Recently, I had attended our annual "Kudumba Sangamam" (family reunion) in my native place in Kerala. The place was Mundakkottukurissi at Shoranur. The function was attended by more than 100 family members, who had come from different parts. This time I had spent a little more time in this village and I was able to attend some important functions and visit many relatives and places. Visiting some of the temples was a great experience which brought me some nostalgic memories of my childhood and adolescent days.
Kunnathu kavu, Mundakkottukurissi
We used to visit this temple regularly as a part of our family rituals and light deepas for chuttuvilakku (lighting deepams around the temple). As kids, we used to wait eagerly for Uchar Vela, the pooram festival of the temple, to see the colorful chariots of our own village and the chariots coming from other nearby villages, for this event. We used to dress in our best attires, to compete to take the thalapoli, (arathi) to welcome them. This festival is celebrated on a particular day of the year, which usually falls between 15th January-15th February, as per the star.
In the earlier days, harvesting of the field, was performed by the womenfolk of the village, cutting the paddy yield and bringing them on their heads, which used to last for a week or more. Now this job is taken over by the machines and would be finished within an hour or so. The paths for walking through the fields were very narrow, not more than two feet in width. As kids, it was fun for us chatting while walking on the narrow paths without dancing and falling down to the fields, holding the school bag and an umbrella. Without expertise, one wouldn't have been able to walk on these paths, especially during rainy season.
Kayiliad Kavu, Kayiliyad
This was another temple where we used to visit only once or twice a year. The womenfolk in groups, used to go there with the required ingredients and vessel and cook payasam there, using firewood. I used to accompany my mother. The Payasam, (a rice pudding cooked with jaggery and added coconuts scrappings) was the nivedhyam to offer the deity, following a pooja there. After the pooja, the devotees can take the payasam home. This was usually performed once a year, during the month of the main festival of the temple.
The main festival was called Pooram. Then on the main Pooram festival day people from the same village and the nearby villages, come to see and enjoy it. During that festival night, Pava Koothu (Puppet show), a traditional art form of Kerala, was also played in the Koothu Madam in front of the deity, Bhagavathy. The performance starts at about 10 p.m. and goes on till day-break. Those days it used to be a popular entertainment for the public.
Other attractions include the colorful chariots and well decorated kalas (oxen) made out of hay and clothes, called kalavela (( check a sample here ) -
Also watch this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVwO-tPK_0M