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Kodungalloor Bharani - Festival of Komarams, Thrissur

Kodungalloor, situated in Thrissur district, State of Kerala in India is well known for the annual Bharani festival held at the temple here dedicated to Goddess Bhagavathy. The Bharani festival, which falls in the Malayalam month of Meenam (March/ April) is the most important event of the temple. The festival commemorates the victory of the goddess over the demon Darika.

A large congregation of velichappadus (meaning ‘revealers of light’ in Malayalam) arrives in the temple as part of the festival. Also known as oracles, the velichappadus wear red costume and smear their body with turmeric powder. They wear huge waist belts studded with bells and hold aloft sacred swords of different sizes and shapes.

The oracles perform a frenzied dance, repeatedly slashing their foreheads with curved swords. As a supreme symbol of their devotion they make a sacrificial offering of their own blood to the deity. The oracles and devotees go around the temple chanting lewd songs in praise of the goddess.