Hundreds of devotees, majority of them women, took out a unique procession carrying plantains of ‘kaali’ variety to the Sree Vallabha Temple in Thiruvalla for the unique offering of ‘Pantheerayirom’ vazhipadu held as a prelude to the annual temple festival there on Sunday.

The devotees, singing Krishna bhajans, began the procession from the Mahadevar temple in the adjoining village of Thukalasserry.

A total of 12,001 plantains were offered to the presiding deity as part of the ritual.

The plantains offered to the deity were distributed as prasadom among the devotees present there after the Pantheeradipuja.

To the Vaishnaites, the centuries’ old Sree Vallabha Temple is one among the 108 tirupatis in the country.

The 10-day temple festival will begin with the Kodiyettu ceremony on Tuesday.

The Tantri (chief priest), Akkeeramon Kalidasan Bhattathirippad of Kuzhikkattu Illom, will perform the rituals in connection with the Kodiyettu and the ceremonial hoisting of the flag will be held in the auspicious muhurthom between 11.06 a.m. and 11.47 a.m. on Tuesday.

The auspicious Utsavabali ritual will be performed at the temple in the afternoon on all days from March 1 to March 8.

The ritualistic Pallivetta will be held on March 8 evening. The ceremonial Arattu and procession, marking the grand culmination of the festival will be held on March 9 afternoon.

Cricketer Sreesanth and playback singer Madhu Balakrishnan will inaugurate the cultural programmes in connection with the temple festival on Tuesday evening.

Kathakali performance will be held as an offering to the presiding deity after the Athazhapuja on all 10 days.