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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Tripunithura

Reached Purnatriyesa temple just before 8.00 pm. It was 15 minutes away from Chottanikkara. At the entry point to the main Gopuram stood a large peepul tree. It was dark inside the puratthe balivattom as all the oil lamps on the vilakkumadam had extinguished. There are several peepul trees inside the campus. I went around and reached the approach to the inner sanctum which was brightly lit by oil lamps as well as fluorescent lights. The approach corridor stood on six thick magnificent pillars with a hanging lamp (suspended from the ceiling) besides each pillar.
I was a little late and entry into the Antara Hara (inner sanctum) was already closed and Sree Bali (seeveli) was about to commence. This is a Vishnu temple in the Avatar of Shri Krishna. Only a few dozen people were present. A musical group was playing a variety of instruments. The instruments traditionally used in Kerala Temples includes nadaswaram, kombu, chendai, kuzhal, elathavalam (cymbals), chengalam, maddalam, sanku etc. A large male elephant (a tusker) was brought near the Dwaja Sthambam. The musical group emerged from inside and the Chief priest followed carrying the utsava murthy draped in a red silk cloth. The elephant was made to kneel down on its front legs (by the mahout) to allow the priest to mount with the deity. Then the Sree Bali commenced. A group of priests holding oil lamps, oil torches, balls of rice & holy water went ahead preceded by the musicians and followed by the chief priest atop elephant and the mahout besides the elephant. The small crowd of devotees followed behind chanting "Hare Rama Hare Rama-Rama Rama Hare Hare, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna -Krishna Krishna Hare Hare". I was one amongst this crowd. After completing 3 rounds of the seeveli pura the priest dismounted and took the murthy back into the sanctum. The temple was closed for the night. The mahout led the elephant outside to a shed to give the tusker his feed and rest for the night.

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