: Preparations are on in full swing for the triennial Valiya Vilakku Vela festival of Thirupuraickal Bhagavathy Temple at Vadakkanthara here, which will be held on Friday.
The District Collector has declared a holiday for government offices and educational institutions in the municipal area on Friday in connection with the festival.
The rituals and cultural programmes in connection with the festival began on February 14 and the temple has been attracting large number of devotees within and outside the district since then.
‘Kariveshams' (people painted themselves in greasy black) have been visiting the houses and establishments in the region for making the ritualistic announcement of the arrival of the ‘Vela'.
Rituals such as Kathirvela, Variezuthu, Paalamaram Murikkal, Kummati, Kanniyar and so on have been performed in the traditional manner for the past few days.
On the final day of the festival on Friday, ‘Kazchashiveli' will begin at 9 a.m. As many as 15 caparisoned tuskers led by Thiruvambady Shivsundar will accompany the procession.
The ‘Uchapooja' will be followed by a fireworks display in the noon and ‘Thayambaka'.
The ‘pakal vela' will start at 2.30 p.m. from the Nadupathimandhil at Melamuri to Vadakkanthara temple.
Fireworks display, ‘Pandimelam' and triple Thayambaka will be held in the night.
‘Vela' which is the last lap of the festivities will begin at 2.30 a.m. on Saturday morning..
The rituals will come to an end with the lighting of nine ‘Kambams' in the early morning hours, according to A.P. Krishna Kumar of Valiya Vilakku Vela Publicity Committee.
The next Valiya Vilakku Vela at Vadakkanthara Bhagavathy Temple will be held in 2015.