|karthigai deepam, Tiruvannmalai temple, TN maalaimalar|
''Karthigai Deepam festival'' that is held in the Tamil month of Karthigai -Nov to mid December is mostly associated with Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and also Karthikaya (God Muruga/Subramanya) in Tamil Nadu, in particular.
|Arunachaleswarer temple, Tiruvannamalai, TN, Karthigai Deepam maalaimalat|
According to the Hindu mythology Lord Karthikeya, was brought up by the Karthigai nymphs. This constellation that consists of a group of six stars and these are considered as the six celestial nymphs who reared the six babies (created by God Shiva through his third eye) from the Saravana tank (Saravana Poigai) which later were joined together to form Lord Muruga with six faces (here the six faces imply six gunas). The six nymphs are worshiped by way of lighting up rows of oil lamps (Deepam) in the evening of the festival day around the houses and streets as God Shiva bestowed them with immortality.
|Rangoli/Kolam at home Karthigai Deepam. wikihow.com|
03. Lakhs of devotees thronged Tiruvannamalai to witness the lighting of Karthigai Deepam on Tuesday - symbolic of prosperity and welfare and dispelling darkness and negativity in us.
04. Tradition has been that at this temple Akanda Deepam will be lit only after the idol of Arthanareeswarer (a half man and woman form of God Shiva) is emerged in a palanquin in the evening. He comes out of the shrine once a year. Rest of the year the shrine is closed.
05. Besides, prior to the lighting of Maha Deepam, an idol of Vinayakar was taken out in a procession followed by those of Murugar (Karthikaya), Arunachaleswarar, Unnamulai Amman (Parvati), Chandikeswarar and Ardhanareeswarar.
06. Only 4000 to 5000 devotees are allowed inside the temple to witness the evening ritual of Akanda Deepam and worship of Arthanareeswarer.
07. When Akanda Deepam is lit on the temple premises, simultaneously at 6 pm atop the holy Arunachala temple Maha Deepam is lit by a select group of devotees.
08. There are no proper roads to access the top (the hill being a sacred one, there are restrictions to disturb its nature and topography). Mind you only up to 2500 people are allowed by the District Administration to ascend the 2668 foot hill after getting the entry passes to witness the lighting of Maha Deepam as per Court order.
09. In the five-foot-tall copper cauldron/ vessel (locally called ‘Kopparai’), filled with ghee, a big lump of camphor is also mixed to get the huge flame going.
10. This year 2019, the state government, official report says, close to 10,000 police personnel were deployed for crowd management (bandobast), in view of terror threats, etc by fanatics.
11. The convention has been that soon after Maha deepam ardent devotees undertake barefoot walk around the holy hill called Girivalam believed to be an auspicious occasion to do it on this particular day. This year more than 100000 devotees undertook this strenuous religious undertaking with no food, chanting Shiva Nama.
12. The administration issued passes to devotees to avail themselves of free food (Anna Dhanam) available on the Prathkshana path. At selected points free food was distributed for elderly people and others.
13. At this temple town, non -vegetarian restaurants are ordered by the authorities not to serve NV food during the festive period, in particular, on Maha Deepam day and on the Girivalam path. Normally, NV restaurants are not allowed to function in the vicinity of Hindu temples. The administration of Vishnu temples has serious restriction on NV food - eating the flesh of dead animals within a certain limit. Unfortunately, at certain temples dedicated to Kartikaya and Shiva, NV hotels serve NV food.
14. At Tiruvannamalai, Maha Depam is followed by three day float festival (Teppam in Tamil) in the near-by Ayyankulam (water tank) and well-decorated gods and goddess Parvati will go around the tank in a floral float.
15. This year the Indian Railways - SR/Southern Zone ran a Super Fast train from Ernakulam Junction. Kerala to Chennai Central and Chennai Central to Tiruvannamalai and back - called Karthigai Deepam Train, covering a distance of 700 km It has 12 halts to help devotees from Kerala and southern districts of Tamil Nadu to visit the grand annual festival at the holy town.
This deepam festival is celebrated with bhati at Thayumana Swamy, rock fort, Tiruchi city and Tiruparankundram Karthikaya temple near Madurai city.
16. This festival emphases that the God is formless. omnipresent and unfathomable.
17. This festival symbolizes positivity and elimination of bad elements in us. It is more famous in Southern India than in the north.
18. The essence of this unique grand festival is 01. choose the path of righteousness, 02. shed arrogance, selfishness and ego and 03. Once you attain humility and contentment, you will enjoy the true meaning of happiness. Loads of money will neither give you happiness nor peace of mind.
19. This year due to excess visitors to the temple town, the district administration declared a couple of days as holidays for schools, etc.