THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The annual alpashi festival at Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple concluded with the aarattu ceremony on Saturday with traditional pomp and pageantry.During the ritual, the idols of Lord Sree Padmanabhaswamy, Lord Sree Krishna and Lord Narasimha were brought out of the temple through the west gate of the temple.
Afterwards they were taken in a colourful procession for the ritualistic bath in the sea at Shankumugham. The procession started in the evening and returned in the night in the light of traditional torches.
Travancore royal family head Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma and other members of the family escorted the procession holding drawn swords and shields. Braving the rains, hundreds of devotees thronged on either side of the procession route to have a glimpse of the dieties. It was accorded reception at various points along the route.
Upon reaching Shankumugham, the idols were placed at the aarattu mandapam, the grand old stone structure on the beach. Temple tantri Tharananelloor Kuttan Namboodiripad conducted special poojas on the idols before they were given a ritualistic bath in the sea.
Traditional temple orchestras, armed police personnel and members of the Madras regiment, mounted police and men in traditional attire of the soldiers of the erstwhile Travancore royal army were part of the procession. Flight operations were suspended and runway closed at the Thiruvananthapuram international airport between 4 pm and 9 pm. to facilitate the procession.
District judge and temple administrative committee chairman K N Haripal and temple executive officer V Ratheesan were present at the temple.