Kettukazcha is also called Kutirakettu. This colourful festival is celebrated in Nooranad village, located in Kollam district of South Kerala. The festival is observed during August-September or September-October. Centre of activities is at the Oachira Temple. This is located nearly 32 km from Kollam on the way to Alappuzha. The salient feature of this temple is the absence of any idol. Instead, over here, the concept of ‘Parabrahmam’ [Cosmic Consciousness] is given importance. Processions of decorated effigies of Nadi the bull, Shiva’s vehicle, are carried out from Oachira Temple. This rural Kerala’s picturesque festival full of gaiety attracts thousands of people every year.
The Procession of Bulls:
Each pair of bulls that is carried in procession has a significant story attached to it. Bulls have relevance to the presiding deity, the Devi or the Goddess of the temple. They finally assemble for more ceremonies.
Huge, towering motifs of bulls in pairs are pulled on rathams [wooden carts] by the devotees. These motifs are brought as an offering to the deity on wish fulfillment by the devotees. Artisans from nearby villages vie with each other for the most intricately decorated motifs. The tallest structure could be as tall as 70-80 feet. The motifs are carried on the shoulders or placed on chariots. Thus, these structures are taken around the shrine. Scholars believe that this traditional ceremony of Kettukazcha has its roots in the Buddhism. This was prevalent in the Kerala during the 3rd century B.C.
There is another highlight of this festival. People from different Karas adjoining the temple concerned bring rathams [big cars]. On these rathams, deities of various Hindu Gods and Goddesses are placed. Sometimes effigies of mythological characters like Bhima, Panchali Hanuman and others are also placed.