Gosripuram Ratholsavam is arranged by Cochin Thirumala Devaswom, the biggest and most important socio-religious institution of gowda
of Kerala, in connection with the annual festival of Cochin Thirumala Devaswom Temple
. The temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu
is located in the heart of Mattancherry, Ernakulam District
There are two eight-day festivals held in the temple - Ratholsavam and Maholsavam. The Maholsavam is conducted during March-April and the Ratholsavam in the month of November-December. This eight day long festival is also known as Arattu.
The festivities commence with the Dwajarohanam (flag hoisting ceremony). The rituals connected with the Arattu start 11 days before the day of Dwajarohanam, which is known as Utsavarambham. The main deity (Sthapana Murti ) being an immovable one, the other idol of the lord along with his consorts Sri Devi and Bhu Devi is taken out for all functions and festivities. For this, the divine power of the presiding deity is vested in the
Utsava Murti on this evening. During this time, the Vidvat-Vaidikas or the scholars and priests, the Adhikaris or the executive committee members and the Mahajanam, the community members in general, assemble in front of the lord for prayers. As it is a night-long festival, the Sayana Utsavam is performed and the lord is prayed to sleep and get ready for the festivities staring the next day.
On the seventh day, the lord is taken round the temple in a special chariot known as Pushpaka Vimanam. The procession travels to the
Udyaneswar Shiva Temple for Mrigaya or hunting trip. After halting at the house of the descendant of Sri Anantha Shenoy, a chieftain of the community who led the Konkanis to Kochi from Goa 400 years ago, the deity is brought back to the temple for daily rituals. On the final day (8th day), the lord is given abhishek with the ten Kalasas (silver pots) kept at the Yajna Mandapam. Turmeric powder mixed with raw rice, and oil mixed with flowers, known as Champaka Thailam, is also used for this ritual. Followed by it is the procession of the lord in the golden palanquin to the temple tank known as Kulamandapam.
In the evening,a special aarti is offered before the lord with the 5 tiered gold lamp. The lighting of heaps of camphor in front of the lord is the rarest of the moments for all. After completing all the rituals, the lord is escorted back to the sanctum sanctorum for transferring the divine power known as Sakthi invoked in the Utsava Murti, to the main deity. The festivities conclude by the untying of the Kankanam from the arm of the Lord as well as the priests and the temple closes at about six early in the morning.