Important Days @ Pallathamkulangara Bhagavathi Temple
Navarathri, Saraswathi Pooja, Durgashtami, Pooja Veyppu, Vidyarambam
41 days ‘Sabarmala Mandala Pooja Mahothsava’ season (starts from 1st Vrichikam)
‘Special Niramala’ and ‘Chuttu Vilakku’ during all days of ‘Mandalam season’.
Makaram 20th- Dwaja Prathishta Dinam
‘Thiruvonam’ Star-‘ Kodiyettam’
‘Uthrittathi’ Star- ‘Thalappoli’
‘Revathi’ Star- ‘Vela’
‘Aswathy’ Star-‘ Vela’
‘Bharani’ Star- ‘Padayani’, ‘Aarattu’, ‘Bharani Sadya’, ‘Aal Thookkam’
Vishu Kani Darsanam
Medam 29 th Prathishta Dinam (Kalasa Varshikam)
Karkkidakam 1st- Ashtadravya Maha Ganapathi Homam, Gaja Pooja, Nira,
Karkkidakam 1st- Ashtadravya Maha Ganapathi Homam, Gaja Pooja, Nira,
Ramayana Masam- Daily Ramayana Parayanam
Bhagavatha Sapthaham, Navaham, Sivapuranam etc.
The Festival of Thalappoli
'Pallathamkulangara Thalappoli', is a renowned festival in the middle portion Kerala, it is rejoiced in the Malyalam month of Kumbam. "Daily Aarattu", "Vela", "Padayani" & "Kumba Barani Thookkam" are other special and rare ceremonies celebrated in connection with this festival.
The colorful Thalappoli Festival starts with the holy festival flag hoisting in Kodimaram (the holy mast) on the day of Thiruvonam star and ends with Thookam after the holy bath ‘Aarattu’ of the procession idol on the Bharani day. The specialty of this festival is that the ‘Aarattu’ being performed through out the festival days, against the practice of ‘Aarattu’ only on the last day of the festival in other temples.
The key day of Thalappoli is celebrated on the fifth day on Uthrittathi star. Both sides, ‘Cheruvarams’ celebrate the festival in a competitive spirit and try to surpass each others performance in conducting the thalappoli mahothsavam. They compete in bringing eminent personalities in ‘Panchavadyam’, ‘Chenda Melam’ and the competition is even tougher in the matter bringing excellent elephants to the festival representing each ‘Cheruvarams’. This competitive spirit extends in conducting fire works also.
On the day of Thalappoli the elephant that can keep its head in a most elevated manner will be selected for placing the ‘Thidambu’, (procession idol of the Holy Mother). Escorted by the beats of ‘Paani’ (a special metallic musical instrument, round in shape, beaten with a wooden stick) the procession circles the temple thrice however; the right of possesing the ‘Thidambu’ will be exercised by either sides on alternative years.
In front of the ‘Kuzhuppilly Sree Mahadeva Temple’The southern party, ‘Thekke Cheruvaram’ starts their ‘Panchavadyam’ performance, meanwhile, the northern party, ‘Vadakke Cheruvaram’ performs in the elephant stage, ‘Aanapanthal’ on the western side. ‘Chendamelam’ (beating of the traditional drums along with accompanying instruments) starts at 5 in the evening and around 6 pm both parties enter in their respective ‘Poo Panthal’ (flower decorated stages) built face to face in the western ground of the temple. Then, the battle of colourful ‘Kudamattam’, hoisting of colourful umbrellas on elephant back resembles ‘Thrissur Pooram’. The ‘Pooram’ will be over by 8 pm followed by the fire works of ‘Vadakke Cheruvaram’ and ‘Thekke Cheruvaram’ respectively.
‘Gurusi Pooja’ will be offered to the Devine Mother at night followed by ‘Thalam’ procession from different parts. The night pooram would begin at 2 am. Now the ‘Panchavadyam’ of ‘Vadakke Cheruvaram’ starts from the adjacent ‘Kuzhuppilly Sree Balakrishna Swamy Temple’ and ‘Thekke Cheruvaram’ from a place near to the ‘Kuzhuppilly Sree Mahadeva Temple’. Both of which shall have a grand ending in the above said ‘Poo Panthal’. Then both parties assembled together to join in ‘Kooti Ezhunnullippu’ (joint procession) leaving behind their competitive spirit, accompanied with ‘Pandi Melam’ and at the height of ‘Melam’, ‘Melsanthi’ escorted with ‘Nadaswaram’, after showing lighted camphor receives the ‘Holy Mother’ back to the temple, devotees with ‘Thalams’ in their hands and ‘Kurava’ joints him.
The ancient practice of ‘Vela Thullal’ (ritual dancing with wooden figures, representing the ritual union and small branches of mango tree) will be performed outside the temple premises. After the ‘Thalappoli’ in the days of ‘Revathi’ and ‘Aswathi’ at about 5 pm, led by both ‘Cheruvarams’ interchangeably on each days, ‘Vela Thullal’ will be performed accompanied with beating of drums, cymbal and men blaring gives us the tinge of legendary preparation of the battle of ‘Bhadra Kaali’ with ‘Dharika.
‘Padayani’ literally means ‘joining for the battle’ is a ritual observed in connection with the ‘Thalappoli Mahothsavam’ in remembrance of the ‘Dharika’s fort in flames. It is performed at about 4 am in the day of ‘Bharani’. Dry palm leaves tied and erected like poles around the temple premises will be set in flames with the beating of drums then, the half burned poles collected together in front of the temple to form a great flare.
"Thookkam" is one of the most celebrated rituals observed on Kumba-Bharani day at Pallathamkulangara Bhagavathi Temple. It is yet another special ritual observed in connection with the ‘Thalappoli Mahothsavam’. The ritual of Thookkam starts after the lowering of the holy festival flag, ‘Aarattu’ and ‘Bharani Sadya’ (the mass fest on ‘Bharani’ day). It is observed in remembrance of the incident of ‘Dharika Vadha’ (killing of Dharika).
The legend of ‘Dharika Vadha’ is as follows: Brahmma pleased by Dharika Asura’s “Thapas” gave him a “Varam” that he shall be killed only by a young lady. Shielded by it Dharika called Devas to battle, fearing defeat they approached Siva, seeking help. The arrogance of Dharika invited Siva’s rage. Siva opened his Third Eye; out of which, Badhra-Kaali was born. Kaali Maa eliminated Dharika in a fierce battle.
But, even after eliminating Dharika, Kali maa was in rage, as a matter of fact no one was able to cool Kali maa anger successfully. Devas and the sages approached Siva for help Siva ordered Ganeshawara and Nandhikesha to tackle the situation. So, they disguised in the form of infants positioned themselves in the path of Kali maa. When Kali maa saw the infants on her way, Her temper vanished into thin air. Out of maternal love She carried the infants up and kept them close to Her bosom.
Hence, in commemoration of Kaali’s victory (Dharma) over Dharika (Adharma) “the Bharani day” is celebrated.
Generally, "Thookkam" are of 3 kinds- 1) the "Aal Thookkam", 2) the "Garudan Thookkam" & 3) the "Mayilpeely Thookkam" Here it is ‘Aal Thookkam’ and its variants “Pillia Thookam”, which are performed.
In the Bharani day at about 5.30 in the evening, a man, crowned, dressed in red cloths, painted in different colours on face and with a sword and a shield in his hand is fastened (with ropes made of long piece of clothes) to the top end of ‘Thookachadu’ (a long and straight piece of wood like a pole, with a square portion at the top end fixed to a wooden frame) would be hoisted up and carried by men three times around the temple premises. When Thookam comes in front of the temple, babies and small children will be given in the hands of the Thookakaran (the man performing Thookam) this is known as Pillia Thookam.
‘Thookkam’ is observed in commemoration of Dharika’s death in the hands of Kali maa and Pillia Thookam in remembrance of the incident, Kali maa lifting up the infants.
After the ‘Thookkam’ the doors of the ‘Sreekovil’ will be closed at about 6.30 pm.
Temple remains closed for six days there after.