Thaipooyam Mahotsavam Alleppey is celebrated at Haripad Sree Subrahmanya Swamy temple. The temple is 5km away from the Haripad railway station. From Alleppey the road distance to the temple is 32km. Cochin airport is the nearest and at a distance of 114km. This temple is one of the oldest temples in Kerala and believed to be established even before Kaliyuga by Lord Vishnu, who appeared as a saint to sanctify the temple. Every year the Pushya star of Makara Masa is celebrated as the founding day of this temple. Thaipooyam Mahotsavam 2016 will be celebrated on 24th January. Thaipooyam Mahotsavam Kerala is mainly celebrated at Sree Subrahmanya Swamy temple Haripad in Alleppey district and Sree Maheswara temple at Koorkancherry in Thrissur district.
In ancient times the Devas were defeated by an Asura king named Tharakasura. Devas took shelter and prayed to Lord Shiva to save them from the demons. Lord Shiva created ‘Skanda – the evil vanquisher’ from his own power and mother Goddess Parvathi gifted him a ‘Vel’ to destroy the Asuras. Under the leadership of Skanda (Subrahmanya/ Muruga) Devas fought with the Asuras and won the battle as Tharakasura was killed by Skanda. Thaipooyam Festival in Kerala is celebrated to recognise the victory of Skanda over Tharakasura. ‘Kavadiaatam’ is the main offering related to this festival. The devotees have to undergo 41 days of penance to perform Kavadi as per the rituals. Kavadi vratham is started by wearing a Rudraksha mala or Tulsi mala worshipped in the temple. The devotee should wear only yellow or orange lungies from the first day of the vrutham. The person should not wear footwear’s and shirts and he is not permitted to travel out of his locality. The diet should be vegetarian and should not use any drugs or liquors while following the vrutham. The person is advised to follow brahmacharyam and not to cut hair or nails. The success of his vrutham depends on following the guidelines strictly and completing the 41 days penance in worshipping the god without any violations.
Kavadi is made by wood in arch form and decorated with flowers. The main parts of the Kavadi are Kavadi kaal, Chendu, Kavadam, Peacock feather and the offering item. Wood from Teak, Jackfruit tree or Eetti are used to make the Kavadi. The Kavadi makers also should follow the penance as per the rituals. Flowers and colour papers are beautifully tied together and decorated over Chendu. Colour paper fixed cardboard is fixed on both sides of the Chendu and it’s called the Kavadam. Then the peacock feathers are fixed on the Kavadi relating Murugan’s vahanam, the peacock to the rituals. The fifth part is the offering item to the god and considered as the holy part on the Kavadi. The main offering items are milk, oil, ghee, honey, jaggery, kalabham, bhasmam and camphor. One of these is selected by the devotee and it is tied up to the Kavadi at the beginning of the dance procession. The offering item should not spill or fall down so it is tightly tied to the Kavadi.
The person who is taking Kavadi should reach the temple on the previous night and has to follow strict dieting till the ceremony ends. On the day of Thaipooyam the devotee should bath early morning in the temple pond and follow the rituals. Kavadiattam is symbolised as dance of Shiva. The aatam starts in a slow pace and at the end it reaches the faster pace and resembles to the Shiva Thandava. Kavadi is a symbol of burden and some devotees pierce their tongue or cheeks as an offering to god. It is believed that a person comes out of evil thoughts and deeds by piercing own body as it is painful and self punishment. When the procession reaches the temple the offerings are placed before god. The liquids are poured on the deity and the solids are kept near to the idol. The devotee in half consciousness due to the dieting and Kavadi aattam will be given sacred coconut water from the temple and his offering is transferred to the sanctorum. It is believed that if the articles offered are in the original state and not decomposed the penance was successfully completed or if the article is spoiled then the devotee is advised to repeat the ritual in the next year and complete the Kavadi in success. Thaipooyam Mahotsavam Watch Live in Alleppey temples at Haripad, Kidangamparambu and Thalavady.