Kerala

Kumbha Bharani festival to be held today

Chettikulangara Devi Temple has Goddess Bhadrakali as main deity and is said to be 1,200 years old

The Kumbha Bharani festival at the Chettikulangara Devi Temple near Mavelikara will be held on Monday. The rituals and pujas in connection with the festival have started from Shivaratri. It will reach its crescendo on the festival day with the ‘Kuthiyottam’ performances and ‘Kettukazcha’ pageant.

A large number of devotees from various parts of the State are expected to assemble at Chettikulangara to participate in the festival organised under the aegis of Sridevi Vilasom Hindu Matha Convention.

The Chettikulangara Devi Temple has the Goddess Bhadrakali as the main deity and is believed to be over 1,200 years old. The biggest spectacle, the ‘Kettukazhcha’ pageant, which displays six gigantic temple cars known as ‘kuthira’ (horse motifs), five ‘theru’ (chariots) and mammoth idols of Bheema and Hanuman will be drawn to the temple from the 13 ‘karas' in the evening. People who offered ‘Kuthiyottam’ performances to the deity have trained young boys on the dancing steps of ‘Kuthiyottam'.

District Collector S. Suhas has declared a local holiday in Mavelikara and Karthikapally taluks in connection with the bharani on Monday. Educational institutions and government offices will remain closed. However, public examinations will be held as scheduled.

Police warning

Meanwhile, the police have warned of action against organisers and sponsors who conduct the ritual called ‘Chooral Muriyal’ as part of ‘Kuthiyottam.’

The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights in 2016 banned the practice. Dismissing a petition filed by an organisation, which sought the ban to be overturned, the Kerala High Court last year observed that children should not be subjected to any form of physical or mental suffering in the name of such ceremonies. However, despite the ban, the ritual was held last year. Following this, the police had registered cases against parents and sponsors of children.

In the ritual of Chooral Muriyal, either sides of the boys’ midriffs are pierced and gold strings passed through their piercings. One end of the thread is tied around the neck. Later, children with painted faces are taken in a procession to the temple. At the temple, young boys dance facing the sanctum. In the end, gold threads are pulled out and offered to the deity along with drops of blood on it, in a symbolic sacrifice.

‘Adopt’ boys

Those who offer Kuthiyottam performances to the deity ‘adopt’ young boys from other families. The ritual is performed as a wish-fulfilling offering to the deity.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 6:17:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kumbha-bharani-festival-to-be-held-today/article26489159.ece

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