THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Attukal festival gained momentum as ‘Kuthiyottam’, one of the main rituals, started on Thursday. As many as 900 boys are present in the temple for the Kuthiyottam after observing ‘vrutham’ for several days. They will live on the temple premises until the festival is over on March 8. They have to perform 1,008 ‘Devi namaskarams’ by the tenth day of the festival.
“On these days, they wear only a towel. They perform the ‘namsakarams’ each time after taking bath,” said Attukal Temple Trust president Radhakrishnan Nair.
The boys who observe rigorous ‘vrutham’ for the event have to give up everything, be it the thoughts about family or those about playing with friends. The temple authorities provide them food and other essential things that they need.
Boys from the age of four and up to 12 years can take part in the ritual. Boys who observe Kuthiyottam have to accompany the ‘ezhunnellathu’ (procession) from the temple on March 7, the day of offering the Pongala, up to the nearby Sastha temple at night. “They return by midnight, stay back in the temple and return home on the final day of the festival,” said Radhakrishnan Nair.
The registration for Kuthiyottam had started in September last year and ended on February 25. “Every year, the number of boys registering for Kuthiyottam is increasing. Last year, the number was 850. This year, we had to cancel some registrations since we could not accommodate that many youngsters,” said a temple official.