24 November 2010

Maha Radham Arunachala Deepam 2010

One of the most well attended functions during the Arunachala Deepam Festival is always the day of the Maha Radham. On this day, five enormous chariots carrying representations of the Gods, circumbulate the perimeter of the 26 acre Arunachaleswarar Temple compound. The largest of these chariots is the Maha Radham, carrying the Lord Arunachaleswarar.

Over the years another major part of the day of 'Maha Radham' is ‘karumbu thottil’ -- which involves the fulfilment of a vow by parents, who previously promised Lord Arunachaleswarar that if granted a child, would return and carry the child in a 'sugar cane cradle' around the Temple.

A short narrative in a National newspaper on this subject begins thus:

"Hundreds of parents circumbulated Sri Arunachaleswarar temple in Tiruvannamalai town carrying their child in ‘karumbu thottil’, a cradle made of a new silk sari tied to sugarcane, to fulfil their prayers to Lord Arunachaleswarar.

A common sight on the seventh and tenth days of the Karthigai Deepam festival, the ritual is the culmination of a vow made to the deity. The devotees and temple priests strongly believe that couples will be blessed with a child if they promise to Lord Annamalaiyar that they will carry the infant around the temple in a sugarcane cradle. Not less than 10,000 couples kept their vow this year." To continue reading go to this link here.

This year at the beginning of the day long circumbulation, there was an incident in which the back wheels of the huge chariot over ran a number of devotees. We can report that no lives were lost and the devotees involved in the incident are now recovering.

In some of the below photographs, its possible to gauge the size and weight of the huge chariots, which are pulled with chains manually by devotees (gents on the right, ladies on the left) around the vast Temple perimeter.

By the time the Chariots have completed their full circumbulation of Arunachaleswarar Temple, it is late in the evening, and the chariots are once again positioned in their permanent homes on the side of 'Car Street' in the front of Arunachaleswarar Temple.

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