THRISSUR: The popular and lesser-known temples across the state celebrate their most-sought after ‘Arattu’ festival almost in a similar way, barring some minor changes, with the temple authorities taking the deity of the temple to the nearest river or pond for the holy bath.
But the people in Thanikudam village in Thrissur, otherwise a ‘sleepy’ village, celebrate the holy bath of their deity in a unique way at the height of the south-west monsoon.
Hundred of devotees at the village on Friday took a holy dip at the inner quadrangle of the temple when the nearest Thanikudam river made its way inside the sanctum sanctorum of Thanikudam Bhagavathy Temple, submerging the idol of the temple in flood water, following heavy rain.
As the river, which originates from the foothills of Vellani hills and passes close to the temple, embodies river Ganga, the day its water completely submerges the idol installed within the sanctum sanctorum is considered the day for ‘Arattu’ here, said temple administration officials.
It is the only temple in central Kerala into which a river makes its way, setting the atmosphere to hold the holy rites at a particular time every year. Similarly, unlike other temples, the authorities here cannot inform devotees about the ‘Arattu’ prior to the ritual, as it is purely depend on the probability of heavy monsoon rain. Normally, every year, the ritual is held in the beginning of the first week of Malayalam month Karkkidakom.
But this time, the ritual got delayed up to the middle of the month following deficient rain, they said, adding that the ritual may happen more than one time rarely in some years.
Revathy Sivadas, who took a holy dip in the temple along with other devotees, said since the myth is that the river that flows close to the temple makes its way to the deity once in a year, it is considered as auspicious to take a holy dip inside the shrine along with the deity, which otherwise is not possible in any of the other temples in the state, she said.