Union Minister, MLA among devotees pulling the main car of Viswanatha Swamy temple

The temple chariots (Rathams) of Viswanatha Swamy temple set out on Grama Pradakshinam (going around the villages) at 10 a.m. on Thursday to mark the beginning of the famous Kalpathy car festival.

Union Minister of State for Labour Kodikkunnil Suresh joined the devotees along with Shafi Parambil, MLA; K.A. Chandran, former MLA; and others to pull the rope of the main car of the Viswanatha Swamy temple at Kalpathy to begin the Ratholsavam.

There were huge crowds, including women and children, to pull the temple cars through Kalpathy agraharams (Brahmin villages).

The deities of Viswanatha Swami temple (Kundampalam) were installed in the three cars, one for the main deity Sree Viswanathaswamy and consort Goddess Parvathi, the second for Vigneswara and the third for Lord Subramanian.

The Rathams that set out on the grama pradikshinam in the morning returned to the base around sunset.

On the second day of the three-day car festival, the deity of New Kalpathy village Maha Ganapathy mounts on the Ratham and goes through the long streets of New Kalpathy village. On the concluding day on Saturday, the deities of Old Kalpathy and Chathapuram temple mount on the Rathams and start on grama pradakshinam.

By evening about sunset, all the Rathams return to their bases and the Abhishekom takes place. The deities are redecorated and taken out in a procession in floral palanquins around midnight.

The Kalpathy car festival is preceded by an annual week-long carnatic music festival where doyens of Carnatic music and instrumentalists used to perform.

There was no caste discrimination in conducting the car festival even centuries ago. Though the festival is celebrated by Brahmin settlers, equal rights are given to all communities.

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