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Varkala

Natural marvel

Meenabharanai Festival

The second great annual festival in the temple of Sarkara Devi is the Meenabharani. The festival and the associated rituals were elaborated during the reign of king Dharma Raja and his successor Marthanda Varma. They ordered to elaborate the conduct of the festival and the expenses like paddy, incurred for the same were recorded and awarded. The festival is celebrated for ten days and it is believed that on the tenth day the benevolent Goddess appears and showers her blessings on the devotees.

The kodiyettu (hoisting the holy flag) marks the beginning of the festival. It is done nine days prior to the asterism of Bharani. At the same time there begins a huge trade fair in the premises of the temple. Several interesting ceremonies and rituals are associated with the festival. During the ten days of festival special recitals on the exploits of the Goddess is staged by a team of artistes. 

Pallivetta is another attractive ceremony. It is usually conducted on the ninth day of the festival. It is believed that during the time of Pallivetta Sarkara devi leaves the temple and goes for hunting. This holy hunt is symbolically carried out by the devotees by taking out the deity in procession with the accompaniment of five caparisoned elephants and fire torches to Bhagavathy Palace.

Earlier animal sacrifices were conducted along with this performance. However, animal sacrifices were avoided. The function now ends with the return procession of the deity and the cutting of a pumpkin with a bow and arrow.

The ceremonial Aratu (holy immersion of the deity in the temple pond) takes place after this. The festival concludes with the Aratu.


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