Aayilliya Mahotsavam
The Aayilliya Mahotsavam at Sree Nagaraja Swami Temple at Vetticode falls on the day in the Malayalam month of Kanni, every year. The celebrations would start seven days prior to the Aayilliyam day. In these days, various special poojas, homas and kalasa poojas are performed so as to increase the deity’s power and the power to shower blessings on worshippers.

To please the deity, high sounding instruments are played by a group of experts. The nadabrahma that flows through the pipes of Nadaswara experts, the Kombu and Kuzhal (wind instruments) that are played to the accompaniment of percussion instruments viz. Maddallam and Chenda and the magical notes of the Edakka and the Thakil would transform the devotees to a different level of devotional experience. Soon after this the Ezhunnallathu (ceremonial procession) would begin. It starts from the temple and proceeds to the Meppallil Illam at about 3 p.m. and after the poojas there, returns to the temple.

By dusk, the famous Sarpabali begins and concludes by around 9.30 p.m. The temple will remain closed up to Brahma Muhoortha and after that the Shuddi Kriyas (purification rituals) will begin. This is followed by the abhisheka with tender coconut water from thousands of coconuts and pure milk. The festival will conclude with the daily poojas and Panchamritha Nivedhya.

Pooyam Thozhal festival
The highlight of the Pooyam Thozhal festival is the deeparadhana (worshipping with lighted lamps) conducted twice in a year on the day of Pooyam asterism in the Malayalam months of Kanni and Thulam. As per belief, one who witnesses this ceremony will certainly get mukthi (salvation). Final day of the festival is marked by Panchavadya (traditional orchestra); the Omkara sound that flows from the conch shell and the incessant chants of thousands of devotees rendering a divine atmosphere.

Significance of Ezhunnallthu
The Aayilliyam Ezhunnallathu or ceremonial procession of Sree Nagaraja Swami from the Sree Kovil (sanctum sanctorum) to Meppallil Illam is a majestic and captivating sight. Family members of the Meppallil Illam headed by the Karanavar (family head) with Vrithashuddi take the Sheeveli Bimba from the Sreekovil and after Pradikshina (circumambulation) approaches the Sreekovil of Nagayakshi Amma and pleads for permission to go out. Then the Sheeveli Bimba is placed firmly in front of the Jeevitha – (replica of deity) which would be beautifully decorated with flower garlands and gold. When the Jeevitha is taken out of the Balikkappura of Nagayakshi Amma thousands of devotees do the traditional Kurava (a special vocal ritual).

To the constant chiming of the bells, songs, hymns, musical accompaniments and the slow movement of serpents on tree branches, the Karanavar would gently walk with his assistants carrying the Jeevitha. The procession is marked by several types of decorated umbrellas, Alavattams, Venchamarams, Kuthuvilakku, Chamayavilakku, Thalappolies and Pulluvan Pattu. The Ezhunnallathu moves blessing the thousands witnessing it. It is a confirmed belief that no vishabhaya (fear of getting poisoned) will affect those who witness the Ezhunallathu for the coming one year.

The festival of Maha Sivarathri is associated with Lord Siva, one of the Trinities. It is believed that Lord Rudhra has a total influence over Lord Anantha and his followers. Hence at Vetticode, Sree Nagaraja Swami Temple on the occasion of Sivarathri  Angas, Navaka, Sree Bhoothabali and special poojas are performed every year. The prime importance of Sivarathri here, is to depict the close association with Lord Anantha Rudhra.

Balabhadra Jayanthi or Akshayatriteeya
The birthday of Balabhadra the partial incarnation of Lord Anantha is considered as Balabhadra Jayanthi. It falls on Rohini asterism, Tritheeya Thidhi on the full moon day in the Malayalam month of Medama. Special offerings like Navakam, Namaskaram and special poojas are held on this day.


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