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The Chettikulangara Kumbha Bharani is a festival that is celebrated in the Alappuzha district in Kerala. It is celebrated every year in the Chettikulangara Devi Temple. In accordance with the Malayalam calendar, the festival falls either in the month of March or April. The name Kumbha Bharani was given because the Chettikulangara Bharani falls under the Bharani Nakshatra in the month of Kumbha in Malayalam. The proceedings of Kuthiyottam and Ketttukazhcha are the highlights of this festival.
Legend says that a king once told a group of village chieftains and a group of workers to construct the Kollam chavara canal. But midway was stranded because of a delay in the construction and the authorities had not agreed to their return. During the time that they were stranded, they decided to visit the festivities in the Kollam Mulangakam temple. Attracted by the proceedings of the festival and especially by Kettukazhcha, they promised the local deity named Chettikulangara Bhagavathy that they would build similar kettukazhchas every year if they were allowed to return from there as soon as possible. And surprisingly, the very next day, they were allowed to return. To keep their promise, they made giant Kettukazhchas and took them to where Bhagavathy resided.
Kerala is home to one of the most famous temples, the Chettikkulangara Sree Bhagavathi temple. The deity that resides there is known as Bhadrakali. She was known to be an incarnation of the goddess Shakti who herself was born from the third eye of Lord Shiva. Bhadra means good, and Kali means the goddess of time and therefore, she is worshipped for prosperity and salvation. The goddess Shakti is synonymous with words like creator, protector, destructor, nature and power.
It is the most important offering to the goddess. It is a symbolic human sacrifice meant to appease the goddess. Originally it as meant to be a blood sacrifice, but through the years, it has moderated. Few pre-pubescent boys are symbolically sacrificed by those who vow to perform the ritual. The boys are taught what is to be done by trained professionals and on the day of the sacrifice, the boys are as kings and adorned with paper ornaments and their abdominal skin is pierced by a golden or silver thread. This practice or ritual is known as the choral muriyal. After that, the boys are taken to the temple in a great procession where they perform some steps in front of the goddess and then the thread is removed and then presented to the goddess as an offering.
This ritual is a combination of folk music and dance wherein the boys to be symbolically sacrificed perform the fold dance in every house that has vowed to perform Kuthiyottam.
It is another form of offering made to the goddess to thank her and to ask for her blessings.
Chennai - Mahabalipuram
Pondicherry - Thanjavur - Chettinad - Madurai - Kodaikanal - Munnar - Alleppey - Cochin - Mararikulam - Cochin
Cochin - Munnar
Kodaikanal - Periyar - Alappuzha - Mararikulam - Cochin
Bangalore - Mysore
Wayanad - Ooty - Trichy - Chettinad - Madurai - Cochin - Alleppey - Kovalam - Trivandrum
Chennai - Mahabalipuram
Pondicherry - Thanjavur - Trichy - Chettinad - Madurai - Kodaikanal - Munnar - Cochin - Calicut - Wayanad - Mysore - Hassan - Halebid - Belur - Hospet - Hampi - Badami - Goa - Chennai