Tens of thousands of people in the district converged at major temples and river ghats to remember their ancestors on Sunday when this year’s Karkidaka Vavu was observed.
They performed the annual ‘bali tharpanam’ ritual at the bathing ghats of rivers (bali kadavu). Huge crowds could be witnessed at the Thiruvallam Sree Parasurama Temple, Varkala Janardhana Swamy Temple, the Shanghumughom beach in Thiruvananthapuram, and the Aruvippuram Siva temple since 2.30 a.m. when the rituals began.
Around 70,000 rituals (bali tharpanam) were performed at the Thiruvallam Sree Parasurama Temple, according to information provided by the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB). Eight mandapams were set-up inside and outside the precincts of the temple so as to ensure around 3,500 devotees could make the offerings at a time. The board deployed around 50 priests to lead the rituals.
O. Rajagopal, MLA, Revenue (Devaswom) secretary K.R. Jyothilal, and Transport Commissioner S. Ananthakrishnan were among those who came to offer bali. As part of crowd-control measures, a ticketing facility was also put in place.
Close to 10,000 people offered bali at the Shangumughom beach where the rituals got under way with the TDB president Prayar Gopalakrishnan lighting a traditional lamp. Large mandapams put up at the place enabled 1,000 devotees to perform bali tharpanam simultaneously.
Various measures were put in place by the district administration, Corporation, Police, Fire and Rescue Service, Tourism Department, Kerala Water Authority, and the Coast Guard to ensure the smooth conduct of the rituals. Life guards were deployed. Besides, frequent alerts were sounded on the beach, particularly when rough waves lashed the shore. Doctors and paramedical staff were also available.
At Varkala, there was a huge rush of devotees on the Papanasam beach. A large crowd gathered at the Sree Janardhana Swamy temple as early as 2.30 a.m. The rituals came to an end by around 3 p.m. Over 10,000 devotees offered bali on the beach, official sources said.