I thought a short break from Tamil Nadu would be good though I have lined up a few temples to post about. My recent trip to Kerala was an unforgettable one, especially as I landed there on a festival day .Temples in Kerala are simple unlike Tamil Nadu temples which is famous for its carvings and sculptures. In Kerala The dwaja sthambha and deepa sthambha are given lot of importance. The height of the dwaja or flag post also depends on how powerful the deity is. The idols in Kerala temples are smaller in size compared to the ones in Tamil Nadu. Sanctity of the temples are maintained well and most of the temples do follow a dress code.
This time I am taking you to Lord Ayyapa's temple situated at Tamarakulangara in Tripunithura which is just an extension of Kochi town itself . I have already written a post on Poornathrayesa temple belonging to the same place. Lord Ayappa, is the son of Siva and Vishnu when the latter assumed the form of Mohini to retrieve the Amrita Kumbha from Asuras.
November-April is the festival season and I thought I would take you through one which I have seen recently. Elephants are indispensable for festivals here and the deity is carried atop the caparisoned elephants with the accompaniments of colorful parasols, Peacock feather fans, called Aalvattom and Venchamaram made of fur from yak tails. Pandi Melam is an orchestra of percussion instruments, trumpet and Cymbals which adds the necessary rhythm and charm to the elephant procession. This procession is called Seeveli. It is really a fantastic spectacle. People sway to the rhythm of the percussion instruments and the Seeveli lasts about 2-3 hours. The festival ends with colourful display of fireworks and a feast subsequently to all the devotees. Kadina is a traditional fire cracker which is used during the worship. A series of Kadinas are used during the worship during the festival. See the photos of Kadina . Para Nirakkal is another custom followed in the temples. The devotees offer paddy, sugar, jaggery, or flaked rice to the deity and for this a special vessel resembling a measure known as Para is kept in front of the deity and the devotees fill it with their offerings.
Enjoy the festival.
Picture 1, 2, 3 The temple decorations 4 &5 Seeveli, 6 deity atop the elephant,7,8,9 Paddy and puffed padyy and para nirakkal 10 seeveli, 11 flags,indicating festival, 12. Kadina, 13 dwajasthambham, flag hoisted.