Lakhs to offer Bali on Karkataka Vavu today

via Pioneer News Service | Thiruvananthapuram published on July 23, 2006

Lakhs of Malayalees will offer Bali (Bali tharpanam) to their dear dead with rituals on the banks of rivers and on beaches, praying for the peace of the departed souls, on Monday, the first full moon day of the month of Karkataka of the Malayalam month.

Main holy places where thousands converge for offering Bali are Thiruvallam in Thiruvananthapuram, the Karthikappally beach in Alappuzha, the Sivaratri Manappuram on the banks of River Periyar in Aluva, Ernakulam, the banks of River Bharathappuzha of Thiruvilwamala, Thrissur, etc. Preparations for the ritual have already been complete.

In Thiruvananthapuram, Thiruvallam Parasurama Temple and Varkala Janardhana Swami Temple are the major places, where thousands of people will come to offer Bali to the souls of their beloved ones.

Thiruvallam Parasurama Temple’s importance with the ritual is related to the myth of Parasurama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

This 2000-year-old temple is the only temple dedicated to Lord Parasurama. It is situated on the banks of River Karamana. The ritual is related to Adi Sankaracharya in the mythical texts. Sankaracharya started off on a pilgrimage after the demise of his mother and he reached Ananthapuri (old name of Thiruvananthapuram).

There he expressed his desire towards Parasurama who appeared before him to do ‘Karma’ for his mother.

Parasurama advised him to invite Brahma, the creator and Lord Shiva, the destroyer, as the ritual needs at least three people. Sankaracharya invited Lord Shiva and Brahma and the Murthis accepted his invitation and appeared before Sankaracharya.

Brahma the creator took the position of the Guru, Shiva the Destroyer accepted the ‘dhana’ and Parasurama became the guest of honour. A special place was allotted to Lord Vishnu and even today as a symbol a separate leaf is set for Lord Vishnu.

Adi Sankara installed three idols for the Thrimurthis and thus the place was named as “Thiru Va Illam”, to become Thiruvallam later.

More than a thousand years old, the Janardhana Swamy Temple situated near Varkala beach is another important place of ancestor-worship. A 2000-year-old idol of Lord Vishnu is placed here and a dip in the holy waters of this beach is believed to purge the body and the soul of all the sins and hence the name ‘Papanasam’. Thousands of people converge here to offer Bali to the souls of ancestors.

The Travancore Devaswm Board (TDB) has completed all preparations for the smooth conduct of Bali Tharpanam at Thiruvallam Temple and all other major temples. Advance selling of tickets for the Tharpana was started on Sunday. To control the crowds, one more additional shed was also made outside the temple besides six sheds in the temple. As many as 2000 people can perform Tharpana at the same time.

Necessary steps have already been taken to assure service from various Government departments like Electricity, Police, Water Authority, Health, and Fire Force.

Necessary arrangements have also been made at various temples under the Travancore Deveswom Board like the ones in Sankhummukhm, Aruvikara, Thrivi-kramangalam, Kelamangalam to conduct the Bali Tharpana

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