Kottayam: Thousands of devotees today
greeted the decorated Garuda-faced temple boat, carrying
special provisions for Onam feast at the famous Parthasarathy
temple on the banks of river Pampa in Aranmula.
The boat, Thiruvonathoni, escorted by a group of
Palliyodams (snake boats) started its ceremonial ride from the
Maha Vishnu temple ghats at Kattoor near Cherukol, upstream of
The head priest of the temple handed over an oil lamp
from the sanctum sanctorum to Narayanan Bhattathiri, eldest
member of Mangattu Illom at Kumaranalloor here, who has the
customary right to ride on the boat.
According to legend the head of the Brahmin household
of Kattoor Madhom at Cherukol used to feed a Brahmin everyday
as part of offering food (annadanom) in the name of Lord
Krishna. On one Thiruvonam day no Brahmin turned up to accept
the offering, leaving the Bhattathiri in deep sorrow.
Bhattathiri prayed to Lord Krishna in tears. In the
next few minutes a Brahmin boy appeared there seeking food and
the pleased Bhattathiri served him with a sumptuous "Onasadya"
(feast). After that the Bhattathiri family had food.
The boy before returning, told the Bhattathiri to
take the feast to the temple at Aranmula from next year. The
Bhattathiri later realised that the boy was Lord Krishna and
decided to take the feast to the temple every Onam eve.
Though the Bhattathiri had migrated to Kumaranallore
the centuries old custom continues without fail.