Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala

Ochira Kalakettu

Ochira Kalakettu is a ritual related to irupathi ettaam Onam (28th Onam day) at Ochira Parabrahma temple. Gigantic effigies of bulls in pairs called kettu kaalakal are made and displayed in the temple premises. Each bull effigy is a contribution of 52 divisions of Onattukara region.

Each kara (land subdivision) decorates their bull to excel that of others and takes them in procession to the accompaniment of percussion ensemble to the temple premise. The best bull effigy is also given a prize.

Ochirakkali is unique to Ochira, also known as Dakshina Kaashi.

Two centuries ago, many battles were fought between the kings of Kayam- kulam and Venad in the battle field of Ochira. Ochirakkali is held to commemorate those battles. Mock fights are staged in muddy waters on the first two days of the Malayalam month Midhunam.

About 3000 traditional martial arts experts from 52 karas (land sub- divisions) viz. Karthikapalli, Karunagapalli and Mavelikkara taluks of Onattukara meet in the battle field of Ochira. They arrive wearing the traditional headgear, armour, brandishing swords and shields.

After sighting the Krishna parunthu (Brahminy Kite, the eagle believed to be the vehicle of Lord Krishna) over the battle field, the leaders of the two groups would race to the battle field, shake hands and announce their decision to battle on the next day. With that the rituals of the first day gets over. Next day afternoon, the warriors would assemble in the battlefield and display their prowess in thakida kali. Later, the performers receive the prize money given by the organizers, which is followed by a grand feast that marks the end of Ochirakkali.

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