-Wednesday, 12 October 2016 | PNS | Kochi

Thousands of tiny tots in Kerala were initiated into the world of letters and learning on Tuesday, the Vijayadashami day, by priests, Gurus and cultural and political leaders at temples, cultural centres, media offices and homes.

Vijayadashami, the concluding day of the Navaratri festival, in Kerala is dedicated to Saraswati, Goddess of letters, knowledge and wisdom, and is observed as Vidyarambham, the auspicious occasion for starting learning, or Ezhuthiniruthu (initiation into the art of writing) in common Malayalam. On this day, the Acharyas, the ones performing the ritual, initiate the kids into learning by making them write Harishree Ganapathaye Nama, Avighnamastu.

The ritual starts with the Acharya writing these letters in Malayalam on the tongue of the child using a golden pen, known as Narayam in the olden days, or a gold ring. After that the Acharya would make the child write the same letters with his/her index finger in sand and rice kept in a plate. Though this is a Hindu ritual, people of other religions have started observing it of late.

The most important centre for Vidyarambham for Keralites is outside the State – at the Mookambika temple at Kolloor in southern Karnataka. Thousands of children from Kerala had thronged the temple from 3 am Tuesday for the ritual which went on till noon.

Heavy rush was seen at the Thunchan Parambu, the memorial of Thunchath Ezhuthachchan, Father of Malayalam language, in Tirur in Malappuram for Vidyarambham. Kids were initiated into the world of learning by Gurus, writers and cultural and political leaders there.

The ritual was led by Jnanpith winner MT Vasudevan Nair at Thunchan Parambu where Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan and Cultural Affairs Minister AK Balan were also present to initiate the tots into the world of letters. “I am particularly happy to be here on this day as this is the most important cultural heritage centre in the State,” said the Speaker.

Heavy rush of tots was also seen almost at all temples in Kerala including the Devi temple at Panachikkad, Kottayam, known as the Dakshina Mookambika temple and the Thiruvullakkavu temple near Thrissur, the most famous centres for the ritual.

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