OushadhaBikshaYatra: Sreedhareeyam keeps up a unique tradition for society’s wellness

Kochi, June 24:  Keeping up a unique tradition, SreedhareeyamOushadheswari temple of  Koothattukulam in Kerala will be organising from June 26 to July 15  its OushadhaBikshaYatra,  a campaign to the length and breadth of the state to collect medicines and herbs for making the special monsoon season  Ayurvedic   preparation traditionally served to people in the month of Karkitakam of Malayalam calendar for mental and physical agility.

The campaign will tour through 114 temples up and down the state, gathering the medicinal ingredients and seeking divine blessings for a healthy society.

The Oushadheswari Temple is associated with Kerala’s leading Ayurvedic  retreat run by the NellikkattuMana ,  a Namboothiri Brahmin family reputed for preserving and practising the best traditions of the centuries old Indian wellness system.

It has been a centuries old tradition in  Kerala to take specially prepared medicines and follow a strict regimen of simple diets and oil baths  in the  month of Karkitakam (broadly July-August ), which will re-energise the body and mind.

The Yatra has been organised in two stretches. The first one will tour  south Kerala down to Valiyasala in Thiruvananthapuram,  covering 28 temples. The second leg of the Yatra will start from Thiruvananthapuram and tour up to Neeleswaram in Kasargode district, touching 47 temples. The campaign then will return from there to Koothattukulam, visiting 39 temples en route.

The Yatra,  on  its return  to the Oushadheswari temple on July 15, will be accorded a rousing reception, followed by dedication of the 14-foot high Oushadheswari sculpture by  AswathiTirunalGowriLakshmibhaiThampuratty of the Travancore royal family.

Medicines, herbs and other ingredients collected during the campaign from around the state would go into the making of the special ‘Karkitaka” medicine package, which will be distributed to the people

On the first day of Karkitakam month,  specialpoojas and rituals, including the “AshtadravyaGanapathiHomam’ ,offering 1008 coconuts, will be performed by priests led by SooryakaladiSooryanParameswaranNampoothiripad. This will be followed by the ‘GajaPooja’, lining up more than 20 elephants, and then the distribution of the medicinal preparation.

The preparation will be served to the devotees from 6 to 12 in the forenoon and 5 to 7 in the evening on all days, till the end of Karkitakam.

The temple trust has chosen film star Jayaram for this year’s OushadheswariPuraskaram, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to art and culture.

The award was announced by Shri. Hari N Namboothiri, Trustee, SreedhareeyamOushadheswari Temple,  Shri. P K Vyasan, Convenor, Festival Committee and Shri.Sreekumar N, Manager, SreedhareeyamOushadheswari. 

Jayaram,  an accomplished percussion artist, will lead the performance of ‘Pancharimelam’ at the temple on July 16. The temple has also organised ‘OushadhaPonkala” on August 6, a ritual seeking divine blessings for the wellness of the society as a whole.


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