No flight services at Thiruvananthapuram airport for 5 hours on October 23
The flight services at Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram Airport will be temporarily suspended on October 23 from 4 pm to 9 pm. According to an advisory issued by the airport authority, the decision to halt services has been taken in order to facilitate the Alpassi Arattu Procession by Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
The updated timings of the flights are available with the respective airlines. "Your understanding is greatly appreciated," the advisory added.
Reason behind suspension of flight services
This century-old Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple (Vishnu temple) was traditionally managed by the temple's heirs, former Travancore ruler Marthanda Varma for more than 1,000 years. The airport suspends its flight services every year at the time of the traditional Arattu procession (Arattu- ritualistic bath of the deity).
During this procession, the idol of Lord Vishnu is carried to Shankumugham Beach which is just behind the airport in Thiruvananthapuram. On this occasion, the deity is given a 'holy dip' twice a year, even before the airport was established in 1932.
Before closing it for the bi-annual festival, the airport issues a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), as it takes place twice a year, first between March and April for the Panguni festival and then in October and November to celebrate Alphasy.
How procession is carried out?
For the procession, the priests in Garuda Vahanas along with hundreds of people and four elephants decked with rich decorative coverings, carry Utsav Vigraha of deities Padmanabhaswamy, Narasimha Moorthy, and Krishna Swami and walk through this long runway to Shankumugham Beach. After the dip in this beach, the idols will be taken back to the temple with the procession marked with traditional torches, marking the conclusion of this festival.