political side meant keeping the Nambudiris an also the barons and the landlords of the
subdued kingdom in good humor. The festival turned out to be a veritable extravaganza.
Hundreds of Brahmins were given 'Sadya or feast on such a grand style which could do
proud to any king. The plantain leaves in which food was served were four to five feet
long and the items served a score and half and as many helpings as a man could take. And
above all the Brahmins were lavished with gifts. The 56-day murajapam culminated in Laksha
Deepam-the festival of a hundred thousand lights-on the auspicious day of Makara Sankranti
(mid-January). There are two half-yearly "Bhadradeepam" ceremonies and when'
twelve such had been performed, a murajapam and Lakshadeepam are conducted.
The entire gopuram and other parts of the temple lit up in myriad lamps presented a
spectacular sight. Time was when all the hundred thousand were oil lamps, which surged
with life and weaved endless patterns in the waters of the temple tank - Padmathirtha. But
today, thanks to the straitened circumstances, the lifeless multicolored electric bulbs
substitute oil lamps. But, all the same, the old charm is there-the gaiety, the fun, the
festive colors and the jostling crowds.