The photographs are of Mahabhishekam Puja performed once a year at Arunachaleswarar Temple on the day of amavasya (this year June 8, 2013) during Vaikasi month on the Somaskanda manifestation of Lord Shiva.
|Devotees sitting in front of the Somaskanda icon|
Somaskanda is a particular form of representation of the four-armed Shiva with the Goddess Parvati to his left and the joyous, dancing child Skanda in between.
|Crowds of devotee present to watch the puja|
This Somaskanda aspect of Lord Shiva represents the Supreme Godhead as a father by the side of his family and the Lord’s consort, Goddess Parvati as a graceful mother, full of tenderness for their son Skanda who is dancing with ecstasy in the middle of his parents.
|Somaskanda Mahabhishekam, June 2013|
This family-group depiction of Shiva originated during the sixth to eighth century in South India and not only Arunachaleswarar Temple, but many Shiva Temples in Tamil Nadu bear a Somaskanda representation behind the Shiva Lingam at the sanctum sanctorum.
|Lord Shiva and Parvati, with ecstatic, dancing Skanda|