The Thirunakkara Arattu begins on the first day of the Malayalam month of Meenam. This means that the temple festival will fall either in March or April every year. The festival is conducted at the Thurnakkara Mahadeva temple in Kottayam, a district in Kerala. The festival extends over a period of 10 days.
The ten days of the Thirunakkara Arattu festival is a splash of color as local arts and religious ceremonies are combined together in a vibrant mix. The presiding deity at the temple is Mahadeva. Several cultural programs are held during the festivities. The Kathakali dance performances organized during the Thirunakkara Arattu festival have been highly appreciated over the years. The other highlights of the festival are the “Mayilaatam” or peacock dance and Velakali.
The concluding ceremony, known as the Arattu, attracts huge crowds. The idol of Mahadeva is taken in a procession accompanied by nine beautifully decorated elephants, kathakali dancers and musicians to the nearby river. The idol is then bathed before being taking back to the temple.
The spectacle of the Arattu is quite unforgettable. Tourists can also enjoy the Kathakali festival and the music performances. The Mahadeva temple itself is worth visiting. It is one of the most important Shiva temples in southern India. Its architecture is magnificent and the ancient temple is an attraction for history and archeological buffs as its interior walls have murals depicting scenes from ancient Hindu epics.
The town of Kottayam has several interesting sights. This includes the Thazhathangady Juma Masjid, which is considered as one of the oldest mosques in the country. There are also old churches scattered across the Kottayam landscape. The town is studded with plantations and lakes giving it some stunning scenery.