Thousands thronged the Aluva Manappuram on the occasion of Maha Sivarathri to perform ‘Bali Tharpanam’ for their ancestors on the banks of the Periyar on Sunday. The special poojas began on the temple premises at 9 pm, with Chennas Parameswaran Nambudiripad and Melsanthi Mullappilly Manackal Subrahmanian Namboodiri being the main celebrants of the ritual. The rituals will continue till 12 pm on Monday. ‘Ezhunnallippu’ was held around the temple, carrying the ‘thidambu’ of Lord Siva, and the ceremony continued till late in the night.
The ‘Balitharpanam’ began after the ‘ratri pooja’ at the Mahadeva temple. About 200 ‘bali tharas’ were arranged at the venue for the ritual. Those who had come from far-off places had been camping at Manappuram and Advaidatashramam. The Travancore Devaswom Board, Aluva Municipality and the Sreenarayana Dharma Sangham Trust had made elaborate arrangements for the smooth conduct of proceedings at the site. The district administration coordinated the arrangements and the KSRTC operated special bus services from early in the morning.
About 1,500 police men were deployed at the venue.