Wednesday 31 March 2010

Aarattu: Padmanabha Temple

Today i had the opportunity to witness the aarattu (Holy bath) of the idols of Sree Padmanabha Temple. Due to heavy crowds, a close view was impossible without risking a stampede. But all in all it went off smoothly and without any incidents. There was a cavalcade which consisted of 5 to 6 elephants, horse mounted police, traditional percussion musicians, a handful of policement with arms in shoulder-arm position, and other colourful paraphernalia.

The procession started from Sree Padmanabha Temple, East Fort, Trivandrum and ended at Shanghumugham beach, where the idols were given the holy bath in the arabian sea. Traditional oil torches attached to the end of a stick held by volunteers lit up the evening, as it was already dusk. I took few picture of the elephants which were taking rest on the beach with their mahouts sitting besides them. One elephant was made to stick to rules (i.e. not to make unnecessary movements) by slanting a stick to one of its legs. The elephant is expected to see that the stick doesnt fall. If the stick falls the elephant would be calling for trouble. But this particular elephant didnt care for the stick as i could see that the stick fell atleast 2 times and then the mahout never cared to repeat the stick trick again.

A colourful evening it was for me today. Many foreigners too had gathered with cameras which caught every action happening around them. Before it was late, i called it a day and came here to update about the experience of this nice evening.