Kalpathy Ratholsavam is a chariot festival held in Kalpathy village in the Palakkad district of Kerala in India. It is an annual festival held in the month of November usually. This year, Kalpathy Ratholsavam will be held from 14th November 2022 to 16th November 2022 at Sree Viswanatha Swamy Temple in Kalpathi, Palakkad.
During the pre-pandemic era, giant chariots were taken out as processions on the streets of this Kalpathy village during the festival. Due to the pandemic times, i.e. 2020 and 2021, the celebrations had to be kept to a minimal level. However, this year, it seems one can check out the beautiful, colorful, exotic chariots being taken out during the Kalpathy Ratholsavam 2022 festival at Sri Visalakshi Sametha Sri Viswanatha Swamy temple where the idols are Lord Siva (Lord Viswanatha) and his consort Visalakshi, which is another name for Parvati.
Interesting facts about Palakkad you ought to know
Sree Viswanatha Swamy Temple worships Lord Viswanatha or Shiva and has been constructed over 700 years ago. Kalpathy Ratholsavam has been observed for centuries as a ritual and gathers thousands of devotees on the streets to take blessings from the Gods and Goddesses. During the chariot festival, devotees and common people can be noticed dancing and singing their hearts out.
The festival is usually conducted for 10 days and the last three days of the festival are the main as they bring three gigantic chariots to the streets, thus giving an extraordinary sight to the devotees. Chanting of Vedic mantras and cultural programs are conducted during the first four days of the festival.
Temple Tale: When Lord Shiva won a game of chess, and a wife!
Sri Visalakshi Sametha Sri Viswanatha Swamy temple is located by the banks of the Kalpathi river, which is also called the Nila river. You will be amazed to know that the temple is in existence since 1425. Many people consider visiting this temple similar to visiting the Varanasi Kashi Vishwanath temple. Kalpathi or Kalpathy is considered to be half Kashi and it is an early Tamil Brahmin settlement.
If you are planning to visit Kalpathy Ratholsavam this November, then you can take the nearest bus stand Palakkad Stadium Bus Stand, which is just 3 km from this village. Or you can get down at Palakkad Junction railway station which is also just 3 km. If you are going by flight, then you have to get down at Coimbatore International Airport, from where it will take almost 2 hours to cross the 70 km route to Kalpathy.
Kalpathy Car Festival or Kalpathy Ratholsavam brings together the three main temples in the village of new Kalpathy, old Kalpathy, and Chathapuram which also observes the festival during this period. Ratholsavam brings together 6 chariots i.e. rathas from 4 temples of Kalpathy that come together on the streets in a grand procession. The 4+2 arrangement is as follows: main chariot carrying Lord Shiva and additional 2 small chariots for his children, Lord Ganapathy and Lord Murugan; chariots from the other 3 villages namely New Kalpathy with Lord Ganapathy, Old Kalpathy with Lord Krishna and Chathapuram with Lord Ganapathy. This arrangement is called ‘devarathasamgamam’.