At Trivandrum airport, Adani Group to carry on royal legacy

Thiruvanathapuram airport, which Adani Group took over last week, will see a blend of tradition and religious rituals on November 11.   The Travancore royal family and the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple will do an Arattu procession, a centuries-old ritual, through the runway of the airport, holding up airport operations. The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is considered the richest place of worship in the world. The company has informed Business Standard it will continue to celebrate the biannual Arattu procession from the temple, which is an "ode to the rich legacy of the Travancore Roya.....
Thiruvanathapuram airport, which Adani Group took over last week, will see a blend of tradition and religious rituals on November 11.

 

The Travancore royal family and the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple will do an Arattu procession, a centuries-old ritual, through the runway of the airport, holding up airport operations. The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is considered the richest place of worship in the world. The company has informed Business Standard it will continue to celebrate the biannual Arattu procession from the temple, which is an "ode to the rich legacy of the Travancore Royal family".

 

Soon after taking over the airport on October 14, a team of top officials of the group met the royal family and had indicated it would “continue to facilitate and perform the preserved traditional ceremonies of Travancore handed down over generations”.

 

Aswathi Tirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bai, a member of the erstwhile royal family of Travancore and the niece of the last king, Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, told Business Standard: “The royal family had a meeting with the company officials. We have informed them about the rituals. The company has shown a huge interest in matters related to Sree Padmanabha. We expect them to facilitate the celebrations.” Arattu, followed in Kerala temples, marks the end of the festivals, in which the priest bathes the idol of the deity in a nearby water body.

 

Adani Group has already lined up a detailed plan for November 11. The runway of the airport will be closed during the procession between 4 pm and 9 pm. “The procession will cross the airport’s operational area during the above mentioned time-slots. Operations will resume at 2100 hrs. The airlines will reschedule their flights accordingly,” the group told Business Standard.

 

“While giving land for the airport, then king Chithira Thirunal had said the area can be used for people during 363 days of a year and the remaining two days for Sree Padmanabha,” Lakshmi Bai said. The authorities have issued a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) for the possession. The group said the runway would be closed twice a year for the Arattu procession -- in April/May for the Painkuni festival and in October/November for the Alpasi festival. “Thiruvanan­thapuram International Airport will continue to uphold this heritage and celebrate the occasion,” a group spokesperson added.

 

The present head of the royal family leads the procession, carrying the ceremonial sword and wearing the traditional green cap. “The vibrant culture of Thiruvananthapuram is deeply rooted in the erstwhile Travancore kingdom’s arts, crafts, cuisines, sacred rituals and, most importantly, in the spirit of the city’s people,” the spokesperson said.

 

In 2011, when the authorities opened one vault of the temple, riches worth more than Rs 90,000 crore were found. They were sacks of diamonds, gold coins, and jewellery. One chamber of another vault is yet to be opened. The kings of Travancore, who used to call themselves “Padmanabha dasan”, the servant of Padmanabha (the Deity), had submitted this wealth to the deity over centuries.



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