Individual devotees, organisations and Ashrams donated to Arunachaleswarar Temple towards the purchase of ghee for the recently completed 2014 Karthigai Deepam. In addition individual devotees climbed Arunachala over the duration of the Karthigai Festival to personally deliver their own ghee offerings, often in the form of small packets and bottles.
This year the flame on top of Arunachala, remained alight continuously for 11 days and at no time was the flame allowed to go out. Each day over 150 kgs of ghee (clarified butter) were fed to the flame.
|Puja before the pot is put into storage at Big Temple|
The giant cauldron took 10 men (from the fisherman caste) more than three hours to haul to the top of Arunachala. Women are not involved to carry the Cauldron or tend it whilst it's on the Hill. However women are always welcomed on the Hill during the Deepam Festival.
Each Cauldron is used for about 10 years before being replaced. The current one was first used in 2004. When it is time to create a new Cauldron, the old one will be taken to metal workers to be broken up and recycled in the production of the new pot. Each pot takes around Rs.10,000 to make. After Deepam the Cauldron was taken down the Hill by the same fisher-folk and after puja at Arunachaleswarar Temple, is kept in storage there until the next year.