The Thrikkarthika day in the Malayalam month of Vrishchikam is considered to be a very auspicious day. According to various beliefs it marks the birthday of the mother Goddess. Across the state this day is marked by various festivities. Lamps are lit, at houses and at the temples. Here's a look at how the rituals differ at three different temples.
Thousands gather at Chakkulathukavu Temple for the Pongala festival. Women from across the state and neighbouring Tamil Nadu gather here days in advance. They set up camps and put up makeshift hearths around the temple. This year, we are told, that people have set up the hearths along the main roads too. After the Pongala festival in the morning, many stay back for the Karthika Deepam festival in the evening. Huge lamps are lit.
Kumaranalloor Devi Temple
Of all the festivals that dot the calender every year, the most important one at Kumaranalloor Temple is the Thrikkarthika festival. The celebrations has its roots in the myth that the mother Goddess was born on that day to slay the demons Sumbha and Nisumbha. Lamps are lit to celebrate her success. At Kumaranalloor, the day marks the last day of a ten day festival. The Goddess is taken out for a ritualistic bath and then brought back to the temple. On her return, she is decked up and looks very resplendent. It is believed that even the gods come out to see her pass by. The evening is marked by a very elaborate festival with caparisoned elephants and lamps being lit all around the temple.
And, when the Goddess at Kumaranalloor is taken out in a procession for her ritualistic bath, there is no puja conducted at the main shrine at Vadakkunnatha Temple in Thrissur. The offerings and pujas are done at a special place near the South Wall of the temple. The myth behind this is very interesting. Long long ago, some say, a saint happened to visit the temple during this time and could not find Lord Shiva in the sanctum sanctorum. Now, the saint was confused and he walked around trying to find the Lord. The legends have it that, he found the Lord sitting on top of the South Wall of the temple. On being asked why he was sitting on top of the wall, the Lord, they say, told the saint that he was taking a look at how resplendent Goddess Karthiyayani of Kumaranalloor looked on her way back from her ritualistic bath. To this day, offerings are made at the South Wall for L:ord Vadakkunathan on Thrikkarthika Day.