Thiruvananthapuram International Airport in Kerala has announced the suspension of flight services for five hours on Tuesday.
In an official statement, the airport has said that the services will remain suspended on November 1 ahead of the Alpassi Arattu procession of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple.
“To enable and facilitate the smooth continuation of a centuries-old ritual by Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple for the Alpassi Arattu procession, through the runway of the Thiruvananthapuram International airport, the flight services shall remain suspended from 1600 to 2100 hours on the 1st November 2022,” the statement from the airport said.
The domestic and international services have been rescheduled for this period and updated timings shall be available from the respective airlines, it said.
This century-old 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 the Shankumugham Beach, which is just behind the airport in Thiruvananthapuram and on the 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.
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.
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