Event Calender

ERNAKULAM

Aluva Shivarathri

Mahasivarathri is celebrated annually all over India in honour of Lord Shiva. In Kerala, the Shiva Temple of Aluva in Ernakulam is known widely for its Mahashivarathri celebrations. On the sand beds of river Periyar, stands this unique temple with a self-manifested and non-enshrined Shivalinga made of sand. On the night of the Shivarathri, millions of devotees will be present in the temple premises to perform the balitharpana, or the obeisance to the ancestral souls with more than 500 priests performing rituals for them on the scenic banks of river Periyar. Along with the pujas offered in the temple, a week-long cultural programme and a three-week-long trade fair will also be arranged for the people.

Malayattoor Perunnal

St. Thomas church located atop a steep hill, called the Kurishumudi in Malayattoor in the Ernakulam district is dedicated to St. Thomas. This illustrious church plays host to the grand feast or Perunnal on the occasion of Easter every year. Pilgrims of all faiths from all over Kerala proceed uphill to visit the shrine, chanting the name of the Apostle, “Ponninkurishu Mutthappa”. A large number of pilgrims walk all the way from distant places carrying wooden crosses of varied sizes with them to Malayattoor. With the crosses symbolising their travails, these devotees firmly believe by visiting the holy shrine all their troubles will alleviate. A life-size statue of St. Thomas, a golden cross and also footprints believed to be that of the saint are present in the church.

PALAKKAD

Kalpathi Ratholsavam

One of the largest Hindu festivals of the Malabar region, Ratholsavam or the chariot festival is celebrated every year in November in the village of Kalpathi. The festival takes place in temples associated with 98 agraharams (Brahmin settlements). The Viswanatha temple by the side of the Kalpathi river is the nerve centre of festivities.  The origin of this historical festival goes as far back as the Vedic times. As part of the occasion, the streets that run by the agraharams shall witness the grand spectacle of the Ratha Yatra (chariot procession) and Deva Ratha Sangamam (the rendezvous of chariots hailing from different temples of Kalpathi). Thousands of devotees as nercha (offering) cart these huge intricately carved chariots forward bearing the deity of the temple. Elephants are also used to push the rathams. The whole atmosphere will be filled with the sound of hymns. Slightly uncharacteristic to the usual elephant festivals of Kerala, the Ratholsavam follow the chariot festivals of Tamil Nadu and other parts of the country. Yet, the prominence of this festival is evident in the sheer number of people it draws from different parts of the country.

THRISSUR

Thrissur Pooram

If there is one festival that captures the imagination of the entire people of Kerala, it is Thrissur Pooram. Called the mother of all festivals, Thrissur Pooram is a resplendent display of caparisoned elephants, dazzling parasols and percussion music. A magnificent spectacle merging the spiritual and cultural essence of Kerala. The legacy of the pooram takes us back to the times of Shaktan Thampuran, the Maharaja of Kochi. He was the one who conceptualized the idea of Thrissur pooram, involving the participation of ten temples. The most interesting aspect of this festival is the fact that it promotes communal amity by bringing together people from all religions. On the day of the pooram, millions of pooram lovers absolutely pack the Thekkinkadu Maidanam, a 65 acre stretch of land in the heart of the town of Thrissur that lies in front of the historical Shri Vadakkunnathan Temple. The two main participating temples of the pooram, Thiruvambadi and Paramekkavu, will compete with each other through a vibrant visual treat of kudamattom ceremony, the swift and rhythmic changing of brightly coloured and sequined parasols. Yet another striking aspect of the festival is the enchanting ilanjithara melam, a mesmerising performance of around 250 artistes participating in the traditional orchestra led by the chenda. The euphonic rhythm generated by chenda and other traditional instruments of Kerala, like the kurumkuzhal, kombu, elathalam, etc. makes thousands of spectators to wave their hands in accordance. The festival ends with a majestic fireworks display.   

Kodungalloor Bharani

Every year, in the month of meenam (April-March), thousands of devotees gather in the Sree Kurumba Kavu Kodungalloor temple for the Bharani festival that commemorates the birth of Goddess Bhadrakali. One of the richest, oldest and most intriguing festivals of Kerala, Kodungallur Bharani with its many mystical rituals paints an experience truly unique. A flurry of oracles (velichappad) dancing in trance offers their prayers to the deity. Oracles, both men and women, smite their heads with their swords, proclaiming communion with the Goddess. Cocks are sacrificed on the day of the festival. Other important rituals are Kaavutheendal (Polluting the temple) and Bharanipaattu. Kaavutheendal is based on the notions of purity/impurity held inherent in Brahmanical Hinduism. And Bharanipattu is a loud song with obscene lyrics recited by oracles. After these rituals, the temple is purified and cleaned.

ALAPPUZHA

Arthunkal Perunnal

St. Andrew's Forane Church in Arthunkal in Alappuzha is a widely popular Christian pilgrim centre in South India. The ten-day annual feast, popularly known as Arthunkal Perunnal that takes place in January attracts lakhs of people from every walk of life. A colourful procession with the statue of St. Sebastian, from the church to the beach and back on January 20 is the most important event during the festivities. The procession commemorates the historic event that took place in 1647 when the miraculous statue of St. Sebastian was brought to Arthunkal from Italy by sea. Devotees as offering to the saint, crawl on their knees from the nearby beach to the church. This ritual is called urulu nercha. Considering the antiquity and fame of the feast, the Holy See of Rome granted Basilica status to the historic church in 2010.

Chettikulangara Bharani

The Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple, with its opulent history of over 1200 years located near Mavelikara in Alappuzha plays host to one of the most spectacular visual spectacles of Kerala, the Chettikulangara Bharani festival. Held on the Bharani asterism in the Malayalam month of Kumbham, the festival is most famous for its colourful rituals of Kettukazhcha, and Kuthiyottam.

The primary attraction of the festival, Kettukazhcha is a parade and a competition of gigantic structures prodigiously adorned with cloth, flowers and ornaments. These belong to three categories, namely Theru (chariot), Kuthira (horse) and three other figures of Bhima, Hanuman and Panchali (popular characters from Indian epics). Thousands of people belonging to the 13 karas or regions built these 90 to 100 ft. tall structures that compete with one another on the day of the festival on the temple grounds. Thousands of people join the festive celebration and cheer for each of the kettu. 

IDUKKI

Mangaladevi Chitrapournami festival

Mangaladevi Temple, also known as Mangaladevi Kannaki Kottam is in Idukki. Opening for worship just once a year, this 1000-year-old temple has Devi Kannaki as the chief deity. Situated at over 1337 m above sea level, atop a hill near the Periyar Tiger Reserve, this unique temple that is built of large rocks is a symbol of willpower and strength. Only in the month of April or May, during the Chitrapournami festival (the full moon in the month of Chithirai or Chaitra) every year, one can worship the goddess here. Legends say, there exists a secret underground passage all the way to Madhurai (the kingdom burnt to ashes by Kannaki) in Tamil Nadu, from underneath this temple. Thousands pay homage to Devi by trekking 12 km to finally reach the summit. The legendary place of worship is set in the backdrop of the enchanting Western Ghat mountain ranges.

KOLLAM

Ochira Kali

Ochira Temple is situated in Ochira in the district of Kollam. Spread over 36 acres of land, this unique temple doesn’t have an idol or deity. Instead, it is the only temple in India where the supreme consciousness or Parabrahma is worshipped. With simply a vast stretch of land and with no definite structure or mode of worship, the idea that Parabrahma cannot be contained within the four walls of a temple is conveyed. Service to mankind is service to god is the basic philosophy behind the temple.

It is here in the Ochira Temple during the first days of the Malayalam month of Mithunam, the highly distinctive Ochira Kali takes place. Drenched in the monsoon rains, the water-logged paddy fields near the temple turn to mock war zones, called padanilams. To commemorate the real battles fought between the neighbouring lands of Kayamkulam and Venad about two centuries ago, people belonging to different keras (areas), perform mock fights choreographed in the martial style of kalarippayattu.  Ceremoniously to the sound of drums, men and even boys dressed as warriors enter the wetland, and battle one another using sticks instead of swords and splashing water at each other. The battle is fought in an atmosphere of bonhomie and everyone engaged in the battle and the hundreds watching it from the banks of the padanilam enjoy it.   

KOTTAYAM

Vaikathashtami

Vaikathashtami or Vaikom Ashtami is a twelve-day annual festival celebrated at the Vaikom Sreemahadeva Temple situated on the banks of Vembanad Lake. It falls in the Malayalam month of Vrishchikam (November/December) on the Janmashtami day of Lord Krishna, hence giving equal importance to both deities. A grand procession is held on the day of the Vaikathashtami with a thidambu (replica) of the presiding deity being carried on the top of caparisoned elephant joined by processions from nearby temples. Dance recitals, Kathakali performances, music concerts, pageantry, etc. give a rich cultural treat for visitors of all age groups. The festivities that run deep into the night ends with a grand pyrotechnic display.

PATHANAMTHITTA

Mandala Pooja

One of the most famous pilgrim centres in India, Sabarimala Temple is situated on the Sabari hills near the Pampa river in Pathanamthitta. A place where every year millions of pilgrims, irrespective of caste and creed from all over the country and beyond visit. Ayyappa or Sri Dharamasastha is the deity of Sabarimala, who accoriding to the Hindu mythology is the son of Lord Shiva and Mohini. On top of the Sabari hills in the Sannidhanam or the sanctum sanctorum, the deity resides.

The Mandalakala season, which usually lies between December-January is when the annual pilgrim season takes place. Normally Sabarimala temple is open only for 5 days from the 1st of each of the Malayalam calendar months.  The only occasion when the temple is open continuously for a long period of days is during the Mandalakala. The pilgrims have to observe vratha (austerity) for 41 days before going to this hilly abode of Lord Ayyappa for darshanam. The vrathas start with the devotee wearing the Thulasi Mala or Rudraksha Mala with a locket of Lord Ayyappan in it. The next step is the strict adherence to abstinence, avoiding all sorts of sensual pleasures, maintaining extreme purification of body and mind.  The two-month holy season culminates with the Makaravilakku, which incidentally is the most important day of the deity. On this day, Thiruvabharanam or the jewels of the deity is carried on foot from the Panthalam Palace to the temple. Many miraculous events occur on this auspicious day, including the sighting of the rare Krishnaparunthu (Holy eagle) in the skies, which circles above the holy jewels and then the temple like its protector. The most important aspect of the occasion, however, is the sighting of the Makarajyothi, a special star in the sky. In the midst of thousands of devotees, crammed within the temple premises who chant the mantra of Swamiye Saranamayappa, the entire ambience becomes one entrenched in supreme devotion resonating with spiritual energy.

Aranmula Uthrattathi Vallamkali

The oldest river festival in Kerala, the Aranmula Uthrattathi Vallamkali (snake boat race) takes place at Aranmula near the Parthasarathy Temple during the time of the Onam festival. Legend has it that a boat carrying offerings to the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple was attacked by enemies. To protect the boat, people from the neighbouring lands sent their own snake boats. To commemorate the occasion, this fiercely competed tournament is held every year. The tournament involves a number of preliminary rounds and in the end, culminates in a thrilling finale where teams from different localities vie for the ultimate prize.  Rowers in perfect synchrony of full-throated singing and shouting watched by an exciting crowd. And snake boats piercing through the picturesque backwaters of Aranmula is a real sight to behold. A spectacular event that captures the imagination of Malayalis, Aranmula boat fiesta blends tradition and culture with the thrills of a sport.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Attukal Pongala Mahotsavam

The world’s largest gathering of women, Attukal Pongala Mahotsavam takes place in the Attukal Temple of Thiruvananthapuram annually. It commemorates the hospitality accorded by women in the locality to the legendary Kannaki who was on her way to Kodungallur in central Kerala after destroying Madurai city to avenge the injustice done to her husband Kovilan. Known as women’s Sabarimala, the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple enshrines goddess Bhadrakali (Kannaki) mounted over Vethala, as the temple’s chief deity. A 10-day festival that falls in February-March every year (Malayalam month of Kumbham) involves millions of women from all over the state and outside gathering around the temple to prepare Pongala (rice cooked with jaggery, ghee, scraped coconut and other ingredients). The offerings prepared in fresh earthen or metal pots are lined up all over the temple vicinities and even extends further in every direction on either sides of the road covering kilometres in the process. The whole city will seem like it is converted into a large yaga shala thanks to the makeshift brick stoves that are lined up. The entire Thiruvananthapuram city lights up in festive fervour and the number of devotees has increased to the point that it has been recorded in the Guinness World Book of Records. An experience extremely unique, it must be soaked in first-hand to understand the sheer magnificence.

KANNUR

Kottiyoor Vaishaka Mahotsavam

Set in the backdrops of the picturesque Sahya hill ranges of Kannur, Kottiyoor Vaishaka Maholsavam is an experience unlike any. Hosted by two temples, Akkara Kottiyoor and Ikkara Kottiyoor, Kottiyoor Vyshaka Mahotsavam is a 28-day festival, in the heart of a dense forest on the banks of the river, Baveli. The Akkara Kottiyoor Temple only opens during festival days annually. The devotees worship a swayambhoo lingam (self-created idol of Lord Shiva). The temple is famous for its absence of a formal structure. The deity itself is placed on a platform made of river stones called the Manithara. A series of rituals unique to the land and culture of Northern Kerala, like the Neyyattam, Rohini Aradhana and Elaneer Vayppu are performed in thatched huts as part of the festival. The festival comes to an end with the Thrikkalashaattam or Elaneerattam, in which collected tender coconut water is poured on the idol by the head priest.

KASARAGOD


Kuttikkol Thampuratti Theyyam festival

Kuttikkol Thampuratty Theyyam in Kasargod, the grandest Theyyam festivals in all of Kerala, can be an unforgettable experience to anyone who witnesses it. Kuttukol Thampuratty Bhagavathy Temple is located near Erinhipuzha in Kasargod. This resplendent festival of psychedelic colours, pageantry and vibe takes place between 22nd and 26th of February every year, showcasing all the major Theyyams and attracting people from different parts of the world. The ritual dance of Kerala, Theyyam is regarded as one of the oldest folk art forms of India. It incorporates dance, mime and music, and embodies the rudiments of ancient tribal cultures, which placed great importance to the worship of heroes and ancestral spirits. The variety of Theyyams is presented at the festival include Elayor Theyyam, Chamundi Theyyam, Panchoorla Theyyam, Muthor Theyyam etc.

KOZHIKODE

Revathi Pattathanam

A remarkable annual cultural and intellectual event in Kerala, Revathi Pattathanam is a seven-day historic convention of Sanskrit scholars held at the Thali temple grounds in Kozhikode. The word Pattathanam is derived from Bhatta-danam, which means "awarding of the Bhatta".Under the supervision of the Zamorin of Calicut, selected scholars are conferred with the title of Bhatta along with a panakizhi (purse of money) containing one hundred and one Panam. Originally the winners were adjudged in four different disciplines- namely Tarka, Vyakarana, Mimamsa and Vedanta. The purpose of this congregation is to keep alive the memories of the scholars’ meet that used to be held in ancient Kerala. The Manorama Thampuratti Award for literature, Krishnageethi Award for poetry, an award for the best temple artist, and the prizes for students who won various competitions organised as part of Pattathanam are also distributed on the occasion.

MALAPPURAM

Kondotty Nercha

Commemorated annually in memory of the legendary Sufi saint Mohammed Shah Thangal or Kondotty Thangal at his Dargah in Malappuram, the seven day long Kondotty Nercha is one of the most important festivals of the Malabar region of Kerala. It is essentially a spring festival and falls in the month of March/April. Celebrated jointly by both the Muslim as well as the Hindu communities of Kondotty, Kondotty Nercha is a festival of secularity and brotherhood. The harvested paddy fields play host to a grand event with a number of colourful rituals embodying the cultural essence of the Malabar. Three cannons are shot at the paddy fields to announce the arrival of the festival. A white flag is then hoisted signifying the message of peace the festival promotes after which a number of processions from various adjacent villages arrive at the Dargah along the course of the seven days.  Along the route, the villagers greet the procession with fireworks and festivities. Various entertainments like kolkkali, daffumutt, and mappila pattu, are organized in the town. On the seventh and most important day, the festival concludes with the procession of the Thattante Petti, or the Goldsmith’s box by local merchants and devotees.

WAYANAD.

Thirunelli Karkidaka Bali

The historic Mahavishnu Temple of Thirunelli, also called the Sahyamala Kshetram is the only temple in the world where the devotees can perform all the rituals related to one’s life, starting from birth to death and life after death. Located amidst the serene Brahmagiri Hills in the district of Wayanad, Thirunelli Temple witnesses a confluence of pilgrims arriving during the Karkidaka vavu, i.e the new moon days of the month of Karkidaka (July-August). Balikarma or ancestral rites, performed to achieve penance for the souls of one’s forefathers hold great significance in Hindu religion. In Kerala it is in Thirunelli, on the banks of the Papanashini rivulet, a tributary of the great Kabani river, the largest number of Balitharpana is being performed every day. It is believed that Lord Rama performed Bali for his father Dasaratha here. On the day of the vavu, thousands of devotees from different parts of Kerala come to Thirunelli to perform the rites.
 


2019 CALENDAR

JANUARY

Arthunkal Perunnal

The ten-day annual feast in St. Andrew's Forane Church in Arthunkal in Alappuzha, popularly known as Arthunkal Perunnal takes place in January attracting millions of people from every walk of life. A colourful procession with the statue of St. Sebastian, from the church to the beach and back on January 20 is the most important event of the festival.

FEBRUARY

Kuttikol Thampuratty Theyyam festival

Showcasing all the major Theyyams, the Kuttikol Thampuratty Theyyam festival is a mélange of dance, drama, music and mime. A resplendent festival of psychedelic colours and pageantry, it is the grandest Theyyam festival of Kerala taking place every year between 22-26 February in the Kuttikol Thampuratty Bhagavathy Temple in Kasargod

MARCH

Attukal Pongala

Holding the Guinness World Record for being the world’s largest gathering of women, Attukal Pongala Mahotsavam is a unique experience. Taking place in the Attukal Temple of Thiruvananthapuram, millions of women grace the occasion on the day to prepare the Pongala offering for Attukal Amma.

APRIL

Vishu

As an integral part of the rich culture of Kerala, Vishu marks the astrological New Year day for Malayalis. As a time of new beginning and new hope, this festival is celebrated by arranging the Vishukani, bursting firecrackers and with the elders gifting the younger ones the Vishukaineettam

MAY

Thrissur Pooram

Merging the spiritual and cultural essence of Kerala and capturing the imagination of its people, Thrissur Pooram is a resplendent display of caparisoned elephants, dazzling parasols and percussion music. Promoting communal amity by bringing together people from all faiths, it is a true treat for the senses.

JUNE

Ochira kali

Ceremoniously to the sound of drums, men and boys dressed as warriors using sticks engage in mock battles in waterlogged paddy fields at the Ochira Parabrahma Temple in Kollam. Performed in bonhomie, this hugely popular ritual commemorates the series of real battles fought between the neighbouring lands of Kayamkulam and Venad about two centuries ago.

JULY

Ramayana Masam

The last month in the Malayalam calendar, Karkidakam holds great significance for the people of Kerala. It is the month of rejuvenation for the body and mind. While rejuvenation for the body is achieved by doing Ayurvedic treatments and resorting to specific Karkidaka diets, the mind is rejuvenated through the daily recital of the epic Ramayana in homes and temples.

AUGUST

Sri Krishna Jayanthi

The day of the birth of Lord Sri Krishna is celebrated distinctively in different parts of the country. In Kerala, the highlight of this auspicious is the Shobyayatra, colourful procession organized by the Balagokulam organization, involving hundreds of young children who will be dressed up as little Krishnas.   

SEPTEMBER

Onam

The state festival of Kerala, Onam is an annual ten-day festival. From Atham to Thiruvonam (asterisms of the Malayalam calendar), this colourful festival is celebrated by every Malayali irrespective of their beliefs. In memory of the benevolent legendary king Mahabali, people celebrate Onam by making beautiful Pookalams, wearing Onakodis and having sumptuous Onasadyas.

OCTOBER

Vidyarambham

The Vijayadashami festival is widely celebrated that marks the victory of light over darkness, of knowledge over ignorance. The Vidyarambham or ezhuthiniruthu is an auspicious ceremony where scholars, teachers, priests, and other prominent figures of the society make children, aged two to three years, write their first letters of learning.

NOVEMBER

Parumala Perunnal

The life and routines of the village of Parumala in Pathanmathitta come to a standstill with great jubilation on the day of the renowned Parumala Perunnal. This grand annual feast is held to commemorate the death anniversary of Bishop Mar Gregorios Metropolitan, the first canonised saint of the Malankara Orthodox Church of Kerala.

DECEMBER

Sabarimala Mandala Pooja

Attracting millions of pilgrims from all over the country every year during the Mandala season, Sabarimala is the holy abode of Lord Ayyappa. By observing 41 days of austerity and with minds pure and devoid of all worldly persuasions, devotees ascend the hill to worship the deity and attain penance for their sins.

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