A trip to concoct magic medicine

By Express News Service

KOCHI:Keeping up a unique tradition, Sreedhareeyam  Oushadheswari temple in Koothattukulam will be organising an Oushadha Biksha Yatra from June 26 to July 15. It’s a campaign that will cover the length and breadth of the state to collect medicines and herbs to make the monsoon special ayurvedic medicine as part of Karkidakkam treatment.

Karkidaka Kanji

The campaign will cover 114 temples, gathering the ingredients and seeking divine blessings for a healthy society. The Oushadheswari temple is associated with the ayurvedic retreat owned by the Nellikkattu mana. The family is reputed for preserving and practising the best traditions of the centuries-old Indian wellness system. For over the centuries, a regimen of specially prepared medicines, simple diets and oil baths has been prescribed for karkidakkam (spanning the month of July-August). The aim is to re-energise the body and mind.

The yatra has been organised in two stretches. The first one will tour South Kerala down to Valiyasala in Thiruvananthapuram,  covering 28 temples. The second leg of the yatra will start from Thiruvananthapuram and tour up to Neeleswaram in Kasargode district, touching 47 temples. The campaign then will return from there to Koothattukulam, visiting 39 temples en route. Medicines, herbs and other ingredients collected will go into the making of the special ‘karkidakka’ medicine package, which will be distributed to the people.

On the first day of karkidakkam, special poojas and rituals, including the ‘Ashtadravya Ganapathi Homam’, offering 1,008 coconuts, will be performed by the priests led by Sooryakaladi Sooryan Parameswaran Nampoothiripad. This will be followed by the ‘Gaja Pooja’, that will see the lining up more than 20 elephants and then the distribution of the medicinal preparation.

The preparation will be served to the devotees from 6 to 12 in the forenoon and 5 to 7 in the evening on all days, till the end of karkidakkam. Actor Jayaram will be awarded this year’s Oushadheswari Puraskaram, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to art and culture.

The actor will lead the performance of ‘panchari melam’ at the temple on July 16. The temple has also organised ‘Oushadha Ponkala” on August 6, a ritual seeking divine blessings for the wellness of the society as a whole.

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