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'Alpashi' festival begins with ritualistic flag hoisting ceremony in Kerala temple


October 27, 2011 - Mumbai

The 10-day-long 'Alpashi', an annual festival of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, began on Tuesday with ritualistic flag hoisting in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

The annual festival heralded with the ceremonial flag-hosting ritual, which was performed in the presence of Periyanambi Maruthampad Narayanan Padmanabhan by the Thantri Tharananallor Parameswaran Namboodiripad.

People from all across the world visited the temple to take part in this majestic procession.

"This is very old and a marvellous temple, we really felt great after visiting here," said Jaini, a devotee from Gujarat.

Later a grand procession of Lord Sree Padmanabha Swamy was taken out in which he was placed on 'swarna simhasanam', a golden throne.

Moreover idols of Lord Narasimha and Lord Sreekrishna were also part of the procession but they were placed on the silver thrones.

While interacting with mediapersons, Nithin Patel, another devotee who hails from Gujarat, said this was a spectacular scene, which he has never witnessed before.

"Experience which I got inside the temple it is very rarely seen. It is just like, we feel we came in heaven," said Patel.

The ten-day long festival will conclude on November 3 with a grand procession "Aarattu" which would be led by the head of the royal family, Uthradom Thirunal Marthanada Varma.

Decorated elephants and thousands of devottees would accompany the procession, which would start from the temple premises and end up near Shanghumugham beach.

The royal family still controls the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, unlike other temples in Kerala, which are managed by the government. The government appoints priests and scrutinises budgets.

The vaults of this temple were searched after a local lawyer petitioned a court to order the government to take over the temple, as it did not have adequate security to protect its wealth.

The Supreme court had then set up a committee to open the long-sealed vaults and take stock of the treasure.

Later treasure trove of gold, diamonds and precious stones hidden for centuries were discovered from the underground vaults of the temple and the state government scrambled armed police to guard the shrine.

ANI

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