Thousands of women, regardless of their caste, religion or creed, are worshipped at the ritual at the Chakkulathu Kavu temple in Alappuzha district.

Worshipping real women not goddesses Kerala temples annual Naari Puja
news Culture Friday, December 22, 2017 - 17:11

In Kerala’s Alappuzha district, an ancient temple called Chakkulathu Kavu holds an exceptionally remarkable annual ritual of worshipping women in the month of December.

Popularly known as Naari Puja, the ritual is conducted every year on the first Friday of Dhanu maasam. The chief priest of the temple himself conducts the puja.

Thousands of women are worshipped during the ceremony regardless of the caste, religion or creed they belong to. Women are seated on a chair (peetom) for the ritual and the chief priest washes their feet. The women are later garlanded and offered flowers.

Every year the temple trustees decide on a guest of honour, who is later worshipped in the temple in the presence of thousands of devotees.

This year’s Naari Puja ceremony was inaugurated by eminent Indian scholar and environmental activist Vandana Shiva. Vandana, clad in shades of pink and orange, lighted the inaugural lamp, and was then seated on the special peetom and garlanded. The chief priest began the ritual by washing her feet.

Reacting to the rather unique experience that she had, Vandana told the media, “I have never seen or heard of a ritual or such a rich tradition in any temple. I am simply in awe of this unique tradition, it has touched my heart.”

Thousands of women are invited to take part in this function. Innumerable devotees stand as witness to this rare ritual that proclaims the glory of a woman.

The chief priest of the temple, Radhakrishnan Namboodiri, speaking to TNM said, “This ritual sends a message across the world that if a woman is demeaned it results in misfortune. We strongly believe in this. We are the only temple that practises a unique custom of this kind.”

He also proudly added, “Thousands of women are worshipped during the ceremony irrespective of the caste or religion they belong to. Where women are respected, Gods are pleased. This is a tradition practised for hundreds of years and we still continue with the same sanctity.”

Many celebrated dignitaries like singer KS Chitra and actor Manju Warrier had earlier inaugurated the ceremony. This was the first time that an activist was worshipped for the ceremony.

Also read: Two temples in Kerala where women worship and are worshipped

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