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|February 6, 1998||
And they lived happily ever after...
In a unique event combining traditional ritual and piety, a four-year-old neem was ceremoniously given away in marriage to an eight-year-old banyan tree at the Thrikkalathur Sree Ramaswamy temple, near Muvattupuzha, about 30 kilometres from Kochi.
The marriage followed a ritualistic Upanayana (initiation into bramhacharya) of the banyan tree amidst chanting of Vedic hymns.
The rituals, witnessed by a large number of devotees, started with the deepantha suddikriya (purification of the surroundings). This was followed by ganapathihomam, prayaschitham, aganinnakriya, upanayana and samavarthanam, culminating the marriage.
The function came about because the 1,200-year-old banyan tree in front of the temple was uprooted on June 27, 1989. The tree, considered a brahmin, was cremated with traditional rituals on July 26, 1989, and a new sapling planted in its place
The rituals were conducted under the supervision of thantri (priest) Puliyannur Aniyan Narayanan Namboodiripad.
The neem was taken out in a ceremonial procession to the accompaniment of panchavadya, and planted close to the banyan tree with the sprinkling of holy water.
Tradition considers the banyan a male and the neem a female. Narayanan Namboodiripad said the rituals were held for the prosperity of the nation and the salvation of its people.
The banyan tree was named Aswatha Narayanan. The bride, temple officials said, would be named later.
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