Even as the Chettikulangara Devi temple near Mavelikara is gearing up for Thursday's Kumbha Bharani festival, the biggest day of the year for the temple, another historic temple on the northern side of the district, the Varanad Devi temple at Cherthala celebrated the festival over the last two days, with the curtains coming down on the festivities on Wednesday.

According to the Varanad Devaswom authorities, the events included a ‘Garudan Thookam' and an ‘Arattu' ceremony on Tuesday, which was followed by the “Ooruvillam Ezhunallathu' and a welcome of the Devi, also known as ‘Varannattamma', with a procession of 11 elephants.

The rituals went on late into Tuesday night, and concluded by noon on Wednesday.

At the Chettikulangara Devi temple, where the Kumbha Bharani festivities offer one of the most colourful visual spectacles in the State with its ‘Kettukazhcha' pageant and ‘Kuthiyottam' performances, the main festival is on Thursday. The temple and the festival, which are waiting approval from the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to be bestowed with the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) status, has Goddess Bhadrakali as the main deity and is believed to be over 1,200 years old.

A team from the UNESCO ICH wing had witnessed the events last year. At the temple, meanwhile, preparations for the Bharani festival began on the day of Maha Sivaratri, and the 13 provinces that are part of the temple have been in a festive mood since.

People who offered ‘Kuthiyottam' performances to the deity began training children since Sivaratri and on all seven days, they have been offering food to whoever turns up at their homes. The construction of the colourful effigies for the ‘Kettukazhcha' too began that day.