The season of the unique ritualistic feast Vallasadya, offered to the presiding deity of Sree Parthasarathy Temple on the banks of the Pampa at Aranmula, had a ceremonial start here on Saturday.

Aranmula was in festive mood from the morning as devotees in large numbers reached the temple to offer prayers and partake off the unique feast.

The crew of seven snakeboats (palliyodam) reached the temple ghats in their boats by 11.30 a.m.

Rousing reception

The Palliyoda Seva Sanghom (PSS), apex body of the palliyoda karayogams that own the snakeboats, accorded a rousing reception to the crew there.

The oarsmen were received by Prayar Gopalakrishnan, Travancore Devaswom Board president, R.Girija, District Collector, George Mammen Kondoor, district panchayat vice president, K.G. Sasidharan Pillai, PSS president, and other PSS office-bearers.

As per the tradition, the crew were presented with betel leaves, areca nut, and tobacco and escorted to the temple premises.

The oarsmen circumambulated the temple singing Vanchippattu, verses in praise of Lord Krishna.

The crew of the snakeboats belonging to the palliyoda karayogams of Nedumprayar, Thekkemuri, Varayannur, Punnamthottom, Chirayirambu, Cherukol, and Mepram-Thaimaravumkara took part in the Vallasadya on Saturday.

The TDB chief inaugurated the Vallasadya by lighting a lamp at the Aanakkottil after Utchapuja around 11.45 am.

The feast was later served to the snakeboat crew at the Oottupura and at the eight dining spaces (pandals) arranged on the temple premises.

As many as 64 items, including rice, were served at the feast, PSS sources said here today.