Kollam, June 29: “Oushadha Biksha Yatra,” the campaign launched by Nelliakkattu Sreedhareeyam Oushadheswari temple of Koothattukulam to tour 114 temples across Kerala ahead of the restorative season of Karkitakam ,has entered down south , after receiving huge response from devotees since it set out earlier this week.
The Yatra marks the revival of a unique tradition of collecting ingredients from people for making the restorative Ayurvedic preparation , traditionally consumed by Keralites during the month of Karkitakam of the Malayalam calendar.
The road show, being taken out in a vehicle fashioned as a chariot displaying the replica of the sanctum sanctorum with an idol of Oushadhwari (Goddess of wellness) in it , is schedule to arrive at Palathara Sree Durga Bhagavathy Temple in Kollam at 5 pm on Saturday. Later in the evening, it will roll on to Valiya Koonambayikkulam Temple and Kadappakkada Sree Dharmasastha temple.
On Sunday morning, the campaign will resume its journey from Asramam Subrahmanya Temple and touch six more shrines in the western parts of Kollam district-- Sreekrishna Swamy Temple Asramam, Anandavalleswaram Mahadeva Temple, Sree Mulankadakam Devi Temple, Sree Bhagavathy Temple Vallikkeezhu, Devi Temple kottankulangara and Sree Subramanyaswamy Temple Panmana.
It had covered several shrines en route since it was flagged off on June 27 at the Nellikkattu Oushadheswari temple at Koothattukulam.
Devotees had turned up in large numbers at the temples it had touched ,offering medicines and herbs as ‘Biksha’ (alms), which will go into the making of the special medicinal preparation to be served to people later.
It has been a centuries old tradition in Kerala to have specially prepared medicines and follow a strict regimen of simple diet and oil bath in the month of Karkitakam (broadly July-August ), which will re-energise the body and mind.
This is for the first time such an extensive campaign is being undertaken to collect medicines and herbs from various temples to prepare the special monsoon season Ayurvedic preparation, which will be served to the people for mental and physical health in the month of Karkitakam of Malayalam calendar.
After touring up and down the state, the Yatra will be flagged in on July 15 and will be accorded a rousing reception, followed by dedication of the 14-foot high Oushadheswari sculpture by Aswathi Tirunal Gowri Lakshmibhai Thampuratty of the Travancore royal family.
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 go up to Neeleswaram in Kasargode district, touching 47 temples. The campaign then will return to Koothattukulam, visiting 39 temples on the way.
The temple has also planned the ‘Oushadha Ponkala” on August 6, a ritual seeking divine blessings for the wellness of the society as a whole.
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