Ancient Chinese jars draw crowds to Aranmula Temple in Pathanamthitta

Aranmula: Two enormous Chinese jars, assumed to be more than 1500 years old, have added another historical significance to the iconic Parathasarathy Temple in Aranmula.

These jars, which have already created interest and curiosity among the devotees and history buffs, are believed to be here since the inception of the temple. They are around four and half feet tall and two and half feet wide. These were used to store the brined mangoes, used for daily offerings, in the temple kitchen.

Rice, brined mangoes, fresh curd and egg plant mezhukkupuratty are traditionally served as the offering for the idol of Parthasarathy.

In the olden times, as mangoes weren't easily available, the people of the locality and the temple authorities would collect as many mangoes as possible during the mango season and store them in brine in these huge mud jars. The elderly in the locality say that mangoes were stored in these jars until a few years ago.

There aren't any documents that give clues about the origin of these huge jars or how they reached Aranmula. Some assume that they may have reached the temple through the extensive water transport networks on the Pamba. At least six people are required to carry these jars. They wouldn't even pass through the small doors that are commonly seen in today's houses. Two clay handles are fixed on both sides of the jars to tie the ropes and lift it. Though these Chinese jars are thousands of years of old, they are still in good shape without any visible damages.

When new jars were brought in to store brined mangoes, these stunning pieces were ignored for quite some time. S Ajith Kumar, the Dewaswom administrator who noticed that the Chinese jars had no use in the kitchen anymore, moved them to the administrator's office for the devotees to look at them. Many people, including history enthusiasts and foreigners, are now thronging the temple to see the jars and click pictures.

Besides these, around 18 jars in various shapes and sizes are being used in the temple's kitchen. Devotees have demanded that the government and the Dewaswon officials should take the necessary steps to preserve them as archaeological items, just like the mizhavu of Kunjan Nambiar is preserved at the Ambalapuzha temple.