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Fairs & Festivals: Rituals


(literally, revealer of light): The oracle is usually dressed in red and carries a sword and shield. Possessed by the spirit of the deity the oracle dances in a frenzy at the festivals in Bhagavathy temples.

is a ritual dance of devotees carrying pots on the head of offering to the goddess. Usually performed in Bhagavathy temples.

(holy bath) is a ritual connected with the closing of a festival. The idols of deities are carried in a procession to the river for the holy bath. The purified idols are then escorted back to the temple accompanied by a grand elephant pageant, Panchavadyam, nadaswaram and chendamelam.


Ritual offering of coins in earthen pots in Muslim shrines. The pots are smeared with sandal paste, the mouth covered with white cloth, with a garland around the neck and three incense sticks fixed into the cloth covering.

(literally, chuttu-surround, vilakku-lamp), the thousands of oil lamps fixed on the outer walls of the temple.

is the ceremonial procession of the idols of a temple. The procession usually comprises various art forms, traditional temple music and elephant pageants.


is the ceremonious flag hosting ceremony denoting the beginning of the festival or festive season in a temple, church or mosque.

(the holy hunt) is symbolic of Lord Vishnu hunting down the demon of evil in a forest. The procession is usually very colourful and attracts devotees in large crowds.


A ritual performed in many Hindu homes as part of a festival. The para (wooden/brass measure) full of paddy is arranged in front of the house along with the lighted lamp and other offerings like fruit, jaggery and so on the offering is collected by a procession of elephants carrying the thidampu (idol of the deity of the temple).

This ritual offering to goddess Bhagavathy, is a preparation of rice, jaggery, coconut and plantains cooked together, in the temple premises.

A ceremonial procession which denotes the conclusion of the morning and evening Pooja (devotional rites) in certain temples.

is a ceremonial procession, around the temple, of girls or women in traditional attire holding the thalam in their hands. The thalam (usually a silver or brass plate) contains rice, flowers and lighted lamp-all of which symbolise prosperity.

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