The temple city of Vaikom will wake up to 13 days of a heady mix of gaiety and piety as the Ashtami celebrations at Vaikom Sreemahadevar Temple begins on Monday. The days will be marked by centuries-old rituals, presentation of classical art forms and the ‘ezhunnallippu’ where 75 selected domesticated elephants from all over the State would be present.

Day one of the festival will be marked by inauguration of cultural programmes at the ‘kalamandapam’ by cricket player Sreesanth. One of the high points of the festival will be the ‘koodipooja’ of the deities of Subrahmania Swamy Temple at Udyanapuram and Sreemahadevar Temple to be conducted jointly at the sanctum of the latter on November 29.

The declaration of the festivities on Sunday evening was conducted under the aegis of the NSS Karayogam while the participation of SNDP Yogam, Kerala Viswakarma Sabha, KPMS, Tamil Viswa Brahma Samajom, Viulakithala Nair Samajom, and Dheevara Sabha will be present in the festivities during the first seven days.. The kalamandapam will showcase Kathakali, music recital, bhakthi gana mela, and Panchavadyam on festival days.