The annual festival at the centuries’ old Sreevallabha Temple at Sreevallabhapuram in Thiruvalla had a ceremonial start with the auspicious ‘Kodieyttu’ ceremony on Tuesday.

The ancient temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is regarded as one among the 108 ‘Tirupatis’ in the country.

The rituals in connection with the ‘Kodiyettu’ ceremony began in the forenoon.

The temple chief priest (Tantri), Akkeramon Kalidasan Bhattathiripad of Kuzhikkatt Illom, assisted by the Melsanthi and other priests, performed the rituals.

The Tantri performed puja to golden temple mast, keeping the ceremonial flag at its base.

The hoisting of the ceremonial flag (Kodiyettu) was held in the auspicious muhurthom (time) between 11.06 a.m. and 11.47 a.m.

Hundreds of devotees attended the ceremony.

Cultural programmes

Noted cricketer Sreesanth and playback singer Madhu Balakrishnan inaugurated the cultural programmes in connection with the annual festival after the ‘deeparadhana’ at the temple, later, in the evening. K. Unnikrishnan Nair, temple advisory committee president, presided over the function.

Utsavabali darshan

The auspicious ‘Utsavabali’ darshan, as part of the annual festival, will be held in the afternoon on all days from Wednesday to March 8. Kathakali performance will be held as an offering to the deity after the ‘Athazhapuja’ on all 10 days. The ritualistic ‘Pallivetta’ will be held on March 8 evening and the temple festival will come to a close with the ‘Aratt’ ceremony followed by the Tantri bringing down the ceremonial flag on the temple mast on March 9.