KOCHI: On a day the rain-laden clouds preferred to take a break, thousands of people who converged on the banks of major rivers, beaches and holy shrines across the district offered customary ‘bali’ to propitiate their departed ancestors as part of the ‘Karkidaka vavu bali’ rites on Friday.
The legendary Periyar river was dotted with banana leaves, ‘darbha’ grass, rings made of ‘darbha’ grass, sesame, cooked rice etc. as thousands of devotees performed ‘bali tharpanam’ (paying homage to their ancestors) at Aluva Sivarathri Manapuram.
The annual ‘bali tharpanam’ was held in a solemn manner and the temple committee and District Rural Police had made elaborate arrangements for the function.
The police had erected makeshift barricades at prominent places in order to prevent the devotees from entering the deep side of the river.
As per Hindu mythology, ‘vavu bali’ is a traditional ritual to appease the departed souls and the ritual performed on the new moon day in the Malayalam month of Karkidakom will propitiate the spirits of ancestors and bring good fortune in the year ahead.
The rituals began as early as 4 am with ‘Ganapathi homam’ at Aluva Manapuram, followed by special ‘pujas.’ Chennas Manakkal Parameswaran Namboothiripad and chief priest Mullappilly Manakkal Subramanian Namboothiripad led the rites in the temple.
The ceremonies in the temple continued up to 11 am and the offerings were distributed to devotees subsequently. Hundreds of priests assisted the devotees, who performed the rituals at about 65 ‘bali tharas’ set up on the banks of the river.
The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operated special services to facilitate conveyance of the devotees.
A strong posse of the local police was also deployed in the area, besides the traffic regulations enforced by the police to avoid traffic congestion along the roads leading to the Siva Temple.