Alappuzha: The unique ritual called ‘Naari Puja’, in which women are worshipped, will be performed at the Chakkulathukavu Sri Bhagavathy Temple in Neerattupuram near Thalavady in the Alappuzha district of Kerala on Friday. Tens of thousands of women from far and wide are slated to attend the annual event, which signifies the unique Indian tradition of bestowing divine status to women. Every year, a special person is chosen for the ‘Naari Puja’ and this time it will be performed on Parukutty Amma, who took out her maiden pilgrimage to Sabarimala at the age of 100 earlier this month.
Held on the first Friday of the Malayalam month Dhanu, women are worshipped during the ritual, in which they are seated on a special ‘peedham’, and the chief priest washes their feet. The women are later garlanded and also offered flowers. Innumerable devotees stand as witnesses to this rare ritual that proclaims the glory of a woman. According to the temple authorities, the ritual will begin at the specially prepared Mandapam in front of the temple after the special pujas in the morning. Marking its opening, Sadhguru Radhakrishnan Namboothiri, chief priest of the temple, will offer a puja at the feet of Parukutty Amma, a native of Wayanad.
Mukhya Karyadarshi Unnikrishnan Namboothiri, Tantri Olassamangalath Illath Govindan Namboothiri, Melasanti Ashokan Namboothiri, Ranjith B Namboothiri, and Durgadatta Namboothiri will officiate the event. Karyadarshi Manikuttan Namboothiri will preside over the cultural gathering that will precede the ceremony. Elected representatives, and eminent personalities from the political, social, and cultural spheres, will participate.
Cine actresses Manju Warrier and Parvathy Jayaram, Actor Rajini Kant’s wife Latha, Environmental activist Vandana Shiva, and singer Chithra, were among the prominent women on whom the ‘Naari Puja’ was performed on the previous occasions.
The 12-day festival, known as Pantrandu Nombu Utsavam, got off on December 17 (Dhanu 1), when the divine flag was hoisted. A Kalabhabhishekam ritual will be performed at 9 am on December 27, followed by a procession of the holy jewels (Thiruvabharanam) from Thiru-Erankav temple at Kavumbhagam. Karyadarshi Manikuttan Namboothiri will lead the procession. The festival will draw to a close the next day with the staging of various cultural events such as Kavadi and Karakattam etc, followed by the Aarattu ceremony, lowering of the flag, Manjaneerattu ritual, etc.