What is Kalpathy chariot festival? History and Rituals of Kalpathi Retholsavam -The first heritage village in Kerala?

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What is Kalpathy chariot festival?

You will get all the answer through this wonderful travelogue

The Thulam month rained with thunder and lightning. The sky cleared. An atmosphere filled with Vedic mantras greets a beautiful morning. All the Agraharas are ready. Today is November 8th Kalpathi Ratholsavam flag hoisting day. In Agraharas, the villagers announce the arrival of Ratholsavam by writing Kolam in the yard, reciting Vedic mantras, drumming, accompanied by a Nadaswaram concert, and shouting with happiness. A 3-km drive from the fort, where the history of Palakkad city sleeps, leads to the beautiful heritage village of Kalpathi. Kalpathi is the sacred land of Tamil Brahmins, formed on the banks of the Nila river about 800 years ago.

History of the first heritage village in Kerala

Mayavaram i.e. today’s ‘Mayiladum Thure’ was a region of Tamil Nadu formed by cultural heritage on the banks of river Kaveri. The ancestors of the present generation of Kalpathi migrated from Mayavaram. At the request of the Palakkatussery king who was ruling Palakkattu then, the Brahmins who came from Mayavaram to perform the puja rituals in the temples here were gifted land on the banks of the Kalpathi river, surrounded by natural beauty, and built beautiful Agraharas there.

Haran (God) is enshrined along with the temple at the apex of each Agrahara. Agrahara residents can visit the temple from their own backyard. The Ratholsavata at Kalpathi is a replica of the Ratholsavata at Mayavaram in Tamil Nadu. On the same day, the deva chariots also travel in the Agrahara streets of Mayavaram. Musically and artistically, Kalpathi is a land that has given birth to many famous musicians and artists. Their skill in cooking is also different. There are many hotels and shops selling sweet delicacies in the village itself to get a taste of the variety of food.

How many Agraharams are there in Palakkad?

There are plenty of Agraharams in the  Palakkad district, and their living style and culture, and rituals are entirely different from the local people. There are plenty of Agraharams in the district but still Kalpathy Agraharams play major roles and take over the leadership

From the days associated with Navratri Puja, Kalpathi Agrahara streets and atmosphere acquires a special festive look. Kalpathi Ratholsavam is held by the Agraharas of Old Kalpathi, Kundambalam, Manthakkara and Chathapuram. This is one of the famous Ratholsavam(The chariot ) festivals in Kerala itself. Programs by famous and eminent musicians since the flag-off day of Ratholsavam. Dance programs and art programs are staged in various Agraharas. The District Tourism Promotion Council also organizes musical programs in connection with Ratholsam. Different types of kolams made of rice flour mixed with different colors are another amazing sight of Ratholsavam.

Since Ratholsavam days, all the Agrahara Veethi become a marketplace. A large number of market stalls selling a variety of goods can be seen on both sides of the Agrahara streets. Shops selling household items, earthenware, good quality knives, and Koduwal, fancy stores, textile shops, halwa, Pori shops, and small shops that prepare a variety of food and cold drinks in a way that attracts people are the main attractions of Ratholsava Bhoomi.
Another sight on these streets are traditional hand-watchers and Paksi Sastra watchers. All these major attractions along with Ratholsava make Ratholsava Bhoomi a Janolsava Bhoomi.

On the first day of Ratholsavam, the main temples of Kalpathi Agraharam such as Kundambala, Manthakara Ganapati Temple, Old Kalpathi Lakshmi Narayana Temple, Chathapuram Prasanna Mahaganapati Temple, along with Brahma Muhart, open the grounds and perform Vedic recitation in the presence of a group of Vedic scholars, and perform rituals and rituals in the temples as mentioned in the Vedas. The first chariot is mainly held in connection with Kundambalam (New Kalpathi) Agrahara. Beautiful carvings have been done on the chariots depicting mythological stories and characters. Devotees in beautifully decorated chariots offer offerings of young banana bunches, etc. The chief priest of the temple and the Sanghas place the Utsava Murthys in the chariot according to special rituals and reciting Vedic mantras.

There are mainly 3 chariots on the 1st day. Shiva Parvati is placed on the main chariot, Ganesha and Murukan on the other two chariots. On the first day, the chariot is pulled a short distance in the morning. On that evening, Ratha Therotam from Kundambalam to Manthakkara, and from there returning via Kundambalam and reaching Edthalachchan Padi on the first day of Ratha Priyanam is completed.

On the second day of the Chariot, the Chariot carrying Lord Ganesha of the Manthakara Agrahara begins its journey from Manthakara to Kundambalam with the mat of the Prayana Vithi. On the same day, in the evening, the chariot of Kundambalam is pulled from the Edathalachchan Padi to the Chathapuram Agraharam via Kalchatty street and from there it returns to reaches the old stone path Lakshmi Narayana temple.

On the last day, the chariot carrying Ganesha of Chathapuram and the chariot led by Lakshmi Narayan of Old Kalpathi reached the Prayana Veethi and the flow of people to Devaratha Bhoomi increased on the last day. In the morning the chariots of all the Agraharas are pulled a little further from their proper place.

The procession of the chariots for the Devaratha Sangam has begun. The chariot of Lakshami Narayana Temple starts from New Kalpathi and proceeds to Manthakkara via Old Kalpathi and then back to Kundambalam. At the same time, Mantakkara’s chariot turns around and returns to Mantakkara without participating in the Deva Ratha Sangam.

3 chariots of Kundambalam depart from Lakshami Narayana temple and reach Kundambalam. Chathapuram’s Chariot Chathapuram reaches Kundambalam via the new stone path and the Chariot Sangam of the Gods ends with the Pancharathas facing each other. Devotees rejoice in joy at the sight of Devi and God’s Chariot Sangam.