Thousands of people flocked the sprawling festival encampment of Aluva Manappuram here on Monday to perform the ritual of ‘bali tharpanam' on Sivaratri day.
A holy procession (Ezhunnellippu) by an elephant around the Mahadeva temple carrying the thidambu (idol) of Lord Siva will be held late in the day to mark the official commencement of the festival.
Initiated by the chief priest (Melsanthi) Thantri Chennas Divakaran Namboodiripad and Melsathi Mullappally Manackal Subramanian Namboodiri, the ceremonies in the temple will continue up to 11.a.m on Tuesday.
Officials from the Travancore Devaswom Board have been camping in the area to supervise the ceremonies while a strong police contingent under the direct supervision of the Rural Police Superintendent has been pressed into service.
The divers from the Navy and the police have been put on alert at the bathing ghats and Fire and Rescue Personnel and a medical team along with ambulances have been stationed in the area.
Provision has also been made to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the illumination lamps and high mast lights set up in the area.
On Monday, Inspector General of Police K. Padmakumar inaugurated the temporary police station set up at the spot and also inspected the security measures put in place. Meanwhile, a meeting of the municipal council was held at the temporary municipal office on the Manappuram in the evening to discuss the smooth conduct of the festival.