Temples in Kerala are linked to umpteen myths and legends. The tales related to ‘nivedyams’, food offered to the deity at temples, have got special significance among them. Hundreds of such curious tales find a place in ‘Makarajyothi 2014’, the souvenir of the five-day-long ‘Makaravilakku’ festival released by Thamaramkulangara Sree Dharma Sastha Temple, Tripunithura, and has become a bit hit.’
Aswathi Thirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bayi Thampuratti, a member of erstwhile Travancore Royal Family, unfurls the tale behind the ‘nivedyam’ of unripe mango offering at Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, Thiruvananthapuram. She says that the myth is related to Vilwamangalam Swami. “The Swami had seen Sree Padmanabha lying atop the serpent god Ananthan at the forest, ‘Ananthankaad’. The Swami had offered unripe mangos, crushed with a stone and served in a coconut shell, to the god,” she states. She affirms that the food offering is still being followed at the temple but with a difference. “The coconut shell has been decorated with gold and precious gems,” she said.
Ambika S Nair, Malayalam teacher, Devaswom Board College, Thalayolaparambu, gives a picture of the history of the famous ‘Valla Sadya Nivedyam’ in Aranmula Temple. “A devotee named Bhattathiri used to offer ‘Sadya Nivedyam’ (feast) to the visitors at Aranmula temple for satisfying the deity on every Thiruvonam day. For reaching the temple from his manor in Kattoor, he had to travel in canoes in which he carried the food for the offering and thus the name Valla (canoe) Sadya came into being. Now, the feast is offered to the devotees visiting the temple and oarsmen participating in the snake boat race in the Pampa river on Thriruvonam day. The feast also ensures that no one in the area goes hungry on the auspicious day,” she states.
Jayachandran, a writer, claims that everyone knows about the nitty-gritty about the well known ‘nivedyam’ of Ambalapuzha temple, the famous ‘Ambalappuzha Paal Payasam’ (a rice pudding made of rice, milk and sugar). “No other ‘paal payasams’ gets the flavour of Ambalappuzha ‘Paal Payasam’ as it is believed to have the divine touch and blessings of Lord Sree Krishna. It makes the ‘nivedyam’ tastier than any many others.