The chariots of the Viswanathaswamy temple and three satellite temples will be pulled through the streets of the Kalpathy Agraharams (Brahmin settlements) on Wednesday marking the culmination of the two-week Kalpathy car and music festivals.
The festivals attracted thousands of people from different parts of the State and outside. A number of foreign tourists visited Kalpathy for the car festival.
The car festival began on Monday with a chariot mounted with the Kalpathy Viswanatha Swamy's idol going round the villages. On the second day, on Tuesday, the temple cars with the idols of Manthakara Mahaganapathy temple of New Kalpathy went round the villages.
On the concluding day on Wednesday, the idols from the Old Kalpathy and Chathapuram temples will be taken out in a procession in the morning. By evening, all the chariots will return to the temples and Abhishekams will be performed. The idols will then be redecorated and taken out in a procession again in a floral palanquin around midnight. The palanquin will be taken back to the temple by dawn, which falls on the first of the Tamil month of Karthigai, coinciding with the Kadamukham festival in Mayuram.
The festival is celebrated in the last week of the Tamil month Aippasi. It starts on Aippasi 22 and concludes on the last day of the month.
The festival is based on the Vedic Tamil Brahmin culture. The Tamil Brahmins who migrated to Palakkad in the 14th Century established as many as 96 Agraharams in the district and 18 in the town.
All the agraharams have temples. The festival starts at Kalpathy in the last week of Aippasi and ends with the festival in Thirunellai village in the second week of Vaikasi. Thus the festival is spread over nearly six months in the Agraharams.
Though the festival is celebrated by Brahmin settlers, other communities also take part in it. The fifth day's celebration is the privilege of Komutti Chettiars of Pattikara and the right to dismount the idol of the Viswanatha temple goes to Thoni Palayam Chettiars.
One of the important aspects of the festival is the special rights given to the Scheduled Caste people to take the idols from the temple cars to the Viswanathawami temple.
Though the rituals inside the temple and the mode of worship are strictly in accordance to Tamil Brahmin rituals, other activities like beating of drums and decoration of the chariots follow the Kerala tradition.
Keywords: Kalpathy car festival