|Tyagaraja swami temple,Thiruvarur big ratha, |
Last month on June 16, 2016 this ratha / ther was ceremoniously taken around the four streets and thousands of people pulled the rope to keep the majestic ther moving. This chariot festival of Sri Tyagaraja Swamy temple took place after a long hiatus.
The following are the interesting facts:
01. After the chariot festival in 2010, the temple car was dismantled for refit, overhauling of brakes, etc., and renovation.
02. A sum of Rs. 2.17 crore was spent recently on repair work and the trial run was held last in October last year. The ratham is fitted with hydraulic break., it is believed in the 1990s and prior to that period a few hundred logs of wood were kept to be used as break to stop the giant chariot.
03. This huge ratha was not in service for a long time prior to 1988 for various reasons. It was in 1988 a major restoration work was undertaken under the skilled Sthapathis (skilled artisans who design, make images in wood and stones). The work involved 50 decorators to look after paintings and adornment of the car. The entire work cost around Rs.600,000.00 only. Now the cost will be prohibitive - ten times more.
04. Carpenters made four large 3m tall and 7m long wooden horses, representing four Vedas, besides several small horses.
05. In this major restoration work 60 tons of bamboo, 10 tons of Causarina wood and 2 tons of other wood were used, besides 3000 meters of cloth and gum worth Rs. 5000.00 for various pasting work.
|Tiruvarur thyagaraja swamy temple, kamalalayam -kulam tyagarajaswamytemple.tnhrce.in|
06. Four big ropes each 144 meter long were specially made from coconut fiber obtained from the husk of roughly 100,000 coconuts.
07. According to Marathi Modi scripts available at Thanjavur Saraswathi Mahal Library, details of the chariot festival of 1748 held at Tyagaraja swamy temple, Tiruvarur were given. Yet another record mentioned the participation of the then Maratha ruler of Thanjavur Raja Thulaja II in the chariot festival of 1765 (prior to the American war of independence!!)
08. On account of unexpected fire accident that totally damaged the chariot in 1727, the car festival was stopped for years. and the car festival was back on the track on March 03, 1930. New chariot was made through public donations; thanks to the munificence of rich land lords and philanthropists in the Delta district.
09, After 1948 the Azhi Ther did not see the light for unknown reasons and the festival was not conducted until 1970.
10. Consistently there has been no continuity in Azhi Ther festival until now since last century and various reasons are offered,
11. After a long gap and major restoration work in 1988, the chariot was on the Mada Streets and the devotees covered 1.5 km route in 12 hours, indeed a great task in those days. Normally 10,000 to 15000 people wold be required to pull the 'ther'.
12. Being a delta region with lots of cultivable lands, the landlords and Zamindars, in the by-gone years, used to supply their farm hands to pull the giant ther on festival days.
13. The number of of rope pullers has come down considerably over a period of time, as heavy duty bulldozers do the major pushing from behind the temple car.
14. Next to Jagannath Temple (Puri, Odisha)'s Rath Yatra, Tiruvarur Azhi Ther attracts more than 2 lakh devotees.
15, The processional deities Tygaraja and his consort Parvati/Kondi will arrive at the Devasiriya Mandapam in the Thygaraja Swami temple two weeks before the main event. Following Urchavars' arrival, the decoration of the magnificent chariot will commence.
16. The temple car and the festival were back in 2010 after a long gap of 20 long years. Ex CM of Tamil Nadu took the initiative and put the giant Azhi Ther back on the Mada Streets around the temple.
17. Besides Azhi Ther, there are four well-dcorated rathas for other deities - lord's consort Kamalambika, Ganapathy, lord Subramanya and Sandikeswarar.
The temple ratha festivals across India have been taking place despite the negative aspects of the modern life where every body is lost in the mechanical mundane life. At stake are our happiness and peace of mind. Everybody is chasing things that are transient in nature. Such great temple events are a good opportunity for the people to improve their public participation, loosen their stressed lives and experience the spiritual happiness. Indeed, the festival time is the blessed one.