India | Kerala


The Holy Hunt

Pallivetta, which literally means the Royal Hunt, is an important ritual in many temple festivals in Kerala. This is symbolic of the deity exterminating the demons of evil.

On this occasion, the idol is normally taken out of the inner shrine in a colorful procession and the hunt is dramatically or symbolically represented. In the former case, people often dress up as animals and are chased and beaten down by the deity on an elephant. At the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple at Thiruvananthapuram, for instance, the hunt is symbolically performed when the head of the royal family shoots at a tender coconut with a bow and arrow.

The Pallivetta is usually followed by the Aarattu (Holy Bath) on the following day.

Updated on 9th January, 2016

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