Thursday, March 13, 2014

Photos taken at start of 'ther' procession

It was close to 9 a.m. when the chariot carrying the Lord moved out of the shed this Thursday morning. We got a nice perch close to the top and shot the photo that you see here, featured first. It gives a grand view of the hundreds of devotees who chose to gather here from 8 a.m. to see the 'ther' move after the rituals were performed.

The slow summer heat began to grow even as the chariot moved into East Mada Street. People on balconies and terraces on the adjoining buildings sprinkled cold water on the devotees and some threw water sachets for the folks below to quench their thirst.

As the ther rolled past the Pitchu Pillai and the Chitrakulam junction and got into South Mada Street, the busy haunt of vegetable hawkers and shoppers of this area the veedhi was jam packed as the 3rd photo here shows. It was about 10 a.m. then.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Colours of Rishaba Vahanam

The day of the Rishaba Vahanam is a huge one; on Tuesday night hundreds of people began filing into the temple and them took their place in Sannidhi Square to be part of the event.

We were there a bit past 11 p.m. While the shoppers' and hawkers' life had ebbed on North and South Mada Street, East Mada Street had got a new life.

Inside the temple, on the north eastern side priests numbering fifty or more took turns at the recitation of the Vedas. It would have taken them about 90minutes to do it; the chant adding a nice ring to the shuffle, rush and swish all around us here.
 rishaba v

The goddess was decked and since we have been fascinated with the daily craftwork on the jadai, we looked closet at the one tonight - it was a jaddai in the form of a peacock created with flowers and peacock feathers. The flowers were a variety and a riot and there were a few craft items pinned to the jadai!

The Lord was looking very regal tonight; his shiny satin blue angavastram ran all around him.
He had a grand alankaram of colorful flowers and some dry fruits.

When it was time past the midnight hour, over two dozen volunteers carried the gods and deeparadhana was held thrice at three different points inside the campus; the Lord got into a gentle dance, symbolically created by the volunteers carrying Him.
By then more than 3000 plus people had packed into Sannidhi Square.They are all here to get a nice look at the Gods and the final deeparadhana held in the 16-pillared mantap before the procession winds its way through the mada veedhis.

It would be about 6.30 a.m. when the gods get back to their spaces.

Photos and inputs; R. Saravanan.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Community spirit and volunteering . . .

This morning, March 11 as the Lord was about to be taken out in the Savudal Vahanam, we spotted lots of people refreshing themselves near the 16-pillared mantap in Sannidhi Square.

The staff at the popular shop, Giri Trading Agency which is world famous for its books, articles and music for the Hindu religious were offering drinking water.

They said that water was offered free to all devotees every morning of the Panguni festival. "We noticed that many seniors are here for the festival and since the sun is up, they need some refreshment so we volunteered this," said a staff.

Likewise, there are dozens of bhaktas who do their little bit ; offering lime juice or buttermilk, prasadam or medical aid. Each in a way they can.

The best of community spirit.

Hawker Sita offers fruits to the Lord . . .

There are lots and lots of devotees who express their prayer and offering to the Lord at this time of the year. They do so quietly and simply.

We meet Sita, who hawks fruits in a street off the temple. She was carrying back a large tray with a variety of fruits which she had offered to the Lord. These would be shared with other devotees outside the temple campus.

Sita said she was a bhakta. She made her offering of fruits every day, through the year. And at Panguni time, her offerings would be special. But only fruits.

Fire and light . . . .

There are lots and lots of small but key preparations that go into the festival. And they seem to fall into place at the right time and date!

We caught up with the team which readies the 'thee vettis' ; the natural fire lighters that must be a relic of an age when we lived without electricity.

Loads of these lights are required. So a team gathers lots of bamboo sticks and soaks one end in a watery cow dung mix. The sticks thus are baked in the sun.

Every evening a few are taken out, soaked in ghee and lit; volunteers carry the thee vetti at the head of the procession of the gods inside the temple campus and up to the 16 pillar mantapam. 

Varieties of jadais for the goddess

The jadai for the goddess at Panguni time is a work of craft, one might say.
If only you care to stop and look at it. Or some one points it out to you.

So who makes these jadais?
Enquiries reveal that each jadai of the artistic kind is a donation by a devotee. The donor family informs the temple office, gets the jadai created and hands it over to the temple for use.

On Monday evening, the goddess wore the 'naga' jadai.

There may not be donors on some days and on such occasions, volunteers use fresh flowers in place of the jadai.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The majestic procession . . .

The mada veedhis now wear a different look. With some license for imagination, you may say that this area, the east zone of Sri Kapali Temple looks more like a temple festival area in the rural area.

The hawkers have colored the veedhi sides; temporary man taps on all the veedhis where the gods are rested look colorful and even daily shoppers are sharing time at the rituals and processions, thus enlarging the participation.

So when the adikara nandi procession started in a shower of prayer and chants on Sunday morning, early and in that slight nip in the air the celebration was at its height.

There is a certain majestic look to this procession and it was evident this Sunday. As the gods were carried slowly down East Mada Street, waves of devotees crowded around the Nandi, some lingering on the Lord and the alankaram around Him.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Works of craft? Art?

For goddess Karpagambal, her devotees have a new designed jaddai every morning and evening.
Photographer R. Saravanan shot these on Friday evening and Saturday morning.

One may say that even these are works of art.

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Nature connect . . .

The festival may have its big processions, which are the show stealers if one may use that word. They attract hundreds and hundreds of people from all over. They create the mela atmosphere.

But there are many other rituals that take place every day, morn, noon and evening.
On Friday night, there was a nice ritual that was held before the evening mada veedhi procession.

Three artificial trees, just small models - punnai, karpagam and vengai - were placed in the open and the images of Kapaleeswarar, Karpagambal and Murugan were placed in the 'trees' and rituals held. Thereafter, the three images were taken out in a procession that lasted about an hour.

Flag hoisting on a cool Friday morn . .

The buzz around the Kolavizhi Amman Temple, on the north side of Kutchery Road is enough to tell you that the Panguni fest is on. 
The rituals to the grams devathai, in keeping with the old traditions is some thing you will want to watch as it unfolds if you wish to get close to these ancient rituals taking place in the heart of the metro.
Then, the massive procession, fairly common in the area of women and kids carrying 1008 milk pots ( paal kudam) took place here, another tradition that falls on the eve of the Panguni fest.
The more formal start of the Panguni festival at Sri Kapali Temple took place  on Friday morning when the flag-hoisting ceremony was conducted. 
By 8.30 a.m. a large number of devotees filled the space around the flag staff in the western side of the temple. A special enclosure near here was created for seniors and guests of the temple.
A series of rituals were held culminating in the hoisting of the flag.

Panguni Fest 2014; key dates

Here are the key dates for the Panguni festival.
March 7 - Flag hoisting ( kodiyetram)
March 9, 6 a.m. – Adhikara Nandhi procession
March 11, night -  Rishaba Vahanam
March 13, 8.30 a.m. – Thiruther procession
March 14, 3 p.m. – Arubathu Moovar procession
March 16, 6 p.m. Thirukalyanam

The vidyarti dance/music fest will follow after a day's break of the religious events at the temple campus. Some of the best known artistes will perform here every evening.