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Kalapathy Chariot Festival

Information about the Kalpathy Ratholsavam or Chariot Festival

The Vishwanathaswamy temple is a small structure, on the banks of Kalpathy river. The flag mast is imposing. The flag on the post heralds the famous Kalpathy Ratholsavam – Chariot festival. The festival is in Thulam (October-November).

In the festival all the temples in the area with their own chariots participate. A great event with characteristic pomp and show. Streets knot with stalls selling balloons, knick-knacks and other festival oriented items. A huge crowd gathers to witness the chariot procession and to pray different deities in the chariots. While the chariot procession starts from Vishwanathasway temple, similar celebrations are held in Chathapurma and new Kalpathy – all the three on the banks of Kalpathy river. Vishwanathaswamy temple is a quadrangular structure of 1425 AD, a replica of Kashi temple at Benares.

Palakkad has more agraharams, around 108. Thrissur, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram have them in less numbers. Agraharam means colony of Brahmins – a purely vegetarian cult. They are remarkable intellects. Each agraharam has a chariot. Typical, the agraharams are generally face to face lined. Kalpathy is a cluster of agraharams.

The day starts for the Brahmins with a ‘kalam’ (about 15” multi-colour powdered round or square) in front of their homes drawn by the women.

The agraharams vividly associated with the divinity. The agraharams have numerous temples. The everyday pujas with various flowers, sandal paste and incenses amplify the fragrance in the agraharams. The Kerala government has declared the agraharams as heritage sites. Major structural change or re-building is banned.

Getting There:

Air  : Nedumbassery Airport. Rail  : Palakkad Station

Maps

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