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Menstruation Occurring In The Idol Of Goddess Parvati in Kerala Temple – Thripootharattu Chengannur Mahadeva Temple

The menstruation occurring in the idol of Goddess Parvati at the Chengannur Mahadeva Temple in Kerala is one of the amazing and perplexing happenings in a Hindu Temple. This unusual phenomenon, referred as Thripootharattu (menstruation ceremony), is not a monthly occurrence nowadays but elders in the region testify that earlier it used happen regularly every month. Nowadays, the menstrual bleeding, which is celebrated as a divine incident, happens occasionally. The Mahadeva Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and is located at Chengannur.

The belief is that the middle portion of Goddess Sati fell in the particular place when Shiva was roaming with her around the universe after her death at Daksha Yajna. 

Legend has it that one day when the temple priest was removing the vesture from the idol of Goddess Parvati; he noticed the presence of blood stains on the dress. 

This cloth was shown to the women of Vanchi Puzhathu Madam as well as the landlady of the house of Thazhamon Pothy. Both of them confirmed that Goddess was undergoing periods. Thazhamon Pothy advised the chief priest to remove the statue to a separate temple and close the door. The pooja for the next three days was performed in the north eastern corner of the temple.

The priest informed the local ruler about the unusual occurrence and the queen who examined the dress realized that it was stain of menstrual blood and as confirmed by the women in the family of the priest.

The shrine of Goddess Parvati was immediately close and invoked Goddess Parvati into a processional murti. The priest also arranged for some women to sleep in the temple to keep company of the Goddess. The ceremony is continued even today when the senior-most woman in the family of the temple priest confirms menstrual blood on the dress

On the fourth day, the murti of the Goddess is secretly taken out on a she elephant for her ritual bath, accompanied with musical instruments to the nearby Mithra River. The arattu is known as Thripootharattu. Women raise Mangal Dhwani with their throat (called Kuruvai). The elephant on which the goddess rides is received with Nirapara. Namboothiri women give the Goddess an oil bath and bring her back. After the ritual bath given by the women the priest does ceremonies like oil abhishekam, milk Abhishekam etc and is brought back to the temple. 

Shiva waits for Goddess Parvati in front of the temple on a male elephant and they together encircle the temple three times. A grand Kalabhabhishekam concludes the ritual. The dress with the menstrual blood is displayed in the temple for devotees to offer prayers.

The dress with the menstrual blood is in great demand and it is said to bring good fortune. Advanced booking is necessary to get the attire and the wait is usually 10 to 15 years.

Many people in the past have ridiculed the idea of the divine menstrual bleeding and some officials during the British rule tried to stop the ceremony. But they themselves had to restore the ceremony primarily due to mysterious happenings to the women in their family related to menstruation cycle. 

During the British rule in India, a British resident called Munro laughed at the belief of the periods to the Goddess and stopped all grants for observing it. But from that day onwards his wife started to bleed without stop. Doctors were unable to find a cure to the unique situation. A well-wisher of Munro told him that it may be due to his action of stopping the grants to Chengannur temple. Then Munro promised that if his wife was cured, he would create a trust whose interest would be sufficient to observe the celebration of the Thirupoothu (periods) of the Goddess. His wife was cured. Apart from a creating the trust, Munro also presented two golden bangles to the Goddess.

Atheists and skeptics are still questioning the ritual but devotees in large number arrive at the temple for the ceremony.