Re-enacting a voyage linked to Mahabali legend

Keeping alive one of the age-old temple traditions closely linked to the legend of Mahabali, Narayana Bhattathiri of Kattoor Illam at Kumaranallor near here, has set sail on his country boat carrying provisions, for the land of his ancestors who had the privilege of providing the Onasadya (Onam feast) to the deity at the Sri Parthasarathy Temple at Aranmula.

Traditionally it is the eldest male from Kattoor Illam privileged to take the provisions for the ceremonial Onasadya at the temple. As the senior most member of the family, Mr. Bhattathiri is performing his responsibility for the eleventh time.

The day began with the special prayers before the deity at the Kumaranallor temple. By 11.45 a.m. he was ready for the journey. To the chant of prayers by men and women at the Kattoor Illam ghat , Mr. Bhattathiri set sail on his four-day voyage, taking one to a different age, so far, but so close.

According to legend, the ancestors of Mr. Bhattathiri were ordained to carry the provisions of Onasadya, by the deity at the Aranmula temple. However, generations later, Mr. Bhattathiri’s ancestors migrated from Kattoor to Kumaranallor, but the tradition continued.

Mr. Bhattathiri will reach Kidnagara on the outskirts of Changanassery by Sunday evening. After a night halt there he would set sail on the second leg of the voyage on Monday morning. The next stopover is at Moovadathu Mana near Thiruvalla from where he would reach Kattoor.

Accompanied by representatives of 18 families who offer provisions for the Onam feast at the Aranmula temple, he will change his boat and set sail on the ‘Thiruvonathoni’ on the last leg of his voyage immediately after the deeparadhana at the Sri Mahavishnu Temple at Kattoor on Tuesday, Uthradom day.

He will take the same route for his return journey and reach home on the same Churulan Vallom on which he had set out.

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