Onavillu for Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple

6 pairs of bows to be offered to chief deity on Thiruvonam day.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Onam is the state festival, but there is an Onam tradition that is Thiruvananthapuram’s own. On Thiruvonam day on Monday, six pairs of bows will be offered to the chief deity at Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple. More than 300 years have passed since the tradition started, and now ‘Pallivillu’, the bow, is only referred to as ‘Onavillu.’ Vaniyamoola Vilayil family at Karamana, the traditional artisans who make the bows, are known as the ‘Onavillu’ family. “The tradition started when the temple started,” says Binkumar, the eldest of the four brothers who with their uncle Nagendran Achary have made the bows.

Around five years ago, each of them left other professions to make ‘Onavillu’ again. Binkumar’s son Ananthapadmanabhan, who is in class VII, has also started helping with making the bows. This would mean that he would have to follow 41 days of strict ‘vrata,’ just like his father and uncles, to make the bow. They make six pairs of ‘Onavillu’ fashioned out of Mahogany wood. There are quaint paintings on each bow. The paintings depict various themes related to Lord Vishnu, including Ananthasayanam’ (Lord Anantha in a sleeping pose), ‘Dashavataram’ (ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu) and Sreeramapattabhishekam (Lord Rama’s coronation).

For over two years now, they have been making only six pairs of ‘Onavillu.’ It is learnt that there have been certain differences with the temple authorities, and now the replicas sold at the temple to buyers are not made by them. “This year, we hope to hold a dialogue with the temple authorities so that we can work on large-scale orders next year,” says Binkumar.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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