Kollam



<< Kerala Traditions and Rituals

Quilon, an old sea port town on the Arabian coast, stands on the Ashtamudi lake. The district which was the erstwhile Desinganadu, had a sustained commercial reputation from the days of the Phoenicians and the Romans. Fed by the Chinese trade, it was regarded by Ibn Batuta, as one of the five ports which he had seen in the course of his travels during a period of twenty four years, in the 14th century.

In addition to the traditional past times like Kathakali, Koothu, Ottamthullal, Pattakam, Harikatha, Kaikottikkali, Thiruvathirakkali, Kolattam etc., there are certain amusements and festivities which are unique to Quilon district. They are held in connection with festivals in temples. The mock swork-fight - Oachirakkali, is one of the most important of such festivals. Oachira has been famous for long as one of the sacred places of Kerala. Historically too this place is very famous, for, it was on the plains of Oachira that the much famed battle in the history of Travancore, the battle of Kayamkulam, was fought between Marthandavarma, the Maharaja of Travancore and the Raja of Kayamkulam. In commemoration of this historic battle Ochirakkali is conducted on the first and second of Mithunam (June-July) every year. On this occasion, the young and the old, drawn from the two Karas lying east and west of Oachira, form themselves into two groups, reach the Padanilam (the place for fighting) and conduct the age-old fencing exercise under the leadership of an elder kalari asan.

In Kottamkulangara Temple in Chavara, there is a peculiar custom of men dressing up as women and carrying lighted lamps(Thalappoli). The Uriati is a typical festival associated with Krishna Temple. The annual Uriati festival held at Vadayattukotta temple in connection with Ashtami Rohini deserves mention. The Kettukazhcha (exhibition of effigies) festival held at Mahadevar Temple, Thrikkadavur in February-March every year is one of the most colorful festivals of the district. There are similar festivals in the temples of Sasthamcotta, Velinallur, Chathannur, Chirakkara etc.

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