Pathanamthitta: Hundreds of devotees thronged the famed Aranmula Parthasarathy temple to receive the “Oushadha Biksha Yatra”, a unique campaign organised by Nelliakkattu Sreedhareeyam Oushadheswari temple of Koothattukulam, on the second day of its tour of the shrines in the length and breadth of Kerala.
The Yatra marks revival of a unqiue tradition of collecting ingredients from people for making the restorative Ayurvedic preparation , traditionally consumed by Keralites during the month of Karkitakam of the Malayalam calendar.
On the second day, the Yatra set out from the Malayalappuzha Devi Temple early in the morning and reached the Parthasarathy temple at Aranmula by 10 am.
The devotees who had gathered in large numbers offered ‘ Thriphala’ and Ghee as ‘bhiksha’ ( alms), which will be used as ingredients to make the medicine to be distributed to people later.
Set off in a specially decorated vehicle fashioned as a chariot, carrying the lighted traditional lamp beside the statuette of Goddess Oushadheswari (the Goddess of wellness), the Yatra will tour through 114 temples of the state.
After passing through Thazhoor Bhagavathy temple, Sri Kodumthara Subrahmanya Swamy Temple, Elanthoor Bhagavathikunnu Devi Temple, Sakthikulangara Narasimha Swami temple, Chengannur Mahadeva Temple, Yakshikavu temple, Pandalam Valiya Koyikkal Dharmasastha Temple, Pandalam Mahadeva Temple and Puthenkavu Bhagavathy Vilasam Temple, the second day of the Yatra ended at Trichennamangalam Mahadevar Temple at Adoor.
The Yatra reached behind the schedule in most temples as the turn-out of devotees to pledge medicines far exceeded the expectation.
It has been a centuries old tradition in Kerala to have specially prepared medicines and follow a strict regimen of simple diet and oil bath in the month of Karkitakam (broadly July-August ), which will re-energise the body and mind.
The devotees will be served the medicine after poojas and rituals at the Oushadheswari temple from the first day month of Karkitakam.
The Yatra has been planned in two stretches. The first one will tour south Kerala down to Valiyasala in Thiruvananthapuram, covering 28 temples. The second leg of the Yatra will start from Thiruvananthapuram and go up to Neeleswaram in Kasargode district, touching 47 temples. The campaign then will return to Koothattukulam, visiting 39 temples on the way.
The Yatra, on its return to the Oushadheswari temple on July 15, will be accorded a rousing reception, followed by dedication of the 14-foot high Oushadheswari sculpture by Aswathi Tirunal Gowri Lakshmibhai Thampuratty of the Travancore royal family.