Travancore Devaswom Board to avoid 'bali tharpanam' ritual due to Covid spread

A devotee performs 'bali tharpanam' ceremony. Photo: AFP

Thiruvananthapuram: Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), the apex temple body in Kerala, has decided to avoid the annual 'bali tharpanam', a ritual to pay homage to ancestors, in its shrine this year citing the spread of coronavirus.

A recent high-level meeting of the Board decided not to allow the ritual, which used to be performed by thousands of devotees in the premises of small and big temples across the state, TDB sources here said.

Cutting across gender and age barriers, people belonging to the Hindu community usually perform the traditional ritual on the banks of rivers and seashores across the southern state on the occasion of the 'Karkkidaka Vavu', which falls on August 8 this year.

The decision was taken based on the assessment that it was difficult to perform the ritual by adhering to social distancing norms and other pandemic protocols, they said.

The entering of devotees en mass to the bathing ghats of temples to perform the ‘bali tharpanam’ may aggravate the spread of the disease, the TDB officials said, adding that discussion was held with tantris (head priest) of respective temples before taking the decision.

Bali tharpanam at Periyar near to Aluva temple. Photo: Josekutty Panackal

According to Hindu belief, departed souls attain "moksha" (liberation) if the ritual is performed on 'Karkidaka Vavu' day.

Temple authorities and police used to make elaborate arrangements to enable people to offer ‘bali tharpanam' at important places such as Thiruvallam Parasurama Temple and Shangumugham Beach here, Varkala Papanasam Beach and on the banks of Periyar river in Aluva near Kochi.

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