24 November 2014

Durgai Ursavam—November 23, 2014

The Brahmmotsavam of Karthigai Deepam Festival in Tiruvannamalai is not confined to the Temple alone but involves the whole town. The rituals and ceremonies connected with it have endured for centuries. On the first 3 days of the 17 day Festival various functions occur at the Durga Amman Temple, Tiruvannamalai, and on the last four days of the Festival, functions include Theepal of various Gods on Ayyankulam Tank (Arunagirinathar Temple), and Hill rounding by the Gods on their chariots in order that they may give darshan and blessings to those who live around the Hill.

The three days of functions dedicated to Goddess Durga started last night (23 November, 2014) with Durgai Ursavam.

The reason for the unique connection with the Goddess at Durga Amman Temple to the Karthigai Festival is believed to be because of the Goddess and her fight with the demon Mahisha. Go to this link to read ‘The Fight with Mahishasura’.

In the Mahishasura legend, before fighting with the demon, the Goddess appointed four noble Bhairavis (celestial damsels) to keep watch on all four sides of Arunagiri. Ordering, that:

"Admit only those who have come to worship Arunachala and are tired, hungry and thirsty. Others should not enter. She then appointed strong men to guard the boundaries of Arunachala and continued Her penance at Her ashram."
[The Glory of Arunachala]

In accordance with the mythology of Arunachala, Durga is recognised as a Guardian of Arunachala and thus a precursor of the Deepam Festival is always a celebration of this aspect of the Goddess.

The Deepam itself which is lit on the night of MahaDeepam, depending on the advice of Priests consulting their astrological texts, can last from a minimum of 7 days to a maximum of 13 days. This year the lighting will take place on December 5, 2014.

The main Festival lasts for 10 days and will begin on Uttradam day (November 26, 2014) with flag hoisting (dhwajarohanam) marking the beginning of festivities. After this ceremony, the image of Arunachaleswarar along with other deities are installed in the Kalyana Mandapam, where they remain housed for the next 10 days so that visiting devotees may have darshan.

Processions occur both day and day inside the Temple and around the outside perimeter of Arunachaleswarar Kovil.

1 comment:

Itinerant Yogi said...

Great! Thanks for placing the festivities in a bit more context for us. :)