The Vaisakha Maholsavam festival is held every year during the months of May – June. Vaisakha Maholsavam festival is the festival of nature held on the banks of Bavali River at the Kottiyoor Temple. It is the festival of Rain, River, Hills and Forests. The festival is held at the Akkare Kottiyoor, (Kizhakkeshwaram) temple which is on the eastern bank of Bavali River. The shrine on the east bank is a temporary hermitage (Yaga shrine) opened only during the Vysakha festival.
The Akkare Kottiyoor temple remain closed throughout the year except for the 28 day Vysakha festival. The temple structure is temporarily build only for the festival days using row materials from the Kottiyoor forest. The temple has a Shiva Linga believed to be a ‘swayambhu’ which is on a small heap or ‘Thara’ known as ‘Manithara’, in the middle of the circular water pond.
Actually there is no permanent temple there. The Manithara in the middle of the circular pond and the temporary structures build using row materials from Kottiyoor forest makes the Akkare Kottiyoor Temple.
After the festival the river takes down the structures and it is left as it is for the rest of the year till the next festival season without any human presence. It is restricted to enter the Akkare Kottiyoor till the next festival season.
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The 28 day festival commences with the ‘Neyyattam'(pouring of ghee) ritual on the ‘chodi’ Day in Edavam (rishabham) and concludes with the Thrikkalashaattu.
The Vaisakha Maholsavam celebrations begin with the ritual of bringing a sword from Muthirerikavu from Wayanad. On the following day, on Visakham star Bhandaram Ezhunnallath ritual is held. Gold, Silver vessels, heavenly ornaments etc. are brought from nearby Manathana village to Kottiyoor.
An important ritual during the festival is the ‘Elaneer Vayppu‘ or submitting tender coconuts before the swayambhu Shiva Linga. On this special day, thousands of tender coconuts carried from different parts of Malabar by the devotees are submitted. The following day, the main priest of the temple, pours the collected coconut water on to the idol which is known as ‘Elaneeraattam‘. Before trekking on the holy hills of Kottiyoor devotees will take a bath in Bavali River.
Ghee and Tender coconut is the favorite offerings for the Kottiyoor shrine. And special mud pot is needed to conclude the festival. Devotees carry the Auda flowers (white fibres flowing down and looks very much like a white beard) while returning from Kotiyoor. It is created from the bamboo of Kottiyoor forest.
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The Kottiyoor Pilgrimage has far reaching participation from the entire society. Each community have been delegated specific duty, and has not been re-delegated from the inception. They consider this as a right given to them and exercise their part as a duty.
Rites and Rituals
The rites and rituals of the festival is a symbol of Shaiva-Vaishnava communal harmony. Rohini Aradhana is considered as one of the sacred ritual during the Vysakha Mahotsavam where the head of the Vaishnavite family named ‘Kurumathoor’, conduct ‘Aalingana pushpanjali’ to the Swayambhoo Linga, this is to commemorate Vishnu embracing Shiva to pacify him, who was in deep sorrow when he found the burned dead body of his beloved wife Sati Devi.
The Main rituals of the Vaisakha maholthsavam are
- Bhandaram Ezhunnallath
- Thiruvoonam Aaradhana
- Elaneer Vayppu
- Ashtami Aaradhana
- Revathi Aaradhana
- Rohini Aaradhana
- Thiruvathira chathushatham
- Punartham Chathushatham
- Aayilyam chathushatham
- Makham Kalam varavu
- Atham Chathushatham
The “Pradhama Sthaneeyar” of Kottiyoor is from the Thekkedath Family of Kankol. Women are not permitted to enter Akkare Kottiyoor temple before Bhandaram Ezhunnallathu reaches at Akkare Kottiyoor Temple and after Makam Sheeveli.
Prev: Kottiyoor Temple