Women throng Kerala's Chottanikkara Bhagavathy temple for Makam Thozhal festival

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Kochi, March 2 (ANI): "Makam Thozhal"at the Chottanikkara Bhagavathy temple in Kerala's Kochi city is a unique festival in which only women devotees are allowed to enter through the main entrance of the temple to offer prayers.

The rituals associated with this annual festival commenced on Sunday night (February 28) with the flag hoisting by temple priest Thantri Puliyanoor Murali Narayanan Namboothiripad.

The 10-day festival is mainly meant for receiving the 'para' or, the holy reception given by the devotees for women.

Chants of "Amme Narayana" reverberated as the main priest opened the sanctum sanctorum at 2 p.m. The temple remained open till 8.30 p.m.

Earlier on Monday morning, the main deity of the temple and the deity of Sastha were taken for aaratu or, the holy dip at the Onakuttychira and were later taken for the Makam procession.

The Cochin Devaswom Board had made elaborate arrangements for devotees to have their visit.

"The auspicious Makam day, over 100,000 people are coming for Darshan (holy glimpse of the deity) in this temple. It is believed that on this day Bhagwati (goddess) gave an audience to Swami Vellu Gam. Having darshan on this day is very auspicious for prosperity and a long married life." said M S Sajay, executive officer of Cochin Devaswom Board.

Strong barricades regulated entry to the temple premises and only women devotees were allowed to enter the temple premises through the main western gate. By Juhan Samuel (ANI)

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