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Kettukazhcha at Nooranad, Alappuzha

Nooranad is a small village in Alappuzha district. Located on the banks of river Achankovil, the Padanilam temple is one of the important centres of worship in Kerala.

The presiding deity here is Parabrahma, the integration of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. It is one of the rare temples where there is no proper idol and the priest does not wear a sacred thread (Poonool).
The annual Shiva Rathri festival held here is a grand affair. The Kettukazhcha or Kuthirakettu ritual is one of the hallmarks of the temple. The tall, colorful effigies of bulls (signifying Nandi, the bull vehicle of Lord Shiva) are pulled on wooden chariots (rathams).

The Kettukazhcha is performed as an offering by the devotees to the deity. Artisans of the various villages in the vicinity vie with each other for the most intricately decorated effigies. The biggest structure can be as big as 70- 80 feet tall. Scholars believe that the tradition of Kettukazhcha has its roots in Buddhism which was prevalent in the Kerala during the 3rd century.

Another feature of the festival of the temple is that the people from different villages bring big chariots or rathams. On these rathams are located idols of various Hindu gods and goddesses and effigies of mythological characters like Bhima, Panchali etc.