Kerala airport halts flights, do you know why? | Fusion - WeRIndia

Kerala airport halts flights, do you know why?

Kerala airport halts flights, do you know why?

Yesterday the Thiruvananthapuram international airport halted flight operations for five hours. It also closed its runway. Do you know the reason?

The airport stopped its operations for the ceremonial procession of Padmanabha Swamy temple. The practice has been followed by the airport for many decades. It halts flight operations and reschedules them twice a year.

The centuries-old tradition has been followed for the passage of the deity through the runway. In this context, the airport authorities released a statement informing that the flight services would remain suspended from 4 pm to 9 pm due to the Aarattu procession of Padmanabha Swamy temple.

The Aarattu processions are held twice a year, Alpasi and Painkuni. While the Alpasi festival falls in October-November, the Painkuni festival fall in March-April.

As the Alpassi festival procession was held yesterday, the airport suspended its operations for five hours. Before closing the runway for the procession the airport issues a notice to Airmen.

Both domestic and international flight services at the airport have been suspended and rescheduled. As per sources, the airport rescheduled the services of nearly 10 flights for the ceremonial procession of Lord Padmanabha Swamy.

This age-old tradition was started in the 18th century during the reign of king Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma. Since then, it has continued till now. The airport authorities, the flight companies and passengers are all cooperating to retain the legacy. They try to keep the sanctity of the mandapam near the runway.

An Aarattu mandapam is there near the runway. As part of the procession, the temple idols are brought and kept there for some time. For the smooth passage of the procession, the Kerala airport halts flight operations during the ritual.

The mandap is known as karikku mandapam. Karikku means tender coconut. Devotees who take part in the process offer coconuts at the mandapam. That’s why it was known as karikku mandapam.

Image Credit: arijitdas.x, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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