A grand celebration will be held at the Malliyoor Maha Ganapathy Temple in the Kottayam district of Kerala today to mark Vinayaka Chaturthi. Among the major programmes to be held on the day are ‘gaja puja’ (offering of prayers to elephants), ‘anayoottu’ (feeding of elephants) and the ‘Maha Ganapathy homam’ ritual.
The festivities start at 5.30 am with the Maha Ganapathy homam led by Malliyoor Parameswaran Namboodiri. The ritual will be conducted with 10,008 coconuts. Rendering of ‘pancharatna keerthanams’ is scheduled at 8 am and ‘darsanam’ of the ‘homam’ at 11 am. The Gaja puja is at 12 pm, in which 12 elephants will take part. It will be followed by the ‘sree bali’ ritual.
Gaja puja, anayoottu
Elephants are considered to symbolize Ganapathy and are offered prayers during the gaja puja ritual on Vinayaka Chaturthi day. Tuskers having certain noble features are selected for the ritual and are also ceremoniously offered food during ‘anayoottu.’
Subsequently, a ‘pancharimelam’ musical performance led by Peruvanam Kuttan Marar will take place and ‘kazhcha sree bali’ ritual at 5.30 pm. Later, a ‘pancharimelam’ performance will be led by Mattannur Sankarankutty Marar. A ‘kudamattam’ (exchange of colourful parasols) by Paramekkavu Temple is also scheduled afterwards. The last ritual of the day is ‘pallivetta’ at 10 pm.
Malliyoor is among the very few temples which perform the Maha Ganapathy homam ritual on Vinayaka Chaturthi day with 10,008 coconuts and related items. The ritual is considered to attract prosperity and wealth. In fact, it is believed that the fumes created when coconuts, jaggery, ‘aval’ (pounded rice) and ‘malar’ (puffed rice), ghee and other items are offered to the fire would purify the atmosphere. This fact has even been acknowledged by modern science. Other items offered to the fire include ‘karuka’ grass, ‘mukkootti’ and ‘chethi’ flowers and paddy.
‘Aarattu’ on Thursday
Meanwhile, the ‘aarattu’ (final day) of the temple festival is on September 1 (Thursday). At 4.30 pm on that day, the festival flag will be lowered, followed by the ‘aarattu’ ritual (immersion of the festival idol). The ‘irakku puja’ ritual is scheduled at Malliyoor Illam at 5.30 pm. The reception of ‘aaratu’ procession will soon take place, followed by a ‘pandimelam’ performance by Kalamandalam Hareesh Marar.