Friday, February 15, 2008

Kuthiyottam: The greatest offering to Bhadrakali

Radhakrishnan Asari
Kuthiyottam is considered as one of the greatest offerings to Bhadrakali. Boys below the age of 12 are dedicated to the goddess as the kuthiyottams. For a week they live in vratha or a strict disciplined life. The vratha for kuthiyottam starts from the third day of the Pongala festival. The vratha includes bathing five times a day and two namaskaras (kneeling before the goddess), one in the early morning at 3.30 AM and the other at 3.30 PM in the evening. The children live at the temple premises during the week, and on the seventh day they would put all the make up, ornaments and other embellishments like the kireedam (crown), floral garlands and kozhunnu(twigs of a plant with fascinating and divine aroma). They would accompany the procesion of the goddess. There were 650 kuthiyottams during last year's Attukal Pongala festival. This year it is likely to be around 750. Mr.Radhakrishnan Asari of the Kuzhippattu House looks after the kuthiyottam, which is a privilege he got traditionally from his ancestors.

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