Thiruvananthapuram: With the commencement of "Karkitakam" of Malayalam calendar Thursday, Hindu homes in Kerala have begun to reverberate with the chant of verses from their most popular spiritual classic "Adhyatma Ramayanam Kilupattu" penned by medieval devotional poet Thunchath Ezhuthachan, also revered as `father of Malayalam literature."
A unique custom preserved zealously over the centuries in Kerala as elders in Hindu homes, both men and women, will recite lines from the Ramayana in the evenings after lighting traditional lamp `nilavilakku`, to cover the entire chapter and verses of the work in the next 30 days.
`Karkitakam`, the lean season ahead of `Chingam` that ushers in Malayalis` most colourful festival of `Onam.` is known as "Ramayana month" in Kerala.
Temples and cultural organisations across the state have also arranged for recital of Ramayana and special poojas during the season.
For health buffs, Karkitakam is the season for restorative spa treatment comprising oil bath and living on a special regimen of rice, herbs and medicines.
Major temples across the state have also made arrangements to receive pilgrims during the season.
The famed hillshrine of Sabarimala will remain open till July 21 to receive the devotees from within and outside the state, a Travancore Deveswom Board (TDB) release said.