Special ceremonies were held at major temples in the district to usher in the Malayalam month of Karkkidakam, which is called ‘Panja masam’ (lean season).

As many as 50 elephants were fed at the annual ‘Anayoottu’ (feast for elephants) held at the Sree Vadakkunnatha Temple at 9:30 a.m. under the auspices of Sree Vadakkunnatha Kshetra Kshema Samithy.

Temple Melsanti Kottampally Narayanan Namboodiri offered rice balls to Vettathu Gopikannan, the youngest elephant of the lot, to kick off the event.

The elephants were given rice, bananas, jaggery, honey, corn, pineapple and sugarcane. Hundreds of people gathered at the Thekkinkad Maidan, braving rain, to watch the event.

Each elephant was worshipped at ‘Gajapuja’, which began at 7:30 a.m. The ceremony is held at the temple once in four years

Earlier, a team of 50 priests, led by Puliyannur Sankaranarayanan Namboodiri, performed ‘Ashtadravya Maha Ganapati Homam’. Around 12,000 coconuts, 3,500 kg jaggery and 1,500 kg puffed rice were used for the ceremony.

The events at the temple were insured for Rs.1 crore. Reading of Thunchathu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan’s ‘Adhyatma Ramayanam’ began in Hindu homes. Karkkidakam is also called ‘Ramayana Masam’. The entire epic is read over a month. ‘Adhyatma Ramayanam’ narrates the tale of Valmiki Ramayana in the form of ‘Kilipattu’.

Nalambala Darsanam’, a pilgrimage to the Thriprayar Sree Rama Temple, Moozhikkulam Lakshmana Temple, Irinjalakuda Koodalmanikyam Temple and Payammal Shathrughna temple, undertaken on a single day, began on Wednesday.

Large crowds were seen at the temples, dedicated to the heroes of the Ramayana. Ramayana recital or Karkkidakam rituals were also be held at the Thiruvambadi temple; Paramekkavu temple; Chelakkottukara Kulamuttom Mahavishnu Temple; Perinchery Matom temple; Matha Mangalam Sree Maha Vishnu Temple; Viyyur Manalurkavu Temple; Amballur Kundukavu Bhagavathy Temple; Azhagappa Nagar Sree Vishnu Temple; Vendur Bhuvaneswari temple; Choorakkottu Sree Durga Bhagavathy Temple; Kannara Marakkal Sree Durga Temple; Adattu Ambalakkavu Bhagavathy temple; Chettupuzha Abhedananda Ashram Sree Balasubramaniaswamy Temple; Olarikkara Sree Bhagavathy Temple; Veembil Therothu Siva Temple; Peringavu Sree Dhanwantari Temple and Kattilapoovam Sree Perayil temple.

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