The 10-day Painkuni festival of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, scheduled to commence on March 30 and deferred due to COVID-19 restrictions, began on Thursday.
Devotees will not be allowed to witness the age-old rituals inside the temple and participate in Palli Vetta and Arat.
Arat at Padmatheertham
The Palli Vetta will be held on September 18 night. In view of the restrictions due to the pandemic, the Arat for the ritual immersion of the idols will be from the temple to the Padmatheertham pond. The Travancore Devaswom Board is yet to communicate whether the idols of the three temples under it will reach the Padmatheertham for the Arat.
The festival is being held after five months following the advice of temple priest Nedumpilli Tharanallur N.P. Parameswaran Namboodiripad to go ahead with the festival with limited rituals. The forthcoming Alpashi festival is another reason for holding the deferred Painkuni festival.
Thantri Tharanallur Satheesan Namboodiripad hoisted the flag on Thursday morning. This was followed by the Mannuneerkoral ritual in the adjacent Mitranandapuram pond at West Fort.
Only few people are attending the rituals in connection with the festival that began earlier this week at the temple. The Garuda Vahanas to be used for the Sreebali would be symbolic in view of the physical-distancing norms, the temple officials said.
Entry of devotees have been restricted through online registration. Public will be allowed to enter the temple only between 9.30 a.m. and 12 noon and from 5.30 p.m. to 6 p.m. during the festival.