Ettumanoor: ‘Ezharaponnana darshanam’ (the elegant display of display of golden elephant idols), the most keenly-awaited and popular event during the festival at the Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple in Kottayam district, will take place on Tuesday midnight. This would be followed by the ‘Valiya vilakku’ ritual at 2 am.
The main hall where the golden elephants are placed would be opened after special prayers led by temple ‘thantri’ (chief priest) Kandararu Rajeevaru. ‘Karanavar’ (head) of the Ponnurutta Madom in Chengannur has the hereditary right to make the first ‘kanikka’ (offering of money) at the ‘Valiya kanikka’ (main offering box).
'Ezhara Ponnana' procession is held as part of the annual festival at Mahadeva Temple. 'Ezhara' means seven-and-half and 'Ponnana' means golden elephant. Each of the seven elephants is two feet high and the eighth one is of one foot only. Hence they are together called seven-and-half elephants.
Temple authorities said that elaborate measures have been taken to enable all devotees arriving at the temple to have ‘darshan’ of Ezharaponnana. To see the golden elephants, devotees have to enter the temple from the ground through the western gate. Once inside the temple, they have to proceed to the eastern side from near the flagstaff and along the stage on the southern side. Ropes have been fixed to control devotees in this area. From the eastern side, devotees will be allowed into the hall where the golden elephants are displayed through barricades.
After ‘darshan’ of Ezharaponnana, devotees can exit the temple through the Sree Krishna shrine.
On the following days, rituals such as ‘Pallivetta’ (divine hunt) and ‘Aarattu’ (immersion of the idol) will take place. The venue of the Aarattu is the bank of the Meenachil River at Poovathumoodu.
The traffic restrictions announced by the authorities related to the Ezharaponnana display include:
• No parking allowed on the temple ground. Vehicles should be parked along the sides of the Bypass Road and nearby areas.
• Vehicles from M C Road (western gate) can take the Kovilpadam Road to Peroor Junction and it will be a one-way. No vehicles will be allowed from Peroor Junction to M C Road.
Stringent security measures
“An additional 400 police personnel will be on duty in the temple area from Tuesday in connection with the Ezharaponnana darshan, Pallivetta and Aarattu rituals,” said K Karthik, district police chief of Kottayam.
Women police officers and plainclothes personnel will also be present to prevent crimes against women and intercept people engaging in anti-social activities, he added. Similarly, 50 surveillance cameras have been installed, said Karthik.