Mulleria: The jabri festival of Banthaje, Kasaragod, that happens once in twelve years will be held on May 2, 2017. As a prelude to this, one of the 'Kappadan's' was married to a young woman, Geetha, from Karnataka as part of the mystical ceremony.

The festival, shrouded in mystery and myth, is conducted in a deep cave in the Bathaje forest in the Bellur panchayat along the Karnataka border. The cave is also believed to be part of the Nettaninge Mahothabhara Mahalingeswara temple.

The Kappadans are selected traditionally from the  Mogeru community. Anandan and Babu have been selected for this year's festival and will soon be sent to an isolated spot on a hilltop for a 48 day fast.

Before this they are also made to undergo ceremonial death rites.

Eating the temple food which is handed over without any eye contact and sleeping on bare green palm leaves bare bodied they prepare themselves for the ceremony.

On May 2 they will emerge from their isolation to lead the large party of priests and believers to the cave in the Banthaje forest. Holding a flaming red torch and wearing fresh white clothes they clear the forest for the others to walk on.

Scaling a steep hill, they reach the cave and enter it first to set up the Pooja. The priests follow them inside after some time and the 3*6 cave mouth is closed to outsiders.

After a prolonged Pooja the team emerges with soil from the sacred cave. The ceremonies and sights inside the temple is still a tightly guarded secret.