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Chettikulangara Bharani

Chettikulangara bharani is the annual festival celebrated in the chettikulangar temple of Goddess Bhagabathy in kerala, in the city of Chettikulangara, which is as per the name of the goddess. This festival is marked by architecturally carved large horses and chariots and various other colourful spectacles, considered to be held with the most amazing visuals in the state of Kerala. It is probably second only to the festival of Thrissur Pooram. The festival celebrations are held in the Malayalam month of Kumbham, which usually falls in the months of February or March. Kettukazhcha or Kuthiyottam is the highlight of this particular visual grandeur. Bharani festival is a local celebration in honour and reverence to the goddess but makes for a strong case of communal harmony and unity among different families in the village. With atmosphere getting electrified and artistic impression at its best, Kettukazhcha or the grand chariots in Chettikulangara bharani have created a mesmerising and devotional ambience in the village and the state of kerala. Bharani festival in Chettikkulangara temple is the largest and of grandest proportion in comparison to others in the region of Central Travancore.


The festival of Chettikulangara temple of goddess Bhagabathy is held with lots of chariots, processions and visual paraphernalia. Most important feature of this ceremony is the chariot, which totals to 6 in number, these chariots being named as Kuthiras. They differ in sizes and proportion, but are extensively decorated and are of great heights. The largest ones have heights of about 70 to 75 feet. These have wheels with interconnected beams to keep the stability, above which there is a base of about 35 feet height and at the top part are structures which depict the stories from puranas with elephants, horses and various other animals. A huge wooden icon of Bhima and Hanuman are perhaps the largest of its kind made in the country, at least in Kerala. Construction of these chariot like structures starts from the time of Shivaratri, about 10-15 days prior to the time of Kumbha Bharani. Construction work is shared by 13 different klans of the Chettikulangara village, with children being taught a special dance and get-togethers being organised for the days till the Bharani.

On the day of processions, these are drawn beginning from early morning and continues till late in the evenings. Chariots are taken to the temple, with the children having learnt the special dance, being offered for sacrifice to the goddess. The celebration carry on for the entire night and the next morning, the chariots are taken back to the respective clans in the village. A large conglomeration of buyers and sellers is seen in a bazaar with lots of wheels known as Bharani Chanda in the village.

With the end of the festival, one of the greatest spectacles of India comes to an end. It is not the day of the Bharani where people participate in the procession and drawing of chariots. Instead, the preparations for the day starts much before with each day having some special function and dance program being offered before the goddess till the final day.

Getting There

Location of the village of Chettikulangara is in the Kayamkulam – Thiruvalla highway, on state highway, which is in the Mavellikara taluk in the Alappuzha district of kerala. The distance from Mavellikara is about 4 kms and from Kayamkulam it is about 7 kms. The nearest railway station is at Kayamkulam at about 5 kms distance while the Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport at a distance of about 85 kms from Alappuzha district.

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