Thousands of devotees thronged the Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple at Tripunithura on Thursday to make their offerings to Lord Vishnu on the ‘Thrikketta Purappadu Day’, the fourth day of the temple’s eight-day-long ‘Vrischikolsavam’ (as it takes place in the Malayalam month of Vrischikam).
Traditionally, ‘Thrikketta Purappadu Day’ sees Sree Poornathrayeesa in opulent majesty, ensconced in a jewel-studded golden accoutrement atop a stately tusker surrounded by 14 elephants while devotees make their offerings in golden pots specially taken out from the temple’s kallara (treasure vault) for the occasion. Kanikkayidal, as it is known, usually begins with the senior-most/available member of the Kochi royalty making the first offering.
Legend has it that when Vilva Mangalath Swamiar arrived for darshan at the temple on a Thrikketta Day, the deity had disappeared from the sanctum sanctorum. And, as he stepped out in disappointment, there was the Poornathrayeesa playing with children mounted on 15 elephants. The Lord showered his blessings on Vilva Mangalam.
The Thrikketta Purappadu began early on Thursday morning. After the twilight Deeparadhana (worship using lighted wick lamps) got over, a procession comprising 15 elephants was taken out, with a tusker named ‘Nanuvezhuthachan Sreenivasan’ wearing golden caparison carrying the replica of the deity fastened to a bejewelled golden accoutrement. As the environment resonated with traditional percussion and wind music, devotees offered their donations.
“The ‘Thrikketta Purappadu’ marks a breakpoint in the eight-day festival, with seeveli and vilakku taking place at 7 p.m. instead of the usual 8.30 p.m. in the remaining days,” V. Induchoodan, secretary of the Sree Poornathrayeesa Seva Sangham, said.
The festival is significant in that it witnesses the opening of the temple’s treasure vault that safeguards the golden caparison, the golden pots and the immaculate accoutrement of the deity. The vault has three keys, each in safe custody of the Dewaswom assistant commissioner, the Dewaswom officer and the sthaneeyan, the oldest member of a family traditionally bestowed with the position. Elayidathu Vasudevan Moothathu is the current sthaneeyan, a.k.a the Valiya Moothathu.
Rameshan Thampuran, member of the Kochi Royalty that has long-worshipped Sree Poornathrayeesa as its protector, says that the golden accoutrement holding the deity’s replica features five types of priceless stones. There were 15 golden caparisons, too, for all the 15 elephants traditionally paraded in the festival, but during the reign of Ramavarma (1895-1940), 14 were sold off to raise funds for extending railway connectivity south of Shoranur. The Vrischikolsavam festival will draw to a close with Aaraattu on Monday.