23 February 2015

Photographs of 2015 Mahashivaratri at Arunachaleswarar Temple

The below photographs are of the recent 2015 Mahashivaratri function celebrated at Arunachaleswarar Temple at Tiruvannamalai. To learn more about the legends and significance of Mahashivaratri as is observed at this place go to this link here.

The first photograph is of devotees performing worship by lighting camphor outside the main Raja Gopuram East Gate of the Temple. 

Main Temple Gate on Night of 2015 Mahashivaratri

Devotees going through the Temple Vallala Maharaja Gopuram

Generally both Theerthams inside the Temple Compound are closed to devotees, but on the evening of Mahashivaratri around 6 p.m. the gates of the Brahma Theertham traditionally open to allow devotees entry to light and place their individual Deepamas at the side of the tank. 

Lights around Brahma Lingam Tank, Arunachaleswarar Temple

Throughout the Temple Compound various groups of devotees engage in their own devotions throughout the evening of Mahashivaratri -- one of the Festivals celebrated at Arunachaleswarar Temple during which the Temple gates stay open all night. 

At the auditorium some devotees are watching cultural programmes. In the Moolasthanam others are attending the Kala Pujas and later on the Lingodhavamurti Puja. Other devotees are silently sitting in quiet spots in meditation. In the below photograph a small group of devotees are gathered in front of the Brahma Lingam Shrine in satsang and are observing the night of Mahashivaratri, singing bhajans dedicated to Lord Shiva. 

Singing bhajans in front of the Brahma Lingam Shrine

Devotees coming up from Tank after lighting their Deepam

Cultural Programme, Arunachaleswarar Temple Auditorium

Traditionally large kolams created by using salt rock crystals are made in the morning of the first day of the Festival. After their creation, devotees place small clay deepams around the kolam perimeters. The below depicts Saint Arunagirinathar -- who has many legends associated with this Temple. 

Arunagirinathar Kolam

Lingodbhavamurti Puja 

On the Night of Mahashivaratri, which in 2015 was observed on February 17th-18th, an abhishekham and puja ritual commenced at 12 midnight at the Sri Lingodbhavamurti. 

The manifestation of Shiva in a column of fire, carved in stone is known as the Lingodbhavamurti. It is always enshrined in the rear niche of a Shiva Lingam sanctum. Since most temples face east, the Lingodbhava faces West. The non-anthropomorphic form of the Shiva Lingam is a representation of this infinite cosmic column of fire, whose origins were not traceable by Brahma or Vishnu. The Shiva Lingam is the centre of reverence and worship in all Saivite temples. 

2015 Lingodbhavamurti Puja, Arunachaleswarar Temple

Lingodbhavamurti located outside the back of the Moolasthanam

Arti at 2015 Mahashivaratri Puja at Lingodbhavamurti

To learn more about the Lingodhavamurti at this Temple, and the legend of the Ketaki flower and why it is only used in Shiva worship one time a year -- i.e. the night of Mahashivaratri, visit my earlier posting at this link here


Sandra Vail from Australia said...

All the photographs you have posted for Shivaratri have really helped me understand a bit about the mood of the Festival.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting the article.

Itinerant Yogi said...

I enjoy being in the temple on Sivratri morning. Its not too crowded and you can really soak in the whole atmosphere. And then a long and languid girivalam in the night! Its a fascinating experience.