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River Enters This Kerala Temple to Conduct the Holy Bath

In most of the temples in Kerala, there is a traditional holy bath of the deity on the closing day of the temple festival and this is locally known as ‘arattu.’ The priests carry the deity to a nearby river or other water body for the ‘arattu.’ But in the Thanikkudam Bhagavathy Temple in Thrissur, Kerala, the river enters the temple to conduct the holy bath or ‘arattu.’

The Thanikkudam Bhagavathy Temple is dedicated to Durga and the holy bath happens when the nearby Thanikkudam River overflows and enters the temple. During the monsoon rains (June – July) and during the (October – November) rains, the Thanikkudam River which surrounds the temple overflows and enters the sanctum sanctorum. The deity is never taken out for ‘arattu,’ so people in large numbers reach the temple when the river overflows.

Another noteworthy aspect of this temple is that there is no roof for the sanctum sanctorum. The original idol is a swaymbhu (occurring naturally) Durga and is kept inside the closed walls without a roof. A separate idol is used for conducting poojas.