Making ‘Onavillu’ All Year Round

Published: 18th August 2014 09:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th August 2014 09:49 AM   |  A+A-

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For the five male members of Melarannoor Vilayil family, it is time for celebration as the one-year-long work of making numerous colourful ‘Onavillu’ is coming to a close. The customary painted bows would be offered to Lord Sree Padmanabha on Thiruvonam day.

As it is believed that consecrated bows would bring fortune to the keeper, the traditional bow making family receives orders for new bows throughout the year.

“This year, we have made close to 1,500 ‘Onavillu’. We spent essentially all days of last year making bows,” said R B K Achari, who heads the making of bows.

With takers for the bows from abroad, apart from the devotees here, fame of ‘Onavillu’ has reached overseas as that of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. 

 Marking the participation of the eighth consecutive generation in the making of bows, 10-year-old Ananthapadmanabhan would also join his father, Achari, and his uncles, Umesh Kumar, Kshetra Shilpi Sudharshan and Sulabhan, in observing penance during the making of 12 bows which the family traditionally offers to Sree Padmanabha on Thiruvonam day.

There are six kinds of bows on which miniature paintings of ‘Ananthasayanam’, ‘Dasavatharam’, ‘Sree Ramapattabhishekam’, ‘Sree Dharmasastha’, ‘Vinayakan’ and ‘Sree Krishnaleela’ are portrayed, giving them the same names respectively.

 The bows are made from the pith of jackfruit tree and ‘kadambu’, which are traditionally believed to disseminate positive energy.

 The bow, ‘Ananthasayanam’, which has Sree Padmanabha in ‘yoga nidra’, position is the longest of all, having a length of 4.5 feet.

Prison Inmates’ Offering

The Central Prison inmates here also participate in the final phase of making ‘Onavillu’. Inmates who volunteer can extend their services to the Lord by making the colourful hangings on the bows, popularly known as ‘kunchalam’.

“It is also a tradition which hase been followed from a very long time. Remorseful prisoners are given a chance to seek the blessings of the Lord,” Kshetra Shilpi Sudharshan said.


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