|Thiruvannamalai Temple. Karthigai Deepam.Tamil Nadu, indiadivine.org|
|Karthigai Deepam In Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, astrology.astrosage.com|
Karthigai festival in Tiruvannamalai, of North west Tamil Nadu is quite famous and the temple itself is one the most popular ones in India. Among so many Shiva temples, the one at Thiruvannamalai (dedicated to Arrunachaleswarar), celebrates this festival on a grand scale with gaiety and devotion. This year the Thiruvannamalai Karthigai Mahadeepam will be held on the evening of November 25, 2015. It is celebrated here as a ten day festival, widely known as 'Karthigai Brahmotsavam.' The festival begins with the hosting of flag, signifying the commencement of the festival also known as Dwajaroghana.
|Nizhal Thangal, Attoor decorated with Agal vilakkus during the Karthikai Deepam celebrations on Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu.en.wikipedia.org/wiki|
In Telugu households, Kaartheeka maasam (month) is considered very auspicious. It begins on the Deepavali day. Hindus there light oil lamps almost through out that month. A special feature on Kartheeka Pournami (full moon) is, oil lamps with 365 wicks prepared at home, are lit in Lord Shiva temples. Besides, through out that month, in temples and households, Kartheeka Puranam (stories from mythology) is read and people observe virutham - fasting just by taking one meal.
The Shiva temple at Thiruvannamalai is one of the Pancha Boothasthalams (five elements essential for living beings) representing Agni (fire), the other temples represent water (Thiruvanai Kovil), earth (Kanchipuram), sky-Aakasam (Chidambaram) and air- Vaayu (Kalahasthi, in Andhra).
|Karthigai Deepam at Thiruvannamalai. en.paperblog.com|
Why is Thiruvannamalai temple considered as 'Agni Shethram'(holy place) and is well-known for Karthigai Deepam festival? The fascinating legend, according to the Hindu Mythology, goes like this:
Vishnu (Protector) and Lord Brahma (creator) had an argument with each other as to who was supreme and they sought the council of Lord Shiva (destroyer). These Gods form the trinity. Shiva appeared as an endless column of flame of light (fire) before them. He told them that the contentious issue could be resolved if the two could search for Lord Shiva's Head (Crown) and feet (Paatham). Lord Vishnu took the form of a boar (Sanskrit:Varaha, Tamil: pandri) ) and delved deep into the earth, While Lord Brahma that of a swan (Sanskrit:Hansa, Tamil: Annam) flew into the skies. Lord Vishnu made a futile attempt and returned. But, on the other hand, Lord Brahma ran in to a piece of Thazhambu, a flower, and learnt from it that it had been floating down for thirty thousand years from Lord Shiva's head. Anxious to win the dispute, Brahma seized upon this chance and lied to Lord Shiva that he had seen the Lord's Sirasu (Crown), using the flower as his witness. Lord Siva got wild and pronounced that there would never be a temple for Lord Brahma in this world and flower Thazhambu was unusable for worship. The day when Lord Shiva appeared as a column of flame, is called 'Karthikai Maha Deepam.'The 10 day festival at Thirivannamalai comes to an end with the procession of Lord on a Rishabha vahana (Bull), fully gold plated around the streets around the temple.