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Neelamperoor Padayani - 16 day Festival – Details

Neelamperoor Padayani is held at Neelamperoor Palli Bhagavathi Temple (around 10 km north of Changanassery) in Alappuzha district, Kerala. The 16-day long festival begins on Avittam nakshatra in Chingam month (August – September).

On the night of Avittam nakshatra after 10:00 PM people from different karas, or nearby localities, reach the temple carrying fire on dried coconut frond (kuttichoottu). After offering prayers, a deepam from the sandinam is given to the people by the priest. After this permission is taken for conducting the padayani from the president of the committee (earlier it was from an important family of the area) at the Perumal Mandapam. The padayani festival starts with Arppuvili (making a loud sound of happiness).

Four types of padayani are part of Neelamperoor Padayani – Choottu (dried coconut frond), Kuda (traditional umbrella), Plavila Kolam (effigy made using jackfruit leaves) and Pindiyum Kuruthola (middle portion of banana tree or plantain and tender coconut fronds).

For the first 12 days, vazhanaru, kuruthola and eerkil are not supposed to be used.

First four days are dedicated to Choottu. On the fourth day samarpanam is done with choottu along with the hand of Choondapana around the peepal tree.

Fifth day is dedicated to kuda. Thettipoov garlands are put on Perumarakombu.

On the sixth day branches are used to make muthukuda and it is decorated flowers – Thattukuda.

On the seventh day, stem of coconut frond is bend to make a round (valayam) and it is tied to a tree branch – paravalayam.

Eighth day rituals are known as valiyakuda. Kuda puja and Tothakali are held on the day.

Ninth day is dedicated to Plavila Kolam (effigy made of jackfruit tree leaves). The image of a Tapasan (sannyasi) is made using green jackfruit tree leaves, flowers and green outer covering of plantain.

On the tenth day, the image of elephant is made using jackfruit tree leaves.

On the eleventh day, the image of Hanuman is made using jackfruit tree leaves.

On the 12th day, image of Bhima is made using jackfruit tree leaves. Kudam puja and thothakali are held.

On the 13th day, kodikura is made using vazhapola.

On the 14th day, kolam of kavalpisach is made.

On the 15th day, there two kolams of swan (annam) and adiyanthira kolam. Valiya padayani is held on the day. Velakali is also performed on the day. Two children of velan community are made using kovala leaves for Velakali.

Pooram is held on the 16th day. Kettukazhcha is the most important event on the 16th day. The huge Kettukazhcha includes numerous swans (annam), Bhima, Ravana, Kiratam, Santhanagopala, Yakshi, lion and elephant. For desire fulfillment, people bring effigy of swans of different sizes.