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Devotees get ready for Sivalaya Ottam

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HOLY RITUAL: Devotees at Mahadevar Temple at Munchirai in Kanyakumari district.
HOLY RITUAL: Devotees at Mahadevar Temple at Munchirai in Kanyakumari district.

Thousands of people from different parts of the district as well as neighbouring Kerala will take part in Sivalaya Ottam.

On the day of Mahasivarathri on Thursday, devotees of Lord Siva will take a marathon run by covering all the 12 temples, located in and around Kalkulam, former capital of Venad.

The devotees after the ritualistic bath smear holy ash on their foreheads and visit the temples spread within an area of 100 kilometres.

Thirumalai, Thikkurichi, Thirupparappu, Thirunandikkarai, Ponmanai, Pannipakam, Kalkulam, Melangodu, Thriuvidaikkodu, Thiruvithancodu, Thriupannikodu and Thirunattalam are the twelve temples they visit during the Sivalaya Ottam.

According to legend, Vyakrapadan, son of Doumaya Maharshi, was a staunch believer of Siva.

Lord Krishna engaged Bhima to invite Vyakrapadan for an Aswamedayagam. Lord Krishna handed over 12 Siva Lingams to Bhima and directed him to chant the names of Vishnu while he meets Vyakrapadan. Hearing the names ‘Govinda, Gopala’, irritated Vyakrapadan chased Bhima. Bhima dropped the Lingams one by one on his way, and it is believed that they later became the above-mentioned temples.

The idol of the Thirunattalam, the temple where the ottam concluded, is Sankara Narayana-suggesting that Hari and Haran are one and the same.

The Ottam will begin from Munchirai in Thirumlalai at Mahaedevar Temple. The devotees have to observe fasting for three days.

They have to wear red scarf around their waist and take part in the Sivalaya Ottam in view of Mahasivarathri. Special pujas and abisekams would be performed to the presiding deities of all these temples. The devotees of Lord Siva would end their marathon run at Thirunattalam.

The district administration made elaborate arrangements for the Sivalaya Ottam. Special buses would be operated from various destinations to all these 12 temples.

P.S. Suresh Kumar

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