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Last Updated Wednesday October 18 2017 10:53 AM IST

When Ochira becomes a 'battle field'

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When Ochira becomes a 'battle field' The bull, all decked up taken around the temple before the Ochira Kali. Photo: Onmanorama

Normally, Mid June is when the rains fall in torrents. The land, especially farmlands, gets waterlogged. And it is time for 'Ochira Kali,' a mock battle between the many 'karas' or groups in the area to happen at the famed 'Padanilam' or battle field.

When Ochira becomes a 'battle field' The lamp is lit as people from all walks of life 'battle' it out at the 'Padanilam'. Photo: Onmanorama

Today, it is just fun and frolic all the way. But according to legends, 'Ochira Kali' commemorates an actual battle between the erstwhile Kayamkulam and Ambalapuzha kingdoms. Men, both young and old, from all religions, take part in the mock battle at the waterlogged Padanilam for two days. The whole land wears a festive look. People from all walks of life gather here for the festival.

When Ochira becomes a 'battle field' The entrance to the Ochira temple: Photo: Onmanorama

Like the 'Ochira Kali', the temple, situated on the National Highway between Alappuzha and Kollam is also unique in many ways. Dedicated to the Parabrahmam - the Supreme Consciousness - the temple is just a vast tract of land with a couple of trees. There are no idols, but two raised platforms around a couple of huge ficus trees. It is here that lamps are lit by the worshipers. But there are no prescribed rituals that are adhered to. There are stories, which say that Ochira was once a Buddha Vihara. You will see bulls roam free at Ochira. And these animals are revered. There is an interesting story too behind this.

Myth of the Parabrahmam

When Ochira becomes a 'battle field' An old lady offers prayers to the bull at Ochira. Photo: Onmanorama

Long long ago, there was a brahmin, who along with his attendant set out on a religious quest – that of finding Parabrahmam. They walked for a long long time and the attendant used to ask his master what form would the Parabrahmam take when a common man called upon the supreme consciousness. The master, annoyed, retorted that the Parabrahmam was like a bull and the attendant started meditating on that. Lo and behold, Parabrahmam did appear so to him. This shocked his master when he found out. Since the incident supposedly happened in Ochira, bulls hold a special place here.

The other festivals

When Ochira becomes a 'battle field' A scene from Ochira Kali. Photo: Onmanorama

There are three festivals, which bring a lot of visitors to this divine spot. The Ochira Kali, which happens during June, the 28am Onam(28th day of Onam), which is celebrated 28 days after the Onam festival and the famed 12-day-long Pandrandu Vilakku happens in November.

Reaching Ochira Ochira Kali festival dates : 15 -06- 2016 and 16-06-2016

There is a railway station at Ochira, but not many trains stop there. Nearest railway station: Kayamkulam Jn, about 11 km Nearest airport: Trivandrum International Airport, about 105 km

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