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Pulavanibham At Azhakiyakavu Temple In Palluruthy In West Kochi Kerala

Pulavanibham at Azhakiyakavu Temple in Palluruthy in west Kochi is held for a day on the last Thursday in Dhanu Masam. Pulavanibham 2024 date is January 11.

Meaning – Pulavanibham - the pulaya community, who were mainly farm hands and crafters, and vanibham meaning commerce.

Origin Of Pulavanibham

Legend has it that a few kilometers miles away from the temple was a village of the pulayas. The village faced an smallpox epidemic of smallpox and dying villagers were directed to appease the angry goddess of Azhakiyakavu. But they could not enter the temple. A plea was made to the then Cochin Maharaja who granted permission to enter from the North side of the temple, on the last Thursday of Dhanu.

The ancient one-day market was initially known as ‘pulaya nercha.’ The main custom was of placing offerings, called thalams, in front of the goddess. Traditional dances such as Kollukali, Parichamuttukali and Mudiyattam were performed.

Apart from the offering, Pulayas also brought handcrafted wares that they sold outside the temple.

A small market sprang up selling common and essential home items such as the attu kallu (hand mill made of stone used for pounding and crushing), ural (mortar for de-husking paddy), chirava (scraper), muram (winnow to sift grain), kutta (circular basket), and vatti (small basket) made from thin layers of bamboo.

There were some special items too such as dried salted shark and the thazha paya, a mat made from grass palm leaves.

In the old days people waited for this market to buy their annual kitchenware. People from the nearby and adjacent places came here to buy things. So did traders. The Pulavanibham was something that one looked forward to.

It is a day and night market, mainly night. Trading picks up by late evening and is brisk during the night. Even at two in the morning there are buyers and business goes on. Most traders spend the night in their makeshift stalls. The market now runs for two weeks.

Over the years the nature of the bazaar has changed. It has lost its religiosity and gained more in business. Now there are sellers from all communities and the variety in wares has expanded to include a colorful kitsch of plastic, funky, traditional and modern knick-knacks.