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Festivals of Tamilnadu
known for its traditions and culture. The advent of festivals
marks the reaffirmation of the cycle of life with its joys and
sorrows. Some of these ceremonies are purely pastoral, expressing
the joy of life. Others are connected with myths and legends,
sacred in our memories. Yet, others are temple festivals,
calculated to inspire the citizens with high ideals of ethics.
Nevertheless, all of them are associated with religion in some
form or other. Festivals of Tamil Nadu are all made fascinating
both to the eye and to the mind by appropriate rituals, music,
dance and other belongings. Festivals renew bonds both within the
family and with the community.
Main festival of Tamilnadu
The four-day Harvest festival is celebrated all over the state in
January. The festival begins on the last day of the Tamil month
with Bhogi Pongal followed by Surya Pongal on the next day. It is
on this day that Chakkara Pongal, a delicacy of harvest rice
cooked with jaggery, ghee and cashew nuts is offered to the Sun
God. The third day, Mattu Pongal is dedicated to the Cattle when
cows are bathed and adomed with colourful beads and flowers.
Jallikattu, the bullfight is held on the last day known as Kannum
Chithirai Festival - Maudrai
The Chithirai Festival is held in the famous Madurai temple, 500
kms. from Chennai. Starts from the Tamil month Chithirai, and ends
on the tenth day. The highlight is the procession of Lord Kallagar
(Lord Vishnu), the elder brother of Goddess Meenakshi, who
proceeds from his abode Alagarmalai, 30 kms. from Madurai, to give
away his sister in marriage to Lord Sundareswar. The celebration
is filled with pomp and festivity. The Kallagar entering the river
Vaigai is indeed a spectacular soul-ful sight.
Dance Festivals - Mamallapuram
The Dance Festival starts on the 25th of December every year and
conducted on all Saturdays. Sundays and Government holidays, upto
February first week. Dancers and musicians of repute from India
and abroad thrill the crowds every year. Folk dances of India are
other added attractions.
Natyanjali Dance Festivals
The temple city of Chidambaram pays special tribute to Lord
Nataraja the 'Cosmic dancer'. The setting is truly
divine-Chidambaram's gold-roofed temple, with pillars depicting
Lord Nataraja in 108 poses from Bharatha Natyam - Tamil Nadu's
A holy festival that will bring you to Kumbakonam once in 12 years
- the temple city that gets its name from "Kumbha" - the divine
pot. Legend has it that Brahma, the Creator, held a pot containing
nectar and the seed of creation. Shiva. in the form of a hunter
shot an arrow at the pot - spilling the nectar into the famous
Mahamagam tank at the Adi Kumbeswarar Temple.
Literally, 'Arubathimoovar' refers to the 63 saints of Shiva
canonised for leading exemplary lives of devotion and penance.
Bronze figures of these 63 saints adorn the magnificent Kapaliswar
Temple at Mylapore, Chennai. Once, every year, they are carried in
a colourful procession through the streets of Mylapore.
The summer festival might find you in the 'Queen of Hill
Stations', the evergreen Ooty; the exquisite Kodaikkanal or the
salubrious heights of Yercaud - where boat races, flower and fruit
shows are specially organised. Also, a splendid opportunity to go
trekking in any of Tamil Nadu's other hill stations that promise
unforgettable holidays off the beaten track.
Saral Vizha (Kuttalm or Courtallm)
A festival that makes a celebration out of a simple, daily
ritualbathing ! And indeed, a bath at the picturesque Courtallam
waterfalls is no ordinary event. The healing waters of the roaring
Courtallam are famed for their medicinal properties.
A truly secular festival - where devotees flock to the shrine of
saint Quadirwali, believed to do equal good to people of all
faiths. One of the descendants of the Saint is chosen as a Peer or
spiritual leader and is honoured with offerings. On the tenth day
of the festival, the Saint's tomb is annointed with sandalwood -
and later the holy sandal paste, renowned for its healing powers,
is distributed to everyone.
Dancing in a hypnotic trance to the rhythm of drums, devotees of
Muruga carry the 'Kavadi' a flower decked decoration, all the way
up the Palani Hills to fulfil their vow. According to Hindu
mythology, Idumban is said to have carried two sacred hillocks on
two ends of a pole placed on his shoulders.
Wondrous legends surround the church-the most famous being that of
the ship-wrecked Portuguese sailors, who in the 16th century,
vowed to build a great shrine for the Virgin Mary, for saving
their lives in a terrible storm. The Velankanni festival attracts
thousands, clad in orange robes to the sacred spot where the ship
landed. Equally famous are the Virgin Mary's miraculous healing
powers - earning for the church the name 'Lourdes of the East'.
Literally, this means the festival of 'nine nights' taking unique
and different forms in different states of India - all to
propitiate the goddess Sakthi, for power, wealth and knowledge.
Rows of glittering earthen lamps outside every home, and the
joyous burst of fire crackers mark Tamil Nadu's Festival of
Come December, Chennai celebrates her priceless heritage of
caruatic, music and dance to present a galaxy of star artistes,old