COCHIN THIRUMALA DEVASWOM

Aratt

The two main temple festivals popularly known as 'Aratt' are the most important events of the year. Two eight day long festivals (Ratholsavam and Maholsavam) are celebrated in the temple annually. Maholsavam is in commemoration of the first Pratistha and it ends on the full moon day of the month Chaitra (March-April). Ratholsavam performed in the month of (November-December) is similar to Maholsavam in all respects except on the  afternoon of the seventh day of festival, the Lord is taken round the temple in a special chariot known as Pushpaka Vimanam.

The festival commences with the formal hoisting of the sacred Garuda ensign. The two processions that are held one each in morning and evening which involves taking the representative image of the Lord in procession, draws huge  crowd. Palanquin pooja is conducted at noon and night when the fully decked up idol will be taken in procession. One of the Important item during the temple festival is Vishnu Yagam, which starts from first day night onwards and concludes with Poornahuthi on the 8th day of the temple festival.  It is the only temple in Kerala where this Vishnu Yagam is held.On the 4th 5th and 8th days  of the temple festival, the image is carried in a golden palanquin along the Southern, Northern and Western streets respectively. On the seventh day evening the image of the Lord will be taken around in a horse carriage with all the paraphernalia along the corridors of the temple for the palli vettai  (the symbolic wild animal hunt) and meets the Siva of Udyansewara in the temple. On the 8th day, the deity is taken for bathing ( avabritha snanam)  at the lake mandapam. Before this ceremony, there will be a procession of the community members who carry two country boats on their shoulders to the accompaniment of two caparisoned elephants, drum beats and nadaswaram, which start from the sasati area of Cherai to commemorate the fact that the forefathers had come to Cochin from the sasathi Pradesh of Goa to escape the forcible religious conversion of the Portuguese. The procession ends at the Papanasam Lake where the country boats are lowered. Soon after the Holy bath of the deity, there will be a sumptuous feast for all the devotees.
After the bath, the idol of Venkateswara is seated on the throne at the Mantapam in the middle of the temple tank and after the performance of aarathi, the deity is taken on Golden palanquin in a procession oomprising of decorated elephants and panchavadya along the outer pathway of the Lake mandapam and enters the temple through the Eastern gopuram. The idol is then placed on a golden Garuda vahanam and pooja and aarthi is performed.

Details


The festival concludes with the drawing down of the Garuda insignia. On the 8th day, a Vishnu yaga is performed for peace, prosperity and well being of the country and its people. The worship of cow by the chief priest (go pooja) is another salient feature of this temple.

The temple has the idols of serpant , the swamiji who installed the idol and Saluva Narasimha raya,  the Vijayanagar ruler  and an ardent devotee of Lord Venkateswara of Thirumala hills, which are installed along the Papanasam  Lake. Outside the main prakara of the main temple, there is a temple dedicated to Yakshi to ward off evils. There are statues of Saluva Narasimha Raya and swami on either side of the main gate of the papanasam lake whereas the idol of the serpent is installed in a separate peetam on the South Western corner of the lake, which gave it the name Cheppe Nag’, which literally means the serpent in the abandoned well.

The Ulsava image, which represents  the Lord in the palanquin going for the holy bath at the papnasam lake first meets the idol of serpent when it turn towards the temple tank and while entering the mukha mandapam of the lake, meets the swami who recovered the idol from the well and brought to cochin and Saluva Narasmiha Raya whose wish was obliged by Lord Venkateswara is etched on the walls of either side of Teppekulam.

Some of the other important festivals of this temple include the Kartika Purnami, Uthana Dwadasi, Akshaya Thritiya, Anantha Chaturdesi, Ashtami Rohini and Deepavali. Scores of devotees participate in  the drawing of chariot on the Mahanavami day during Navarathri. Madwa Navami ans the punyathithi of H.H Sukratheendra Thirtha Swami of Kashi Math are the other red letter days in the festive calendar of the temple.


Maholsavam

Maholsavam 

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