|A very large
Mela (fair) takes place on a bank of a creek leading to the sea on a piece of sandy ground
where hutments, shops, rest-sheds, Police Thanas, Volunteer Camps, Health Centres,
hospitals etc., spring overnight and give the shape of a large temporary colony. The mela
lasts for several days but the peak period is for three days.
The sea is propitiated and prayers are held with recitals of various mantras and
offerings of coconuts, fruits and flowers are given. The most valued traditional offering
is that of a Pancharatna (five gems) consisting of a pearl or diamond, an emerald, a
topaz and a piece of coral along with coconut, areca-nut and an Upavita (the sacred thread
worn by the Brahmins). The offering of the real Pancharatna has declined and is now
The pilgrims have their bath early in the morning,Sraddha or obsequial ceremonies are
offered by those whose parents have died recently. After ablutions the pilgrims go
to the temple dedicated to Kapila Muni. The ceremonials on the second and third days
are almost the same as those of the first day. Apart from the mela ground with
temporary hutments and sheds for the pilgrims there are hundreds of boats that offer
shelter to the pilgrims for the night.