Fascinating Thirunakkara Arattu festival Mahadev temple, Kerala

 Thirunakkara Arattu at  Mahadeva Temple in Kottayam The Indian Express
Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple Kumarakom 
Tour My India
Above image: Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple, Kottayam, which is roughly 500 years old, was built by the local ruler of Thekkumkoor  and the surrounding places. The presiding deity is Lord Shiva and his consort is Goddess Parvati. The temple has amazing wooden structure and carvings in wood. Inside the temple interior are found beautiful mural and  paintings taking themes from  mythological stories. On the temple premises there is a nicely built  Koothambalam -  temple theater for performing
 arts native to Kerala. It serves as a center stage for any dance 
and cultural performances Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, etc. On the walls ofKoothambalam,  one can see paintings and murals depicting Hindu mythological stories. .................

Thirunakkara Arattu is a popular 10-day  temple festival of  Thirunakkara Mahadev Temple in Kottayam district of Kerala, It normally comes in the month of March.April ( Meenam month of the Malayalam calendar).  The main attraction of this festival is taking the ''Utchavar'' (procession idol) on the back of a decorated elephant for a ceremonial bath  to  the near-by river Puzha). This is accompanied by colorful and grand procession consisting of decorated and caparisoned elephants (usually 9 in number including the one that carries the idol), an array of drummers and dancers.  The festival activities continue into the night on the 3rd
Kathakali artists,Thirunakkara Arattu, Mahadeva Temple. Travelsite India
 Thirunakkara Arattu at Mahadeva Temple  easeyourtravel.wordpress.com
and 4th day of the  festival and traditional Kathakali dance groups from various places perform the whole night and showcase their talents in this interesting  traditional dance native to Kerala. Their dance themes  include  episodes from India's great epics the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Other celebrations also include folk arts like the Mayilattom (peacock dance), Mohiniattam and Velakalietc that  are performed on the temple premises. As only on the last day the Arattu  takes place, thousands of devotees and onlookers throng this place and the venue of this event is over-crowded. The Thirunakkara Hill of the Kottayam town is the venue of the celebration. It is an important temple festival of Kerala.
Thirunakkara Arattu, Mahadeva Temple.keralaculture.org/
In all major Hindu temples of Tamil Nadu and elsewhere in south India, the temple tradition has been that the  procession idol, during festival times, will be taken around the four streets adjacent to the temples called Mada or Car (Ratha) streets.  The idol is kept on a ratha or a palanquin accompanied by percussion players and devotees, etc. Once the ''Swami Oorvalam''  (nearest meaning: going round the town) is over, the idol will be taken reverentially back into the temple sanctum or in the mandaba (hall). Never have I heard or seen the procession idol -Utchavar being taken to the nearby water body for a ceremonial bath in Tamil Nadu. Hence, this ''Arattu'' temple ritual is part of unique Kerala culture. Yet another interesting feature native to Kerala is the participation of a large number of decorated elephants as part of daily puja ritual or major temple festivals.