Thursday, April 9, 2020

Madurai Chithirai Thiruvizha – Chithirai Festival Madurai – KallAlagar Festival

Madurai Chithirai Thiruvizha 2020 (Chithirai Festival 2020) – KallAlagar Festival Madurai 2020

Madurai Chithirai Thiruvizha (Chithirai Festival Madurai) – KallAlagar Festival Madurai

Chithirai Thirunal is an auspicious occasion of Tamil people all around the globe. Chithirai Thirunal is called as Tamil New Year celebrated in Tamilnadu. Especially in Madurai, a grand event called Chithirai Thiruvizha takes place. The day of celebration falls on the starting day of the first month of Tamil Calendar. Mostly it falls on April 14th and in rare cases, it falls on April 13th. During the Chithirai festival, special pooja with sweets and other offerings will be conducted in reverence to god by Tamil people. People used to buy new clothes and even burst fire crackers to express their joy at Chithirai Thiruvizha. In all the temples comprising of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, special rituals will be done for the gods to show their devotion. Everybody pray for having another year and also to make that year a great success at the Chithirai festival.

Madurai Chithirai Thiruvizha (Chithirai Festival) KallAlagar Festival Madurai

Madurai Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Temple

The first twenty days of the month will be celebrated in Madurai which is called as the Chithirai Thiruvizha or Chithirai Festival. It is one of the biggest and famous festivals of Madurai, Tamilnadu. Hence, Chithirai Thiruvizha is one amidst the world’s longest annual celebrations (lasts for about a month).
Chithirai festival will be celebrated at Madurai Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Temple. The festival goes on for two weeks with immense pleasure and joy. Chithirai Thiruvizha’s main occasion is re-enacting of the wedding of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar (Lord Shiva). The festival starts on the 5th day of the Tamil month Chithirai (April 20). It is also an attempt to unite the Vishnavites (Followers of Lord Shiva) and the Shaivites (Followers of Lord Vishnu). Chithirai Thiruvizha is one of the declared festivals of Tamilnadu Government.

History is that Chithirai Thiruvizha is four hundred centuries old. There is basically two festival celebrated during the whole month.
One is for Warrior Meenakshi called Meenakshi festival which is mainly rejoiced by the Shaivites.

Meenakshi is the daughter of King Malayathuvaja Pandian (King of Pandya’) and queen Kanchanamalai. The couple is not blessed with a child for many years. They prayed to god by offering sweets and doing poojas. During the pooja, a small girl came out of the fire and she is a form of Goddess Parvathi (Wife of Lord Shiva). Meenakshi was grown with different kinds of training in all the sections of battle and warfare. She conquered the whole world with her extraordinary war skill. At last, she went to Kailayam to conquer the land where she met Lord Shiva and fell in love with him. Lord Shiva assured Meenakshi that he will come to Madurai to marry her. As promise, Lord Shiva married Meenakshi and ruled the Pandya kingdom. Hence, Meenakshi along with her spouse Lord Shiva will be celebrated by the devotees during the Chithirai festival.

The second festival is called as Alagar festival which is celebrated by the Vaishnavites

Mandoorka rishi was bathing in the holy waters of the Alagar Hills. Durvasar Maharishi, a powerful god entered the spot and thought that Mandoorka Rishi is knowingly insulting him. But the truth was isn’t that. Unfortunately, Durvasar cursed him to become a frog. He pleaded to change him back to normal human. Durvasar accepted his apology and said him to go to River Vaigai for getting blessings from Lord Alagar. By doing so, he said that Mandoorka can get his wish fulfilled. Mandoorka travels to the river Vaigai where he showed his full devotion to Lord Alagar.

Then Alagar came and Mandoorka was turned up right. At last he wished Lord Alagar (Form of Lord Vishnu) to bless him in all his 10 avatars and was satisfied by the god. Only after the rule of King Thirumalai Nayakar began, both the festivals were merged as one single occasion to unite the peoples of two groups (Saivites and Vaishnavites). Since then this is celebrated as one grand and long annual event during the whole Tamil month of Chitirai. Hence, it is also named as Chithirai Thiruvizha.

Another different story will be narrated by the people of Southern Tamilnadu regarding the Festival. The below will be a detailed description of the people believed the tale.
Goddess Meenakshi’s elder brother was Lord Alagar. Actually, he will be residing at Vaigai hills. On hearing his sister’s marriage with Lord Shiva, he began to travel downwards through the forests to Madurai. In order to escape from danger, he himself dressed like a thief. It took a day for his traveling and so reached late for marriage. Before he stepped into Madurai, the marriage got over. On hearing the news of marriage, he got furious and entered the Vaigai River. Meenakshi and Lord Shiva came to convince him but he didn’t turn back and moved his way to Alagar hills.

Chithirai Thiruvizha Events and its Proceedings

The celebrations of Chithirai festival or Thiruvizha begin with a flag hoisting ceremony followed by chariot festival which carries the two idols of the couple. It is then taken around in a procession with sounds of large bands. As the procession passes through the streets, devotees put forward offerings of flowers, coconuts, camphor before the god. This is an overview of the event. The event will have different vehicles (Vahanam) on which the idol of god will be taken for processions.
The following are the list of events of Chithirai Thiruvizha.
Kodi Yetram

As a startup, Priest of Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple will hoist the flag in the Kodimaram (flag post) of the ancient temple after five days of the Chithirai month. This marks to be the beginning of the long celebration of Chithirai festival. The flag will continue to fly high up till the event gets over. After which it is removed symbolizing the end.
Anna vahanam

The next day of Kodi yetram is Anna vahanam. On this day, an idol of God will be seated on the Hamsa bird (Goose or swan) and is taken around the temple through the streets for a procession. Special rituals will be conducted for the god during this Chithirai Thiruvizha.
Kamadhenu vahanam or Kailasa Parvadham

The successive day of Anna vahanam is Kamadhenu vahanam function will take place. Kamadhenu means cow which gives its milk for humans. The idol of god will be on Kamadhenu (Vehicle) and will be taken round for procession down the streets of the temple.
Thanga Pallaku

Pallaku is the sedan which will be used to carry royal personalities. When the sedan is made of gold it is called Thanga Pallaku. The goddess will be carried in the Pallaku which will be lifted by the devotees to roam around the Meenakshi temple. This is one of the notable sights at Chithirai Thiruvizha.
Vedar Pari Leelai or Thanga Kuthirai Vahanam

Kuthirai and Pari both mean the same called Horse. Idol of God will be taken the round in a golden horse (Vehicle) around as a regulation which is followed year after year. The picturesque will be very magnificent to look at during the Chithirai festival.
Vrishaba Vahanam

Vrishaba means ox. The lord idol will be taken on the ox vehicle for processions. The whole celebration will look marvelous to watch and enjoy. It is one of the beautiful sites of Chithirai festival.

Yaali vahanam

Yaali means a creature having lion’s head and elephant’s trunk. Yaali will be found in many pillars of South Indian cultural monuments’ sculptures. God idol on the top of yaali Idol is fascinating and is a real eye-treat for the festival devotees.

Pattabisekam is coronation ceremony. This is to certify and show off the pride of Meenakshi by crowning her on this day and it is believed that she will rule the Pandya dynasty for the first four months. After that, her husband Lord Sunderaswarar will be crowned as the king of Madurai for the next eight months. In order to declare and symbolize the post-coronation ceremony of Chithirai festival take place and hence called as Pattabishekam.

Meenakshi Amman is crowned as the queen of Pandya kingdom by her father. She had the most prominent war skills which made her double powerful. Then she went into war with all the countries in the world and conquered the whole world. At last, she went to Kailaayam or Kailaaya malai (The Place of Lord Shiva in the Himalayas) to conquer that. On the immediate sight of Lord Shiva on the battlefield, she fell in love with him. This will be portrayed beautifully in Madurai during the Chithirai Thiruvizha.

Madurai Chithirai Thiruvizha (Chithirai Festival) KallAlagar Festival Madurai
Meenakshi Thirukalyanam

Meenakshi Tiukalyanam is the wedding celebration of Meenakshi Amman and Lord Shiva in Madurai. Lord shiva comes to Madurai to marry Meenakshi as he promised. A very grand re-enactment of marriage will be taking place with loud bands of music. It will be very delightful to watch that historical occasion at Chithirai festival.
Thiru TherottaThiruvizha

The day after Meenakshi Tirukalyanam is Therotta Thiruvizha (Chariot Festival) which is a big event at Chithirai Thiruvizha. Lord Sunderaswarar and Meenakshi will come to see their devotees in a very grandly decorated chariot. The scenic beauty of the King and Queen of Pandya dynasty will be splendid watching. Thousands of peoples will gather in the streets of Madurai to pull the chariot and to witness the celebration.
Ethir Sevai

Ethir Sevai is a festival of Alagar celebrated during this Chithirai Thiruvizha. In chithirai, Lord Kallalagar starts from Alagar kovil in the form of Kallar and reaches Madurai on Pournami (Full Moon day). This event is organized for welcoming Lord Alagar to Madurai by the residents of the city. Thousands of people will be crowded all down the streets to engage themselves in the ceremony at Chithirai Thiruvizha.
Alagar Vaigai Eluntharulal

This marks the end of the grand annual celebration of Chithirai Thiruvizha. Only after the sacred marriage of Madurai Meenakshi Amman with Lord Shiva, her brother Alagar arrives at Madurai. Lord Alagar comes from Alagarkoil to Madurai slowly crossing the risky scenarios through the forests. When reaching the vaigai river bank, he hears that the marriage is over and so he gets infuriated. As a consequence, he returns to Alagarkovil delivering all the gifts which he bought to Meenakshi and Sundereswarar. This historical event is re-enacted in a mandapam in the middle of river vaigai at Chithirai festival.

Madurai Chithirai Thiruvizha (Chithirai Festival) KallAlagar Festival Madurai

Das means ten in number. Avatharam means incarnation. Dasavatharam, on the whole, means the ten forms of Lord Vishnu. The idol of god will be shown in all the ten incarnations in an outstanding manner at Chithirai festival. Many different poojas and rituals will be done in devotion to god. This will be celebrated at Ramarayar Mandapam in the Northern part of river Vaigai.

After the Dasavatharam festival, in Meenakshi Amman temple, Lord Alagar will be brought in a palanquin decorated with sweet smelling flowers. It is a tradition and custom followed by the devotees in order to show their reverence in the welcoming lord.

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