Annual Navratri festival got off to a colorful start with the arrival of the Deity of Devi Saraswati near the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple on September 21, 2017. The subsequent day, Thursday,
September 22, 2017, marked the beginning of the said festival in Thiruvananthapuram. During the 9-day festival, the worshippers can offer their prayers to Goddess Saraswati installed at the specially set up Navratri Mandapam in the mornings and evenings. In this period, there will be musical offerings to the presiding deity by reputed artists from across the country. The deity traveled all the way from Padmanabhapuram Palace in neighboring Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. In this blog post, we will be talking about this annual ritual for the benefit of people from other parts of the world, including those from outside Kerala.
The main deity Goddess Saraswati was brought to Thiruvananthapuram city from Padmanabhapuram Palace in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu in the form of a procession. The other deities that accompanied the main deity were Kundani Manka and Kumara Swamy. The procession carrying the deities traveled to the city in two days with two halts. One halt was at famous Neyyattinkara temple for one night. That was on Tuesday, September 20, 2017. On September 21, 2017, the procession reached the Navratri Mandapam near Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple receiving huge public reception.
En route, the procession was received at Nemom by Thiruvananthapuram Mayor V.K. Prasanth and Deputy Mayor Rakhi Kumar. There was a guard of honor function organized for the incoming deity at Kacheri junction, near Nemom junction. The procession had halted for a while at Nemom village office following the age-old tradition. Furthermore, the procession was given welcome by Suresh Gopi MP and O. Rajagopal MLA at famous Karamana Satyavageeswara temple at Karamana and V.S. Sivakumar MLA and Travancore Devaswom Board Commissioner Ramaraja Prema Prasad at Chalai in different functions.
Poojas and Rituals
During the 9-day festival, the people can offer their prayers to Goddess Saraswati in the morning and evenings. As part of the festival, there will be “Pooja Vaipu” ritual on September 29, 2017, and “Pooja Edipu” ritual on September 30, 2017.On the concluding day, the children are initiated into the world of letters and music by well-known and accomplished persons from various fields of life. This ritual is called “Ezhuthinu Iruthu”. The parents who wish to initiate their children into the world of letters before the presiding deity can books their slots in advance for a fee of Rs. 50. The booking has started from September 21, 2017.
The worshippers need to follow the dress code to visit the Navratri Mandapam. Women devotees should come for darshan with saree and blouse. On the other hand, men need to come wearing white dothi and towel or mundu. The timings are as given below.
5:15 AM to 7:30 AM and 8:30 AM to 11:00 AM
3:00 PM to 5:00 PM and 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM
During the 9-day festival, reputed and performing artists from across the country, especially from Southern India, come to the city to give their musical offerings to the presiding deity at Navratri Mandapam. As before, there is a long list of reputed artists who have come forward to perform before the Goddess Sarawati, seeking her blessings. The list is given below.
1. Vocal by Amrutha Venkatesh on September 22, 2017
2. Vocal by Aswathi Thirunal Rama Varma and Party on September 23, 2017
3. Vocal by Sanjay Subrahmanyan on September 24, 2017
4. Violin Solo by S. Varadarajan and Mridangam by T.V. Gopalakrishnan on September 25, 2017
5. Vocal by Professor Venkataramanan on September 26, 2017
6. Vocal by Professor B. Parassala Ponnammal and party on September 27, 2017
7. Vocal by Professor Thamarakkad T. N. Govindan Namboothiri on September 28, 2017
8. Vocal by Vishnudev Namboothiri on September 29, 2017