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Chettikulangara Bharani Festival

The Bharani Festival celebrated in the Malayalam month of Kumbham (February/March) is generally called as Kumbha Bharani, Kumbha Mela or Bharani Utsavam and is celebrated in most of the Bhagavathy temples in Kerala state. Among them, the one-day annual Bharani festival at the Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple in Alappuzha is quite popular. The deity in this temple is 'Bhadrakali' and is supposed to possess miraculous powers. The important festivities associated with this utsavam is 'Kuthiyottam' and 'Kettu-Kazhcha'. Kuthiyottam is a ritual dance performed by youths with the accompaniment of folk music and other musical instruments and is conducted in several houses of Chettikulangara and neighbouring areas and starts a week before Bharani day. The 'Kettukazhcha' festival on the Bharani day at this temple draws large crowds of devotees. It is a spectacular procession of tall decorated effigies on chariots, brightly decorated effigies of horses and bullocks in wheeled platforms and cultural performances of ritual and folk art forms like Padayani, Kolkali and Ammankudam and Kuthiyottam which make the festival colourful. Kathakali performance in the night marks the conclusion of the cultural performances. The other major festivals in the temple include Parayeduppu Ulsavam, Ehireppu Ulsavam, which falls on the tenth day following the Bharani festival and lasts for 13 days, and Aswathy Ulsavam.

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