Ekadasi, the eleventh day of every lunar fortnight, is very auspicious to the Hindus. Of the 24 Ekadasis in a year, the VrishchikaEkadasi ( Sukla paksha) has got special significance in Guruvayur. It falls in the Mandala season. The Navami(9th day) and Dasami(10th day) are also very important. Ekadasi Vilakkustarts a month before the Ekadasi day as offerings by different persons, families and organisations. On Navami day, the Vilakku is lit with ghee as an offering by Kolady family. The Dasami Vilakku which used to be an offering of Zamorin Raja, is now conducted by GuruvayurappanSankeerthana Trust. After the temple is open on this day for Nirmalya darshan( 3.00AM ), it is closed only at 9.00 am on DwadasiDay (12th day), thus allowing continues darshan for devotees throughout Dasami and Ekadasi Days. On Dwadasi day there is a custom of offering a token amount called Dwadasi Panamin Koothambalamfor the welfare of the family.
Highlights of the Guruvayur Ekadasi are the memorial honour for
Gajarajan Kesavan and the Chembai Sangeetholsavam. The Karanavar or head of the elephant family places a wreath at the statue of Kesavan in front of Sreevalsam guest house and all the other elephants stand around and pay obeisance. On Ekadasi day, the Udayasthamana Pooja(dawn to dusk pooja) is conducted by the Devaswomitself . After the morning seeveli, on Ekadasi there is a grant elephant procession to the Parthasarathitemple since it is regarded as GeethopadesamDay also. On Ekadasi after night pooja the famous Ekadasi Vilakku with elephant procession takes place and provides a fitting finale to the festival.
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