Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Ochira Kali - A Spectacular and Exhilarating Event

One of the most thrilling,exhilarating and 



spectacular event of Kerala is the 'Ochira Kali' held annually  for two days;on the first and second of the Malayalam month Mithunam which falls during mid June.This year this enthralling traditional event will be held on 15th and 16th June 2016.
The venue of this event which attracts large number of spectators every year is at 'Ochira Town' which is 32 km from Kollam City.
Ochira is well known for the 'Ochira Parabrahma Temple' where Lord Shiva, the Supreme God is worshiped as 'Parabrahma Murthy' and 'Omkara Murthy' where actually no shrine or idols are existing which is the unique significance.Devotees in large numbers arrive there and worship the Lord in the vast temple compound.During the annual 'Panthrandu Vilakku Festival' large number of devotees come there and stays for twelve days meditating and praying Lord Shiva.

Ochira Kali takes place at 'Pada Nilam' (Battle field) close to the temple and it is being held there annually for the last 300 years.It is held to commemorate the fierce battle which  took place between Venad Kingdom when 'Veera Marthanda Varma' was the Maharajah and  the mighty Kayamkulam Kingdom which was  well famous for their double edged sword and leather shield.Some argue that it commemorates the battle took place between Kayamkulam and Ambalapuzha Kingdoms.
Large number of well trained participants take part in this mock battle after dividing themselves into two groups.The spectators can watch and enjoy the Kerala Style Martial Arts 'Kalari Payattu' in its true and active form in Ochira Kali.Even though it is a mock fight the participants dressed up as traditional warriors display their vigor and skill with full enthusiasm which delights the spectators that arrives from far and near every year for this colorful event.
Only male participants are allowed to take part and they are usually trained for more than 40 days and every participants take 'Vrat' for 41 days prior to this event.Warriors in the age group of 5 to 85 usually actively take part in Ochira Kali.
                                                           
There will be a colorful procession from the temple compound before starting this event.Initially the experts of 'Kalari Payattu'  and 'Kalari Gurukkal' display all the 18 'adavu' and then starts the mock battle.Accompanying drums provides backup for the participants and as per the traditional etiquette both the sides are allowed to advance and retreat displaying their skills at its best. During very earlier time  real weapons like original swords and shields were used for Ochira Kali  which caused injuries to many participants and it was banned during the Maharajah rule itself.Now a days mock swords,shields and long sticks are only used. 
After finishing the event prizes are distributed to the best participants.
A one month long exhibition and trade fair of agricultural products and household articles is added attraction of Ochira Kali.