Devotees offer ‘Oushadha Pongala’ at Sreedhareeyam Temple

Hundreds of devotees poured in from far and wide to offer  Oushadha Pongala ‘ at the Nelliakkattu Sreedhareeyam Oushadheswari temple on Monday, a ritual  unique to the shrine dedicated to the Goddess of Wellness  at Koothattulam in Ernakulam district.

This is the only temple in the state where a specially prepared Ayurvedic medicine is served as ‘ Prasadam’ to devotees as part of a unique tradition of observing the month of Karkitkam of  the Malayalam calendar as the season to re-energise  body and mind .

By around 9 in the morning, devotees thronged the shrine, and, in no time the Pongala hearths were lined up in the temple premises.

The rituals got initiated when the Melshanthi  Chief Priest N S Naraynan Namboothiri lit the hearth set  by Nelliakkattu Sreedevi Antharjanam, the  matriarch of the Nelliakkat family near the flag mast of the shrine . The fire then passed on from one hearth to another to prepare the ‘pongala nivedyam.’

The  priests then added the ‘Special Medicine’ to each small pot in which the ‘ Pongala Nivedyam’ was  prepared. After offering the prasadam to the presiding Goddess, it was then distributed to the devotees.

The ingredients to prepare the Pongala were given from the temple. Women from within  and outside Kerala had arrived at the temple to offer Pongala.

The temple had earlier organized a unique road-show  called “oushadha biksha yatra’ across the state to collect the ingredients for making the special restorative medicine. The three-week-long campaign had touched over 100 temples, where devotees  turned up in large numbers to offer the essential ingredients for the special medicine in the form of  ‘biksha’ (alms).

Temple Trustee Hari N Namboothiri said “offering Oushadha Pongala and adding ‘ special medicine’ to the Nivedyam is a unique ritual that can be attributed only to Nelliakkattu Bhagavathi temple.”

Ousadha Seva pilgrimage (the season for taking special medicine) will conclude on August 16

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