ARATTU AT SREE PADHMANABHA SWAMI TEMPLE, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
Arattu festival is the closing ceremony of the ten day festival in the Lord Padmanabha Swamy temple at Thiruvananthapuram. There are two such festivals every year. One takes place in the Malayalam month of Thulam (October-November) and the other in Meenam (March-April). The Arattu is a ceremonial procession of the Lord to have a sacred dip in the sea, at the close of the ten-day-festival.
The Sree Krishnaswamy temple at Ambalapuzha dedicated to Parthasarathy was established by the Chembakasserry Pooradam Thirunal-Devanarayanan Thampuran in the year 790 M.E. He offered his state to Sree Krishna and ruled the country as his regent after assuming the name of Deva Narayana. The Arattu festival of this temple commences with the flag hoisting ceremony on the Atham day in Meenam (March-April). The important Arattu Utsavam, however, takes place on the Thiruvonam day in Meenam. 'Velakali' is an important feature of this festival.
The famous snake boat carnival on the Pampa held annually at Aranmula on the day of Uthrittathi asterism in connection with the Onam festival is to commemorate the crossing of the river by Lord Krishna on that day. The deity is supposed to be in all the boats that take part in the carnival and all of them are expected to arrive at their destination simultaneously.
The Mahadeva Temple at Vaikom is one of the most famous and oldest Siva temples in Kerala. The utsavam in this temple is celebrated for twelve days during the dark lunar fortnight of Vrischikam, (November-December) the Ashtami falling on the last day. During the night on the Ashtami day the deities of the neighboring temples will be ceremoniously brought in procession to this temple. .
ATTUKAL PONKALA, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
There is an ancient Bhagavathy temple (Mudipura) at Attukal in the Kaladi ward of the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation. The most important festival in this temple, generally known as Attukal Ponkala commences on Bharani day in Kumbhom (February-March) and continues for nine days. The festival begins with Thottampattu (a song about Bhagavathi) which goes on during all the nine days. On the ninth day, several thousands of women assemble in the temple compound and offers ponkala.
Chettikulangara temple near Kayamkulam is one of the famous Devi Temples in Kerala. The Bharani Utsavan celebrated in Kumbham (February-March) in this temple is quite an event to the local people as well as to those residing in the neighboring villages.
CHITTUR KONGANPADA. PALAKKADU
Konganpada is a grand festival of historical significance celebrated in the Bhagavathy temple at Chittur' ten kilometre from Palakad town. A unique festival it is held every year on the first Monday after the dark lunar night in Kumbham (February -March) to commemorate the victory of Nairs of Chittur over the militia of Konganadu (Coimbatore) led by the Chola King Rajadhi Raja.
Ettumanoor is located 12 Kms north-east of Kottayam town. The ancient Siva temple here has brought glory and fame to the place. Myths have it that the Pandavas and the sage Vyasa had worshipped at this temple. The name of the place had its origin from the word 'manoor', which means the home of deer.The arattu festival of this temple is celebrated on a grand scale on the Thiruvathira day in Kumbham (February-March) every year. Large number of people flock to this temple on the 8th and 10th day of the festival when seven and half elephants made of gold (nearly 13 Kgms) will be held in public view. The temple, the wealthiest Devaswom in Kerala, has many valuable possessions.
Guruvayoor is situated in an out-of-the way village in Chavakkad taluk, though it draws a vast concourse of pilgrims from every part of the country. Devotees are thronging to this temple not to see and appreciate the variety of its structural patterns or to revel in the festivals celebrated there, but only to feel the air of benediction that pervades this famous shrine of Guruvayoorappan and to invoke his blessings. Ashtami Rohini in Chingom, Sukla Paksha Ekadasi in Vrischikom Kuchela Day in Dhanu, Dhwaja Prathishta day), Vishukkani in Medam are the important religious festivals celebrated here.
Sree Subrahmonia Swamy temple, at Haripad, is one of the oldest and most important temples devoted to Lord Subrahmonia. Annually three festivals are celebrated in this temple, of which the Chithira festival is the most important. It takes place in Medom (April-May). The procession with the golden peacock throne is quite attractive.
The Kodungalloor Bhagavathi temple is one of the wealthiest temples in Kerala. Bhadrakali born of the third eye of Samhara Rudra, killed the demon Darika. It is to commemorate this event that the famous Bharani festival is celebrated in the Kodungalloor Bhagavathi temple in Meenam (March-April) every year.
The ancient and historic Koodalmanickam temple is situated in the Manavalassery village, about nine kilometres from the Irinjalakuda railway station. The deity of this temple is Sree Bharatha, very rarely found consecrated in Kerala temples. This temple is in the true architectural pattern of Kerala temples. The festival here is held annually in Medom (April- May)
LOKANARKAVU UTSAVAM, KOZHIKODE
Lokamalayarkavu, or Lokanarkavu Bhagvathi temple as is familiarly known, is situated at Memunda, six kilometers east of Badagara in North Kerala. Two festivals are celebrated here annually in the months of Vrischikam (November-December) and Meenam (March-April). The festival in Vrischikam is known as Mandalavilakku, which is the most important one.
Mannarsala, situated to the north-west of Haripad, is the seat of the famous temple of Nagaraja (God of Serpents), the largest of its kind in Kerala . Built in a grove, the temple is reputed for having 30,000 images of snake-Gods. On the day of Ayilliam asterism in the months of Kanni and Thulam (September and October), all the serpent idols in the grove and the temple are taken in procession to the illam (family connected with the temple) where the offerings of Nurum Palum (rice flour and milk), Kuruthi (a red liquid made of turmeric and lime) and cooked rice are made. The oldest female member of the family carries the idol of the Nagaraja and the procession is conducted with great pomp and rejoicing.
In the Vallanghi village of Chittur Taluk , there is a beautiful temple dedicated to goddess Bhagavathi . The deity of this temple is called Nellikulangara Bhagavathi . To invoke the blessings of the Goddess, the people of Vallanghi and Nenmmara conduct a festival at 20th Meenam (March-April) every year. This is the famous Vallanghi vela.
The most colourful temple festival of Kerala, Thrissur Pooram, attracts large masses of devotees and spectators from all parts of the State and even outside.
CHINAKATHOOR POORAM, PALAKKAD
Chinakathoor Pooram is held annually at the Sree Chinakkathoor Bhagavathy Temple, Palappuram in the district of Palakkad in north Kerala. The highlights of the festival include a grand procession of 33 tuskers in the evening, and performances of the Panchavadyam or the traditional temple orchestra and various art forms like Vellattu, Theyyam, Poothanum thirayum, Kaalavela, Kuthiravela, Aandi Vedan, Karivela, and so on. The Tholppavakkoothu, a ritualistic shadow puppet show, is presented at the temple premises every evening for the 17 days preceding the festival. Another beautiful sight is the procession of sixteen well-decorated models of the kuthira (horse) and the kaala (bull) brought ceremoniously to the temple by devotees.
SABARIMALA SHRINE, PATHANAMTHITTA
Sabarimala in the south has been an important pilgrim centre attracting lakhs of devotees from all over India, especially from the southern states. The presiding deity at Sabarimala is Lord Ayyappa known as Dharma Sastha. The temple is situated in the interior of the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats. January 14, every year synchronising with the day of Sankramom (crossing of the sun from Dhakshinayana to Uttarayana) is the most important festival day of the temple.
The Sharada temple and mutt at Sivagiri, atop Varkala hill has now become a place of pilgrimage. The Guru Deva Jayanti, the birthday of the Sree Narayana Guru, and the Samadhi day are befittingly celebrated in August and September respectively every year. On these days colourful processions, seminars, public meetings, cultural shows, community feasts and special rituals are held. In the last week of December, devotees of Sree Narayana Guru, donned in yellow attire stream to Sivagiri from different parts of Kerala and outside, in what may be called a pilgrimage of enlightenment. The Mahasamadhi of Sree Narayana Guru also attracts a large number of devotees and tourists.
This temple was founded in 1916 by Sree Narayana Guru , Lord Siva is the deity consecrated in the temple which has since been opened to all irrespective of caste or creed. Eight -day festival is conducted in March- April every year.
KALPATHY RATHOLSAVAM, PALAKKAD
Thrichambaram temple dedicated to Sree Krishna is located at the Taliparamba village, about 14 kilometer from Pappinisserry railway station. The annual festival at this temple lasts for 14 days from 22nd Kumbaham (February-March).
Situated about three kilometer form the Thiruvalla railway station , the Sree Vallabha temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The large tank near the temple is believed to have formed naturally. The flag -staff of the temple, about 50 feet tall , is made of granite. It is believed that its bottom touches the water table. On the top of the flag-staff is a three-feet high idol of Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu.
PADAYANI AT NEELAMPEROOR, ALAPPUZHA
The annual Padayani Utsavam of the Bhagavathikkavu at Nilamperoor, a village in the Kuttanad Taluk on the precincts of Changanassery Municipal town is a festival which symbolises and reflects the tradition and culture of a typical Kerala village. The Padayani Utsavam is celebrated on a grand scale with Kolamkettu (making of effigies) and Kolamthullal (a kind of ritual dance performed by carrying the effigies). The chief kolams displayed are of Siva, Bhima, Ravana, Elephants etc.