Thursday, September 12, 2013

Athachamayam Festival in Thrippunithura

Also known as temple town, Thrippunithura is a suburb of Cochin City in Gods own Country Kerala and was the capital of the erstwhile Royal kingdom of Kochi. It is very popular for the celebration of the first day ‘Atham’ of the 10 days long Onam festival which is celebrated in this place with great fervor and joy. The celebration is named as Athachamayam and this town of majestic splendor celebrates the factual fortitude of Onam with collective harmony all over the state in the Atham asterism of the Malayalam month Chingam (approximately in August/September).

History: Initially, it was celebrated to honour the renowned victory of King of Kochi along with the memories of legend King Mahabali. In the first day of Onam, the Maharaja of Kochi along with the Kozhikode Zamorin used to hold a festivity and poojas at Thrikakkara Vamanamorthy Temple with glorious walk of the Maharajas to Vamana temple at Thrikakkara signifying the royal spectacle, peace, impartiality recollecting the days when almost everything was plentiful. The Maharaja used to give 'darshan' to his countless citizens during this day.

The last such Athachamayam was conducted during the control of Rama Varma Pareekshtih Thampuran. After the Independence and unity with larger India, this tradition was disappeared until the early sixties (1960’s) when the people of Tripunithura determined to revitalize the festival but was named as Athaghosham. Since, the formation of Municipal Council of Tripunithura in 1980 it is conducted under its joint leadership with thousands of artists from all over the state participating in this festival. Now once again the majestic charm and splendor of this festival is conducted and has become the official commencement of the 10 day celebrations of Onam in Ernakulam district.    

Key Attractions:

• Almost all folk arts of Kerala can be seen including Kummatti, Theyyam, Kolkali, Mayilattom, Karakattom, Kummi, Poykal, ammankudam, Kathakali, aatakavadi, panjavadyam, chendamelam, Pulikali etc.
• Floats portraying eternal moments from Mahabharata, Ramayana and Bible as well as the current social issues are displayed.
• Competitions and variety of entertainment programmes.
• Handicrafts and cottage sector vendors lined up in the path.
• Trade fair for 10 days.

This festival is celebrated in the Thrikkakara Temple which is also considered as the abode of King Mahabali. After the hoisting and the lightning of the lamp, ceremonial parade headed by Lord Mahabali is taken out in the streets of Thripunithura with thousands of people partaking in it. Thrippunithura Athachamayam is a spectacular festivity where all the people irrespective of all castes and community come together for participating in this festival. It is the only one day in the year when people from diverse communities are allowed to enter the fort of Kottakkakam. The caparisoned elephants, diverse folk art forms, float, and musical ensembles jointly form part of the march and are the major attraction of the festival which remains its royal charm despite of the procession of the king.

As of present, this festival is vigorously endorsed as a tourism event. To witness this grand festivity is like an exotic experience not only for Keralites but to all non-Keralites who visit Kerala during this period of year to witness the grand success of Athachamayam.