'Murajapam' begins at Padmanabha swamy temple in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 22 (PTI): Centuries-old ritual'Murajapam', chanting of mantras, conducted once every sixyears, began at the famed Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple here.

The 56-day long ritual, that began on Thursday,involves the ceremonial chanting of Rigveda, Yajurveda andSamaveda by around 200 scholars from Kanchipuram, Pejawar,Sringeri, besides representatives of the Yogashema andBrahmana sabhas.

The ancient ritual will conclude on January 15 (MakarSankranti) when one lakh oil lamps will be lit in the templepremises.

With the beginning of the ritual, initiated by the18th century Travancore King Marthanda Varma, large number ofdevotees and vedic enthusiasts are thronging the temple tohave a glimpse of the event and worship Lord Padmanabha, theprincipal deity, temple management sources said.

The shrine and the Padmatheertham Pond was illuminatedfor the festival and vedic pundits performed 'Jalajapam' onThursday night.

The sprawling temple, an architectural splendour ingranite, was rebuilt in its present form in the 18th centuryby the Travancore Royals, who had ruled southern Kerala andsome adjoining parts of Tamil Nadu, before integration of theprincely state with the Indian Union in 1947. PTI UDSS SS