'Murajapam' begins; devotees throng Padmanabha Swami temple

Sree Padmanabha Swami templeA view of Sree Padmanabha Swami temple where ceremonial chanting of vedic mantras is taking place. (Reuters)

Centuries-old ritual "Murajapam", chanting of mantras conducted once in every six years at the famed Sree Padmanabha Swami temple here, is attracting hundreds of devotees to the shrine.

The 56-day-long ritual, which began last week, involves the ceremonial chanting of Rigveda, Yajurveda and Samaveda by scholars from various parts of the country.

It will conclude with 'Lakshadeepam' (lighting of one lakh lamps) in the temple premises on January 14.

With the beginning of the ritual, initiated by the 18th century Travancore King Marthanda Varma, large number of devotees and vedic enthusiasts are thronging the temple to have a glimpse of the event and worship Lord Padmanabha, the principal deity, temple management sources said.

"The temple has been conducting the ritual once in every six years. Around two hundred vedic scholars, belonging to various mutts and ancient tantric families, have arrived at the shrine to participate in the 56-day-long ritual," temple administrative officer Jayasekharan Nair said.

Scholars from Kanchi Kamakoti Peedam and Azhvancheri Mutt are participating in the ceremony, he said.

'Murajapam' means chanting mantras in turn. As per the tradition, the vedic matras are chanted in seven turns and each such turn consists of eight days, he said.

The idol of the principal deity, Lord Padmanabha in reclining posture, will be adorned with traditional gold ornaments in the forms of 'kamalamala' and 'sarapolimala' during the 'murajapam' days, temple sources said.

"This year, a number of cultural events including music concerts and dance programmes are also being organised outside the temple as part of the festival," the officer added.

The security in and around the temple premises has been tightened in the backdrop of the rencent recovery of huge quantity of precious stones and jewellery, worth crores of rupees, in the underground vaults of the shrine.

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