Temple procession: Flight services at Thiruvananthapuram airport to be suspended for 5 hours on 23 October

The airport has been pausing operations and rescheduling flights twice every year for decades to enable the bi-annual ceremonial procession.

ByPTI

Published Oct 18, 2023 | 1:52 PMUpdatedOct 18, 2023 | 7:09 PM

Arattu procession on the Thiruvananthapuram airport runway

Flight services at the international airport in Thiruvananthapuram would be temporarily suspended for five hours on 23 October to enable the traditional “Arattu” procession of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple to pass through the runway, TIAL said on Tuesday, 17 October.

The ritual is in line with a decades-old practice involving the Travancore Royals.

The Thiruvananthapuram International Airport Ltd (TIAL), in a statement, said flight services would be suspended from 4 pm to 9 pm on 23 October, to facilitate the Alpassi Arattu procession by the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple.

It said the updated timings of the flights are available with the respective airlines.

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A bi-annual celebration

The airport has been pausing operations and rescheduling flights twice every year for decades to enable the bi-annual centuries-old ceremonial procession of the shrine to pass through the runway.

The practice of the temple procession passing along the route to reach the Shangumugham beach for the holy bath of the idols began centuries ago, and it has been continuing even after the establishment of the airport in 1932.

When the airport was constructed in the particular place, the then Travancore King Sree Chithira Thirunal had made it clear that the facility would be open to the public for 363 days in a year and for two days for Lord Padmanabha, the titular deity of the royal family, according to historians.

The royal-era ritual has been continuing even after the Adani Group took over the management of the airport.

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