A Correspondent

Nedumbassery: Shata Chandi Mahayagam, a five-day ritual to propitiate Goddess Chandika Devi, began at the Sri Adi Sankara Janmabhoomi temple at Kalady on Monday.

The ceremony began by 8 a.m. with Chandi Sankalppam by placing the idol of Chandika Devi along with a Kalasha or holy pot at the Yagashala. This was followed by various special pujas and observance of Punyaha Vachanam, Phalashudhi, Dravyashudhi and Atmashudhi.

Soon, Jagadguru Sankaracharya Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji, presiding Acharya of the Dakshinamnaya Sri Sharada Peetham, carried out Yagashala Pravesham, marking his entry into the Yagashala along with his companions, and performed Mahasankalppa for universal welfare. The Jagadguru distributed Dheeksha Vasthram (ceremonial dresses), utensils and special seats to the priests for the conduct of the ritual and the holy fire was ignited.

The rituals on the first day, including Chandika Purashcharanam, were carried out by a team of 15 priests led by Narahari Bhatt.

According to the organisers, during Shata Chandi Mahayagam, a special Vedic hymn, Navakshari Manthram, would be recited for one lakh times and the Devi Mahatmyam for a hundred times.

Meanwhile, the Ati Rudra Mahayaga that began at the temple last week entered its fifth day on Monday.

A large number of devotees witnessed the Yaga in which about 150 priests performed various rituals.