The festivals of significance at
Kodungallur are Makara Sankaranti and the Bharani Festival.
coinciding with Pongal in Tamilnadu is one of the important festivals at
Kodungallur. As in Taminadu, the day prior to Pongal is celebrated with the burning of
unwanted belongings in a bonfire.
Makara Sankranti brings with it 4 days
of colorful fanfare, with processions twice a day on elephants to the accompaniment of
music, fireworks. The final day's procession is marked by the accompaniment of several
women carrying plates of rice and coconut. In fact, the centermost entity in the
procession, is a plate containing these offerings, on an elephant. A grand reception
os offered to this procession when it reaches the temple. The procession rleaves from the
original location of the Bhagawati temple, (the Kurumbayamma shrine in Kodungallur).
The Bharani festival at
the Kodungallur Bhagawati temple is one of the grandest in Kerala. It is a month of
festivities from the Bharani asterism in the month of Aquarius to 7 days after the Bharani
asterism in the month of Pisces. Traditionally the temple (especially during the Bharani
festival) has been associated with a lot of animal sacrifices. These customs have been
done away with in the 20th century. The blood of the sacrificed used to be spilled
over two stones in the prakaram, and as mentioned above, this practice is now stopped.
The Bharani festival also witnesses
the offering of worship to the deity in the innermost sanctum by those belonging to castes
other than the priestly class. One day before the final Bharani, the chandanapodi
Chartal or the smearing of the image with sandal paste is carried out. There are further
festivities on this day and the following day.
Thousands from all over Kerala
congregate to celebrate this festival amidst great paegentry.
Chotanikkara Bhagawati Temple