28 February 2012

2012 Mahashivaratri Festival Celebrations

The below photographs are a pictorial history of the 2012 Mahashivaratri Festival as celebrated at the Arunachaleswarar Temple here at Tiruvannamalai. To remind yourself of the programme for the Festival, check out my earlier posting.

It has become traditional at Arunachaleswarar Temple to decorate the floors inside the Temple Compound with large coloured drawings representing certain aspects of Lord Shiva and the Festival.

The first photograph is of a drawing of Five Face Shiva. To find out the significance of this aspect of Shiva, check out my link here.

The next photograph is of a drawing of Shiva with Parvati (as Pachaiamman). This aspect of Pachaiamman (i.e. green) is found in particular at the famous Shakti Temple of Pachaiamman on the Southeast slope of Arunachala. To read more about the Goddess, in the form of Pachaiamman read this earlier posting.

The below is of Seshadri Swamigal on the left and Ramana Maharshi on the right. Both of whom were known to have spent considerable time meditating inside various parts of the Arunachaleswarar Temple during their lives.

The floor decorations were created in the early part of February 20 (this year's date for Mahashivaratri) and as the day slowly turned into dusk and the evening, devotees decorated the perimeters of the Temple Tanks with small deepams.

As the evening turned into night, interested pilgrims started to congregate around the Mulasthana Lingam, where a series of puja were scheduled throughout the night and early morning of February 20 and 21.

Those more interested in cultural activities congregated at the outside Temple Hall (located near Rukku, the Temple Elephant) and watched a series of Bharat Natayam dancers.

And also a dancing display
from the younger ones

The famed musician commonly known as 'Drums Mani' performed a well received musical programme.

At 12 midnight on the 20th February a special puja and alankaram were performed on the Lingodbhava behind the sanctum of the Mulasthana Lingam.

Mahashivaratri is the only night of the year that the Ketaki Flower (screwpine) is used in the worship of Lord Shiva.

To read the famous story of the Shiva column of Light and how the Ketaki Flower supported Brahma's lie to Shiva and the consequences of the lie, check out this link here.

White Ketaki flower at
top of the Lingodbhavamurti

During the evening of this year's Mahashivaratri, statues of Arunachaleswarar and Unnamulai were taken on pradakshina around the Temple. As can be seen from the photograph, Lord Arunachaleswarar was adorned with the Gowri Ruthatcha Malai that had recently been donated by a Salem devotee.

No comments: