The Utsavam begins with Aanayottam, starting from Manjulal and ending at the flag staff. Religiously, Utsavam begins with the giving of koora (cloth) and pavithram (ring made of kusa grass) to the Tantri. In ancient times, the permission for the festival was taken from Pura koyma , Vanneri Nambidi and Kantiyur Pattar.
At Guruvayur, the Utsavam lasts for ten days. Beginning on the day of Pushya (the 8th asterism) in the month of Kumbham ( February-March), it ends after the Aarattu on the 10th day.
Religiously, it is the restoration of divine Chaithanya. Brahmakalasam is preceded by the Utsavam. It is aimed at the purification and energisation of the powers of the deity. It is the last of the long series of rituals of kalasam and at the end, the flag will be hoisted heralding the Utsavam.
Culturally, it consists of various processions, illumination and modest fire-works (this is a specialty of Guruvayur Utsavam that no explosives are used, unlike most of the other Kerala temples). All ten days, the place wears a festive look, streets dressed up with arches, festoons etc., houses freshly thatched and painted. Every shrine and building is tastefully decorated with lights, plantain trunks, bunches of coconut and arecanuts. Two Gopurams and the bahyankana (outer-courtyard) are elaborately decorated with illuminations and eye-catching electric displays. The lamps, Deepasthambams and vilakku are all lightened.
Malayidal (sowing of seeds) follows a number of pots, made of silver, filled with clay are kept at vathilmatam. Tantri sows various seeds, and pots are kept at mulayara.
The Kodiyettam (hoisting of the flag) is performed at night after the Mulayidal. The chaithanya of Garuda is transferred to the flag. The flag and the flag-staff are worshiped by the Tantri. Then Puthiyadathu Pisharodi invites complaints from people, Chakkiyar performs Chakkiyar Koothu at the Koothambalam every day after the Ucha pooja till 3.30 pm.
Pallivetta (the royal hunt) starts with the Lords arrival at the Samudaya madam (Devaswom Office). By the time Lord arrives , 40 to 50 peoples wearing masks resembling the boar, called Pannimanushams with their bodies covered with wigs and plantain leaves. Pannimanushams, each awaits with two helpers who are painted to look like a boar but without mask. After the Pisharodi's call, pallivetta begins with the Lord on elephant run after the Pannimanushams. They take refuge around temple and at the end of the ninth round pannimanushams are beaten by the Lord.