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The Aranmula vallasadya, which usually feeds 1000 folks, is without doubt one of the largest vegetarian feasts in India. This 12 months too, will probably be carried out, however with COVID protocol

When 60-year-old Raveendran Babu embarks on his journey from his house in Kumaranellur in Kottayam to the Aranmula Sree Parthasarthy temple three days earlier than Thiruvonam, he’ll carry ahead a sacred household custom.

After the dying of his older brother Narayana Bhattathiri final 12 months, Raveendran is now the eldest of the Mangattu household. To him falls the responsibility of carrying the lamp that initiates the temple rituals for Thiruvonam and for the well-known Aranmula valla sadya, one of many largest vegetarian mass feasts in India. Scholar Kottarathil Sankunni (1855- 1937) dates the occasion to a few centuries in the past within the Aithihyamala, a set of tales of Kerala.

Aranmula vallasadya: A tradition and a feast

This 12 months Raveendran’s journey shall be undertaken in a pandemic, and thus shall be drastically curtailed and shorn of festive paraphernalia.

“This 12 months your entire customized shall be carried out in accordance with COVID-19 protocol. As custom goes the eldest member of the family departs for the temple three days previous to Thiruvonam and stays in a single day at Kattoor, our household house. However this 12 months the journey shall be a day affair. Additionally the variety of folks accompanying my father on the Thiruvonathoni (Garuda-faced particular boat ) shall be solely 20,” says Sagar, son of Raveendran. (Kattoor is eight kilometres east of Aranmula on the banks of the Pampa.)

Mangattu household’s affiliation with the Aranmula temple and vallasadya relies on the legend that each Onam the household would feed a younger boy in devotion to Lord Krishna. One Onam the teenager failed to look leaving the household troubled. The eldest member of the family prayed deeply to discover a younger boy on the doorstep asking for meals.

Subsequent 12 months in a dream, earlier than Thiruvonam, he was directed by Lord Krishna who revealed himself to be the younger boy at his doorstep the earlier 12 months and requested him to come back to the temple to feed him.

“That’s the start of a protracted custom our household has adopted,” says Anoop, son of Narayana Bhattathiri.

He provides, “this time the Thiruvonathoni might not be a row boat however a mechanised one so to finish the in a single day journey in daytime itself.”

Centuries in the past the household moved from Kattoor in Pathanamthitta to Kumaranellur and the custom continued from their new house in Kottayam.

The space from Kumaranellor to Kattoor by street is roughly 60 kilometers however the journey by boat takes two days rowing over Meenachil, Manimala, Vembanad to achieve Aranmula.

After performing rituals at Kattoor Maha Vishnu temple, the Mangattu Bhattathiri is accompanied by 36 representatives of 18 households from Kattoor who carry rice and greens, grown of their fields, for the grand feast.

In line with custom the Thiruvonathoni (a particular boat) is shipped by the Aranmula temple to convey the devotees. Others take part Palliyodam (snake boats, that are thought of a divine vessel).

A flotilla of 52 boats from neighbouring hamlets proceed in an in a single day journey to Aranmula.

Radhakrishnana P R, Secretary Palliyodam Seva Sangh (PSS), one of many organisations accountable for the Thiruvonathoni procession says that just one Palliyodam will accompany the Thiruvonathoni this time.

Aranmula vallasadya: A tradition and a feast

Solely 24 individuals, from the eighteen households linked with the rituals, shall be permitted to accompany however no devotee will partake within the valla sadya.

Crucial ritual at Kattoor is carrying of a lit keda vilakku (conventional lamp) to Aranmula temple.

The lamp is used to mild the temple lamps, after which prayers and the preparations of the vallasadya start.

Recalling the occasion in its former grandeur Radhakrishnan says that the 70 km stretch between Edakulam in Vadassserikara panchayath, Pathanamthitta District, to Chennithala in Alappuzha would host the 52 palliyodams that accompany and defend the Thiruvonathoni, from any disturbance, from Kattoor to Aranmula. In lore it’s believed to have been attacked by thieves.

“This 12 months solely 10 para (1 para is roughly 10 kgs) of rice harvested from paddy shall be permitted as towards 48 para that’s typically ferried within the palliyodam as providing,” informs Radhakrishnan.

The 2-month lengthy vallasadya begins throughout the month of Karakidakam and hosts nearly 450 to 500 sadyas throughout the time interval.

The spotlight is the Thiruvonam valla sadya, a communal feast of 1000. Anoop recollects the sooner instances when sure rituals started at his home at Kumaranellur on Moolam, 4 days earlier than Thiruvonam. This time all associated customs have been shelved, besides the ritualistic journey to the temple.

Aranmula vallasadya: A tradition and a feast

“All 20 individuals accompanying my uncle on the journey will endure a Speedy Check for COVID -19,” he says.

Radhakrishnan provides that this 12 months the vallasadyawill be ready just for Lord Parthasarthy. In 2020, no devotee shall be allowed to eat together with the God.

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