Date: 27 September 2019.
Venue: Palli Bhagavathi Temple, Neelamperoor, Alleppey.
The real charm of God’s Own Country lies not only in its mesmerizing natural beauty but also in the myriads of festivals it celebrates that is unique in its own way. The vibrant and bountiful culture and traditions of the picturesque state of Kerala are well-portrayed to the world through its spectacular and vivacious festivals. Dynamic colours, rhythmic beat of drums and percussion instruments, traditional art forms, caparisoned elephants, centuries-old customs and traditional rituals, together make the festivals of Kerala a show of pageantry.
Kerala has some of the most unique festivals as its own that blends legends, art, rituals and performance in an outlandish and mystical way. One such distinctive festival of Kerala is the Neelamperoor Padayani which will be held on 27th September 2019, at the Palli Bhagavathi Temple in Neelamperoor, Kuttanad taluk, Alleppey district of Kerala.
Be a part of Neelamperoor Padayani in Alleppey and get drenched in the unique culture and traditions of Kerala with our customized culture tour packages.
About Neelamperoor Padayani:
Neelamperoor Padayani is celebrated as the annual festival of Neelamperoor Palli Bhagavati Temple which is said to be one of the oldest temples in Kerala, built between AD 250 and 300. Neelamperoor Palli Bhagavati Temple is situated in the Kuttanad taluk of Alleppey district and it celebrates the 15-days long annual Neelamperoor Padayani with a riot of colours, devotion, fervor and festivity. The celebrations of Neelamperoor Padayani, dedicated to Goddess Vanadurga begin right after the Thiruvonam asterism and continue till the Pooram asterism in the Malayalam month of Chingam, which marks the birthday of Bhagavathy.
Usually, Neelamperoor Padayani falls between the months of September and October. The spectacular procession displaying various effigies of human and non-human figures instead of performing dances using masks and headgear is the main specialty of Neelamperoor Padayani which makes it the rarest Padayani displays in all of Kerala. One can witness colourful effigies of small and huge swans, Bhima, Ravana, Yakshi and Elephant at this festival which is given as offerings to the goddess by the devotees.
Due to its close associations with the surrounding ecosystem where it is performed, Neelamperoor Padayani is very apt to be called the “Festival of Nature“. Moreover, the effigies used in this festival are made from eco-friendly and natural materials like the stems of coconut leaves and arecanut tree, dried leaves, the stem sheath of banana plantain, lotus leaves and Ixora (chethi) flowers.
Neelamperoor Padayani is a 15-day festival and on all these days there will be processions that are conducted in the late-night accompanied by percussion music of Kerala. The rituals of Padayani Festival begins with the symbolic consent of the Cheraman Perumal. For this, the devotees march towards ‘Perumal Vadam’, a temple-like structure situated at the western side of the Palli Bhagavathy Temple which is dedicated to Cheraman Perumal with lit torches of coconut leaves. And this ritual continues for four days and is known as “Choottuveyppu”(lighting of the fire). For the next four days, a special ritual called “Kudapadayani” that illustrates the shape of umbrellas that are made of stems of coconut leaves, with flowers takes place.
During the next four days, effigies made out of green leaves of the jackfruit trees are offered to the Goddess. The effigies made of trimmed coconut stems or fibrous plantains stem offers a visual treat on the 12th day of Neelamperoor Padayani. The last two days of the festival is the most significant one, celebrated as Pooram Padayani during which huge effigies of Swans, about 45 feet high, made up of plantain stems and slender leaves of coconut leaves and very well decorated with flowers are offered to appease the deity. These effigies are accompanied by traditional drums and cymbals. Kudampooja kali, Thotakali, Velakali, Plavila Nirthu, Kuda Nirthu, are the folk rituals performed during Neelamperoor Padayani.
Story Behind Neelamperoor Padayani:
The legend behind Neelamperoor Padayani is associated with Cheraman Perumal, a Chera dynasty ruler. During his rule in Kerala, he favored Buddhism and for this, he was accused by Hindus who refused to cooperate with him. As the issue got worse, Perumal decided to conduct a debate on Hinduism and Buddhism, but on one condition that the Hindus had to accept Buddhism as their religion if the Buddhists won the debate, or else the King will step down from the throne. Wherefore, both Hindu scholars and Buddhist scholars participated in the debate. Six eminent scholars from South India exchanged their views on behalf of Hindu religion and won the discussion.
As the Cheraman Perumal promised, he stepped down from his throne and left the palace to become a Buddhist monk. Thus, Perumal came to Neelamperoor and settled there. Later he built a Buddha Vihara at Neelamperoor. Due to the decline of Buddhism in Kerala, the Vihara built by Perumal in Neelamperoor was replaced by a new Devi Temple. But still, Cheraman Perumal is worshipped and honored at the ‘Perumal Vadam’, a temple-like structure built on the right side of the front wall of the Neelamperoor Palli Bhagavathy Temple. And the Neelamperoor Padayani is believed to have introduced and patronized by Cheraman Perumal which represents a fusion of both Hindu and Buddhist cultures. Thus, Neelamperoor Padayani is celebrated as a commemoration of Perumal’s visit and his initiation of the Padayani festival in Neelamperoor.
What do you Experience?
Neelamperoor Padayani is one of the most unique festivals you will ever experience in Kerala. It spreads a special vibe of religious festivity and enthusiasm and offers a spectacular display of colours and music.
The huge effigies of human and non-human figures that are made using natural materials like stems of coconut leaves, plantain stems, leaves and flowers are so surprising.
Be a part of Neelamperoor Padayani and get drenched in the unique culture and traditions of Kerala. On this special occasion, plan a tour to Kerala and witness this festival on your trip via Alleppey with our customized tour packages for you to indulge in the unique festivals of God’s Own Country.
Nearest Airport: Cochin International Airport, about 101 Km.
Nearest Railway Station: Changanassery Railway Station, about 10 Km.
Nearest Bus Station: Changanassery Bus Station, about 10.2 Km.
For more details, visit: www.keralatourism.holiday