Thiruvananthapuram: Karkidakam has begun. Reading of Ramayana has started at temples, and houses. At dusk on this sacred month, chants of the scripture would be resonated across the state.
Various rituals and programmes have been organised at temples across the state to commemorate the tradition of the month. Karkidaka month is also known as month of poverty (panja masam).
This year, the Malayalam month ‘Karkidakam’ began on July 17. People believe that reading Ramayanam during this month will fetch blessing and prosperity to them. This was a way of living chose by the earlier generations under the providence of god during the tough month in monsoon.
According to beliefs, once the reading of Ramayana begins on Karkidaka 1, it shouldn’t be disrupted till the end of month. It is not mandatory that the same person should read in the whole month. But the chain of reading shouldn’t be broken.
Medicinal gruel (marunnu kanji) and visit of four temples (nalambala darshanam) are the two traditions that were strictly practised in this month. Eating medicinal gruel helps to clean the body and gain good health. This month is apt for undergoing ayurvedic treatments.
Preparation of gruel are different across the state. Those who do hard labour consume gruel prepared with ‘idinjilin bark’ and ‘perukin roots’ etc. In the Malabar region, people add medicinal plants to the gruel.
Nalambala Darshanam, the annual pilgrimage of visiting four temples having Sree Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana and Shathrugna as main deities on the first day of the Malayalam month of Karkidakam, is considered auspicious by the devotees.
It is believed that the darshan would bring them prosperity and a penance of sins.
The Nalambala Darshanam covers Thriprayar Sree Rama Temple, Irinjalakuda Koodalmanikyam temple, Moozhikkulam Lakshmana Perumal temple, and Payammal Shathrugna Swamy Temple.
The visit could be begin with Thriprayar Sree Rama Temple. The temple sanctorum will be opened at 3 am and devotees will be allowed to enter the temple.
Irinjalakuda Koodalmanikyam Bharata temple, which is situated 24 km away from Thriprayar is the next destination for the pilgrims. Irinjalakuda is located on the eastern side of Moonupeedika and Edamuttam. Devotees can also reach Irinjalakuda through Pazhu Road. The Koodalmanikyam temple will remain open from 3 am to 11.30 am.
Moozhikulam Lakshmana Perumal temple, situated 31 km away from Irinjalakuda, is the third destination. Pilgrims can reach the temple via Mala- Annamanda road and Palakkadavu bridge. Moozhikulam temple is located on the left hand side of the bridge. Darshan will be open from 4 am to 12 pm. It will be extended to 2.00 pm during rush days. Devotees can visit the temple from 4 pm to 9 pm.
Pilgrims can reach Payammal Shathrugna Swamy Temple from Moozhikkulam. The temple is 2 km away from Arippalam along the Irinjalakuda- Kodungalur road. It is the fourth and final temple in Nalambalam pilgrimage. Darshan will be open from 5.30 am to 2 pm and 4.30 pm to 9.00 pm. Sathrusamhara Pushpanjali, Sudarshana Pushpanjali and Sudarsana Chakram are the main offerings in the temple.