Festival held in Palakkad to commemorate the victory of the Chittur Nairs over the militia of nearby Konganadu during 918 AD.
Although there have been battles fought in Kerala none are really commemorated by Keralites. However the people of Chittur in Palakkad district do commemorate a battle every February (on first Monday after the dark lunar in Kumbam, Malayalam calendar) they fought and won. This is Konganpada, the only war festival in the state. The history of this festival is interwoven with myths.
Chittur Bhagavathy temple, 11 Km away from Palakkad town, is famous for the konganpada festival. The festival, combines religion with mythology and history.It is held every year on the first Monday after the new moon night in Kumbhom (February-March), to commemorate the victory of Nair's of Chittoor over the militia of Konganadu (Coimbatore) led by the Chola King, Rajadhi Raja.
The celebrations commemorate the victory of the Chittur Nairs over the militia of nearby Konganadu during 918 AD. It is said that there was constant fight in the Palakkad region between the Kerala kingdoms on the western side and the princely state of Konganad on the eastern side of the Western Ghat mountains.
The festival starts with 'Chilambu' on Sivarathi in Kumbhom which reminds Kongan's (Chola Kings) declaration of war and the frightened people worshipping Bhagavathy and beseeching her help. On the third day of the Konganpada festival 101 rounds of the 'kathina vedi' (iron pipe crackers) commemorates the historic victory. Later, there is a kolam procession of little boys dressed as girls carried on the shoulders of men. At night men engage in mock fights wearing buffalo head masks to symbolize the dead buffaloes of the Konganpada (Kongan militia).
Nearest railway station: Palakkad, about 11 km from Chittur.
Nearest airports: Coimbatore in the neighbouring State of Tamilnadu, about 55 km from Palakkad, Cochin International Airport, about 134 km from Palakkad.
In our opinion, this may be one of the more bizarre festivals in the state.