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Thiruvannur hosts a unique fete

Jabir Mushthari
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The annual Shoorasamhara Maholsavam traces its history to the time of the Zamorins

Celebration peaks:Youngsters making kolams for the Shoorasamhara Maholsavam at Thiruvannur in Kozhikode.— Photo: K. Ragesh
Celebration peaks:Youngsters making kolams for the Shoorasamhara Maholsavam at Thiruvannur in Kozhikode.— Photo: K. Ragesh

The youngsters of Thiruvannur here are a busy lot these days, making kolams (figures) and decorating the streets. For, the annual festival of the region, Shoorasamhara Maholsavam, is on.

The festival flag was hoisted on Sunday on the Subrahmanyan Kovil premises at Thiruvannur heralding the festival, which traces its history to the time of the Zamorins, the former rulers of Kozhikode.

A group of people who were brought from Tamil Nadu by the Zamorin for certain special services were later allowed to make their settlement at Thiruvannur, on the outskirts of the city. They were also allowed to install one of their preferred deities ‘Murugan’ on a small platform under a banyan tree, which was later developed into a temple attracting thousands of devotees.

Shoorasamhara Maholsavam, which is also known as Shoorampada, is celebrated to commemorate the fabled episode of Subrahmanyan (Murugan), with the help of his close aide Veerabahu, killing the Asura kings, Thaarakasuran and Shoorapathman, who were considered to be representing the evil forces.

Kolams tell a story

Huge kolams (figures) depicting the fight involving Murugan and the Asura kings are among the key attractions of the festival.

The streets of Thiruvannur are already resonating with drum beats, dance and ‘Pandimelam,’ and the youngsters are engaged in making the kolams and decorating the streets with festoons and garlands. The week-long festival will come to an end on Sunday with the symbolic slaying of the Asura kings.

Not only the deity, but also the major festival —Shoorasamhara Maholsavam — has many features that suggest the temple’s cultural connections to the neighbouring State.

“Right from the rituals to the other details of the festival and the kolams made for the symbolic enactment of the Shoorasamharam, the central ritual of the festival, the temple’s Tamil association is evident,” says Sudheesh Thiruvannur, a key organiser of the event.

The organisers are making all efforts to retain the interest of the public in the decades-old festival by introducing innovative means of entertainment. If ‘Sudhamadhala Keli’ was one of the main draws of the festival last year, this year the organisers have arranged a band troupe to perform during the festival.

“We try to add new shades of festivities to the event each year,” says Mr. Sudheesh. He said all efforts would be taken to ensure the secular nature of the festival, which attracts people from all religions.

Only very few people know that the festival imagery introduced through the famous song “Shoorampadayude chempada kotti kolam thullum thalam /Veerampadayude ponmudiyetti kotti kerum thalam…”  in the movie Naran, starring Mohanlal , was taken by lyricist Kaithapram Damodaran Namboodiri from this festival, which is taking place in the poet’s own backyard — Thiruvannur.

Shoorasamhara Maholsavam traces its history back to the time of the Zamorins.


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