The flag in the temple courtyard is significant. The tradition goes that once the flag is hoisted in the temple (kodiyettam) no one leaves the area.
This is a throwback to an age-ld tradition. Once a temple festival starts, signified by the hoisting of the flag, no one is allowed to leave the village till it is brought down after the festival.
FOCUS ON AMMAN
The Kolavizhi Amman (a form of Mariamman) is worshipped before the festival, because she is the Kaval Deivam (guardian angel) of the temple and its neighbourhood. This tradition reminds us that Mylapore was once a village. Some people may say it still is!
SPECIAL USE OF FLOWERS
Tradition requires the usage of certain flowers on particular days - yellow flowers for Adhikara Nandi, white on Rishaba Vahanam. And roses on Arubathumoovar, says V. Veeraswamy of Mandaveli.
Tha. Che. Kumaraswamy or Thandarai Vaidhyar as he used to be called, was a well known benefactor. He set aside a small portion of his income towards the making of the silver kavacham of the Adhikara Nandi vahanam.
This was made in 1917. Says wellknown artist Maniyam Selvan, Vaidhyar's great-grandson, "To this day our family gets the 'mudal mariyadhai' on this day to decorate and worship."
MARCH OF THE NAYANMARS
Arubathumoovar day is when the 63 nayanmars go out in procession with the Lord. They lead the procession, and the Lord follows.
Others also join in.
Lord Vairaswamy from Chintadripet, comes decked in all His glory and wealth to see Lord Siva, and the strength of His bhakthas.
With the 63 saints, nine Thonai Adiyar (totally 72 idols), devotees who attained moksha by worshipping Siva are also taken around in procession.
Also, the image of Thiruvalluvar from the temple dedicated to him, joins this procession.
Take a position opposite Rasi store on April 4 after 4 pm to take in these developments.
The thirukalyanam on the final day of the festival is a colourful event. (This year it is on April 6, 8.30 pm onwards). Two temple priests represent the Lord and consort, Parvathi, and go through the wedding rites.
After that, the procession has Siva sitting on the ten-headed Ravana, strumming a veena which sports one of Ravana's heads.
Normally, the nadaswaram and temple band lead the procession but on this evening, only the mukha veena is played.
Enjoyable sight. Lasts for about 90 minutes.