Aluva: Temples dedicated to Lord Siva are all set to receive a sea of devotees on the occasion of the Maha Shivaratri, one of the prime religious festivals in India.
All arrangements have been made in major Saivite temples to facilitate “balitharpanam” by devotees, i.e., ritualistic homage to dead ancestors by making offerings. (Sesame and water are the most essential ingredients in the customary offering.)
Hundreds of people from various parts of the state would assemble at the ancient Mahadeva Temple at to offer balitharpanam”. Crowds are expected to be at the temple premises till Sunday noon for the balithaprapanam.
The balitharpanam ritual was organised only on a small-scale last year following stringent restrictions that were in force over the COVID-19 pandemic. While Covid safety protocol is applicable this time as well, there are no restrictions on the number of devotees attending balitharpanam. Therefore, large gatherings of devotees are expected in temples. (Maha Shivaratri means 'the great night of Shiva'.)
Arrangements in place
The Devaswom Board has arranged 148 enclosures for balitharpanam. The Laksharchana which began at the Mahadeva temple on Saturday morning at 7 will continue till 10 pm. The “balitharpanam” rituals will officially begin with the procession (ezhunnallathu) of Shivarathri vilakku at 12 pm.
The rituals will be led by thanthri (priest) Chenas Narayanan Namboothiri and melsanthi (chief priest) Mullapally Shankaran Namboothiri.
An all-religion meeting will be held at the Advaith Ashram in Kalady at 5 pm. Many people are expected to take part in the balitharpanam at Sreekrishna temple at Kalady at 10 pm.
Kochi Metro to operate night service
Kochi: Kochi Metro will run a special service in connection with the Shivaratri festival. Most of the services will be on Saturday night and early Sunday morning.
There will be a special service from Pettah railway station to Aluva at 11 pm. On Sunday there will be special services at a 30 minutes interval from Aluva to Pettah which will begin at 4.30 am.