The 10-day ‘Navaratri festival’ (Dussehra) came to an end at the historic Thevarakattu Saraswathy Amman Temple, situated on the premises of Padmanabhapuram palace, once the capital of the erstwhile Travancore state, with the conduct of ‘Vidyarambam’ (initiation of learning) on Monday. Special pujas were conducted at the sanctum sanctorum, where the idol of Saraswathy is installed. Eminent persons in the field of education, including P. Grija Kumari, former principal of Ayyappa College for Women at Chunkankadai, K. Jaya Kumari, Head of the Department of Physics, L. Kumari Krishnaveni, Head of the Department of Tamil of the same college, B. Vijaya Mohanan, retired professor of N.S.S. Dhanuvatchapuram College, G. Reguraman, teacher from Charode, and Dr.Padma Thampi of Kerala University, initiated learning to 150 children. The parents as well as their children, irrespective of caste, creed and religion, participated in the ceremony.

The idol of Saraswathy, which had been taken in a procession to Karamanai in Thiruvananthapuram would return to Padmanabhapuram on October 18 and Puspabisekam would be performed to the deity the same day, said J.Vijayaragavan, secretary, Thevarakattu Saraswathy Amman Temple committee.

Vidyarambam took place in all major temples, including Nagaraja Temple at Nagercoil and Vanamaleeswarar Temple in Parvathipuram.

Moreover, special pujas, distribution of sweets and holding of cultural programmes marked the celebration of the Navarathri festival throughout the district.