Changanassery: The Pooram Padayani festival climaxes on Sunday night at the ancient Palli Bhagavati temple at Neelamperoor in Alappuzha, with exquisitely crafted big swans heading to the temple along with other effigies, accompanied by 71 small swans.
The Padayani, which had started on Avittam day, is a symbolic victory march of goddess Kali after Darika, a mytholigical character of fierce temper, was vanquished. It typically climaxes on the 16th day, the birthday of the goddess.
Final colour touch-up was being given to the swans early on Saturday morning. The effigies will be ready for the parade by Sunday evening, before the temple lights up its lamps for rituals.
Rajagopal Vilyadam led the making of the essential ritual effigies this year. The Padayani will climax with the arrival of all swans and effigies at the temple, following which the deity's vehicle, the lion, will emerge. As priest Gopakumar Madhathil offers rice and wick, the Padayani season draws to a close.
The Makam Padayani on the 15th day saw the Ambalakotta (model of the temple made of plantain stems) being paraded, along with the Vela kali and the debut of the swans. The rituals started after Devaswom President C. Karunakara Kaimal obtained the deity's consent at the Cheraman Perumal Memorial. Prior to that, the Kudam Pooja kali and Thotha kali were also staged at 11 pm. Women participated in the Chirambu Koothu at noon. The rituals stretched until 12.30 am.
Special poojas, in addition to temple rituals, are held on Sunday. There will be a concert at the Sopanam led by Neelamperoor Purushothama Das and Neelamperoor Muraleedharan.
The coconut slicing to be made as offering to new swans will take place at 8 pm. Sarva Prayaschittham will begin at 10 pm and will be led by chief priest Sankaran Namboothiri. It will be followed by consent taking, Thotha Kali, offerings of new swans at 11 pm, and the arrival of the big swans.
How to reach the temple
Neelamperoor can be accessed from Thuruthi Punnamood Junction and Outpost Junction on the Kottayam-Changanassery MC Road. It's three kilometres through Kavalam Road from Outpost. From Punnamood, one has to take a turn to the right from Essar Pump on Valadi Road. After the turn, it's three kilometres on the road to Eera. Those who come from Alappuzha can also proceed via Punnamood.