Karkidakam begins; Devotees throng temples for special pooja

published on July 17, 2013

The month of Karkidakam observed as Ramayana Masam has begun. The day witnessed an out pour of devotees in temples, where special poojas are being conducted. A heavy rush of devotees has also been reported from Triprayar Sree Rama temple, Guruvayur Sreekrishna temple and Ettumanoor Mahadeva temple. Karkidakam marks the beginning of the recital of ‘Ramayana’ in temples and homes.

The month Karkidakam is the last month in the Malayalam calendar. The reading of epic Ramayana begins on the first day of Karkidakam and the recital gets completed on the last day of the month. Hindu tradition believes that sage Valmiki completed the epic Ramayana during this month. Temple authorities all over the state, along with Hindu cultural forums have organised recitals, discourses and debates on Ramayana.

Many Hindu organisations and monasteries conduct Ramayana reciting days throughout the month. Thus the coming month will bring a sense of unity among Hindus and teach them the importance of ‘Dharma’ through Lord Rama’s life.

The Ramayana read in Kerala homes is the Adhyatma Ramaynam Kilippattu written by Thunchath Ezhuthachan. The entire family, right from grandparents, parents and children gather gather just before dusk, when the sacred lamp is lit. Family members sit before nilavilakku and recite the Ramayana. The reading of the epic is divided is such a way that the entire recital culminates on the last day of the month.

For families that are not able to finish the Ramayana recital in a month’s time, focus is laid on ‘Sundarakandam’, the fifth book.

 Usually, monsoon reaches its peak during the Karkadakam month. Thus, with fields flooded, and majority of the people in earlier times dependent on agriculture, economy used to come to a stand still. It is believed that the Ramayana recital helps to ward off nature’s fury. New ventures and auspicious functions are not held during this month.

Even with the passage of time, the tradition of Ramayana recital still remains vibrant in Hindu homes in Kerala.

The ‘Nalambala Darshanam’ is another important facet of the Ramayana Masam. Devotees throng the four temples in Kottayam dedicated to Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shathrughna, which together constitutes the ‘Nalambala Darshanam’. The traditional belief of visiting the temples of the four deities on a single day ushers in peace and solace to the devotees. The pilgrimage commences in the morning and gets over by afternoon.

The month also marks the season for rituals dedicated to ancestors and relatives who are no more. The Karkidaka Bali, is performed on the day of Karkidaka Vavu or Amavasya or no-moon day, with people visiting riverbanks to perform the ritual.

Karkidakam brings along with it the famed medicinal ‘Karkidaka Kanji,’ a special gruel cooked with medicinal herbs is made during this season. This has its benefits ten folds if freshly prepared. However, with the fast pace of life catching up with Malayali society, city markets are now flooded with ready made packets of the same.

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