Kerala is the land of high festivities and cheer. Many festivals are celebrated in this beautiful land. One of the famous temple festivals, Thirunakkara arattu is celebrated at Thirunakkara Mahaeva Temple located in the heart of Kottayam district of Kerala. Mahadeva is the presiding deity of the temple. The passionate celebration continues for ten days and concludes with the bathing ceremony of lord Mahadeva called 'ARATTU'.
A string of nine majestically ornamented and decorated elephants accompany the idol of the lord Mahadeva for bathing in the noon. They are accompanied by drummers and dancing flock of people. The mystic traditional dance of Kerala, Kathakali forms an important part of the celebrations. The beautifully and colourfully dressed and masked Kathakali dancers perform all night long on third and fourth night. Other dances like Mayilattom (peacock dance), Velakali and motif processions are also showcased in the temple compound.
The fêted Mahadeva Temple is situated on the Thirunakkara Hill of the Kottayam town and is one of the important Shiva temples famous for its historical importance, antiquity, sanctity and also for its magnificent traditional architecture.
The grand festival "Arattu Utsavam" starts from the 1st day of Meenam month of Malayalam calendar. That falls in March-April of Gregorian calendar. Thousands of people, irrespective of caste or creed attend this festival. Various industrial and agricultural products are displayed and traded in the shops of the fair held in connection with the Utsavam. The cultural programmes and variety entertainments staged during the festive days are the highlights of the festival.