Kerala

Sabarimala temple festival deferred for the first time in 55 years

The annual temple festival was scheduled to begin with the customary kodiyettu ceremony on March 29./ File photo

The annual temple festival was scheduled to begin with the customary kodiyettu ceremony on March 29./ File photo  

The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) has postponed the festival to a later date following the nationwide lockdown declared by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi,

For the first time in its history, the 10-day annual festival at the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple has been deferred in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The history of the 10-day annual temple festival at Sabarimala traces back to the installation of the holy mast at the Ayyappa Temple premises in 1965, say the Tantris (chef priests), Kandararu Rajeevararu and Kandararu Maheswararu Mohanararu.

The annual temple festival was scheduled to begin with the customary kodiyettu ceremony on March 29 to culminate with the ceremonial Aratt in river Pampa on April 7. However, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) has postponed the festival to a later date following the nationwide lockdown declared by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an effort to contain the disease.

Mr. Rajeevararu told The Hindu that there was a dogma giving freedom to the temple custodian and the Tantri for deferring the annual festival and hence there was nothing wrong in the TDB decision postponing the annual fete against the backdrop of the growing COVID-19 crisis.

Earlier, the 10-day annual festival at Sabarimala used to be celebrated amid the 41-day Mandalam pilgrimage season. However, that system was changed 10 years ago by the board chaired by G.Raman Nair, as the festival rites like Utsavabali had been posing much problems for the pilgrims for the holy darshan of the presiding deity during the annual season.

The TDB’s decision to conduct the 10-day festival in connection with the Painguni Uthram, which is believed to be the birth star of the deity, in the Malayalam month of Meenom (March-April) was made in consultation with the then Tantri, Kandararu Mohanararu, and astrologers (devaprasnom), said Mr. Rajeevararu.

TDB president, N.Vasu, told The Hindu that the conduct of this year’s Vishu festival from April 10 too would be difficult as the 21-day lockout ends only on the Vishu day on April 14.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 8:31:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/sabarimala-temple-festival-deferred-for-the-first-time-in-55-years/article31181680.ece

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