11 June 2013

Mahabhishekam Somaskanda, Big Temple

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


Divya said...

Did you take these photos? I thought they didn't allow photos inside temples! At any rate, they are absolutely GORGEOUS color and quality, and what a wonderful service to document and preserve the event forever! Great work!

Meenakshi Ammal said...

No, I didn't take the photos. They were taken by an official, accredited Temple photographer. As long as the photographer is approved, there is definitely more leeway in photographic and video coverage of functions at Arunachaleswarar Temple.

However definitely NO photographs allowed even by official photographs taken inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Shiva and Amman Shrines.