Every year on the first of Malayalam month Thulam, Rayiranellur Hill near Pattambi becomes a busy pilgrim spot. Thousands trek to the top of the hill on this day seeking the blessings of Goddess Durga.
Rayiranellur is a historically and culturally important place in Kerala. Centuries ago a mystic named Naranathu Bhranthan lived here. He was one of the 12 children born to sage Vararuchi and his Pariah wife.
Naranathu was born at the Chethallur village on the banks of Thutha River. Later he went to Thiruvegappura to learn Vedas and the scriptures. One of his favorite pastimes during this period was rolling a huge boulder up the Rayiranellur Hill. He would take the whole day to climb up the hill with the boulder. Once he reached the hilltop with the boulder, we would just drop the boulder. Clapping his hands Naranathu would burst into laughter as the piece of rock took its downward journey. He would repeat this act every single day and people thought he was a lunatic. Naranathu, however, was a mystic who knew the worthlessness of worldly possessions and material gains. By rolling the rock up the hill and pushing it downwards, he was just showing that rise will eventually lead to fall and fall will lead to rise. Legend has it that Goddess Durga appeared before Naranathu on a Thulam 1 as he was rolling the boulder up. They had a debate about the cause and purpose of existence. The Goddess was pleased with the knowledge of Naranathu and blessed him.
Later a Durga temple was built on the hilltop. On Thulam 1 (mid-October/usually October 17 or 18), thousands trek to the top of the hill and visit the temple. Special poojas and offerings are performed at the temple in the three days prior to Thulam 1. This year the trek is on Thulam 2 (October 18) because Thulam Sankranti was in the afternoon of October 17 (Thulam 1).
A huge statue of Naranathu has been installed on the hill. After praying at the temple, devotees circumambulate the statue before leaving. Pilgrims arrive even from Tamil Nadu. Police and district administration are well aware of this and they make elaborate arrangements to ensure the safety of pilgrims during the 500 meter trek.
How to reach
Rayiranellur is well-connected by road and rail.
Pattambi is the nearest railway station.