Malanada temple fete draws big crowds

March 24, 2012 10:24 am | Updated 10:24 am IST - KOLLAM:

Multitudes of people witnessed the unique ‘kettukazhcha' pageantry held in connection with the annual Malakkuda festival of the Poruvazhy Peruviruthy Malanada temple near Sasthamcotta on Friday evening.

The kettukazhcha, held on the second Friday of the Malayalam month of Meenam, is the culmination of the annual eight-day Malakkuda festival. Seven elegantly decorated ‘eduppukuthiras,' brought from the seven divisions under the temple's jurisdiction, form the main attraction of the pageantry. Each of these is over 70 feet tall.

Hundreds of smaller eduppukuthiras and eduppukalas are brought by devotees as offerings on the day. The ‘oorali' or priest of the temple views the pageantry from a designated spot on the Malanada hillock, where the temple is situated. He then blesses each item on display.

Considered to be the only temple in South India dedicated to Duryodhana, the antagonist in the epic Mahabharatha, it has no deity but only a platform. Neither is there any sanctum sanctorum. Devotees address Duryodhana as ‘Malayappooppan' and submit to his divine power through the mental process of ‘sankalpam,' the temple authorities say.

The traditions and rituals of the temple are richly Dravidian. The priest always belongs to the Kaduthasseri family of Dalits. The Malakkuda festival is held immediately after the harvest in nearby areas and the offering of a portion of it to the temple is popular during the festival period.

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