Annanad temple festival, Chalakudy, Kerala

Annanad (please zoom out on the map to the right to see the location) is a village 2 km west from NH-47 (Salem-Kanyakumari National Highway) at Muringoor, south of Chalakudy in central Kerala. Sri Dharmasastha is the diety at the Veluppilly temple, and as with every Kerala temple, here too an annual temple festival is celebrated with traditional fervour. This year, the D-day falls on 23 Feb - the day of 'Uthram' star of the Kumbham lunar month (Feb-Mar). As I look forward to attending the festival after a very long wait, I hear a nostalgic localite trying to put into words childhood impressions of his village's grand day. "A micro-miniature version of the Trissur Pooram festival", he tries to explain. "Those days (in the 70's and 80's), there were huge trees in the space in front of the temple, including a (jokingly christened) 'Almaa' (a banyan and a mango tree with intertwined branches), and another 'Maaplaa' (a mango tree and a jackfruit tree with intertwined branches)". The trees had formed the backdrop for the festivities, but not any longer...
The diety's 'cavalcade' consists of oil-torch bearers, followed by the 'panchavaadya' team, five caparisoned elephants with the diety mounted on the biggest pachyderm, each with 'Venchaamarams', 'Aalavattams', and 'Muthukudaas'.
Photo courtesy www.thehinduimages.com
Pl await a first-hand account...
That's next weekend.
[Right now, this weekend, the Arangali kadavu on the Chalakudy river at Annanad is witnessing a cultural fest - tourism promotion efforts, presumably. One fervently hopes all parties - localites, ministers and visitors consciously remember to encourage only eco-tourism, and accord the river, the beaches and the greenery due respect to save them from the slow death that has been looming on the horizon]

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