The famous Kumbha Bharani festival of the Chettikulangara Devi Temple near Mavelikkara in the district was held on Tuesday with unprecedented rush of devotees thronging the temple to view `kuthiyottam’ performances and `Kettukazhcha’ pageantry.

In what is billed as one of the spectacular show of craftsmanship, gigantic structures including `kuthira’ (horse motifs), theru (chariots) and mammoth idols of Bheema, Panchali and Hanuman were arranged on the ground in the evening for the `Kettukazhcha’ (display) attracting devotees from far-flung areas.

Earlier in the day, `Kuthiyattom’ teams of boys aged eight to 12 years reached the temple in a procession. This year there were 14 teams. These boys, adopted by the devotees who offer this ritual in their names, are being trained by masters on the dancing steps of `Kuthiyottam,’ from Sivarathri onwards.

But the greatest spectacle of the day was reserved for the evening as `Kettukazhcha’ temple cars, chariots and other idols rolled on to the ground near the temple by evening, leaving the devotees dumbfound and culminating this year’s Bharani festival. The people living near the Temple come down to the Temple from their working places in remote corners of the world to witness the `Bharani,' which evokes nostalgia in them wherever there are.

The 13 `karas’ in and around the temple are actively organising the `Kuthiyottam’ ritual and `Kettukazhcha’. The ‘Kumbha Bharani' festivities of the 1,200-year-old Chettikulangara Devi Temple is excepted to be bestowed with the Intangible Cultural Heritage status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) by the end of this year.

The all-India general strike organizers had exempted the temple area from the strike.