the Chettikulangara Temple, famous for its unique rituals like the Kuthiyottam and Kettukazhcha. The festival this year is scheduled to be on February 20.
Dedicated to the Goddess Shakti, known locally as ‘Chettikulangara Amma’ or ‘Chettikulangara Bhagavathi’, the temple’s festival will have a ‘Kettukazhcha’ (display) of the huge decorated forms of temple cars known as ‘Kuthiras.’ Chariots and two huge idols of Bheema and Hanuman are also part of the Kettukazhcha.