16 November 2015

2015 Karthigai Deepam Flag Hoisting Ceremony

Lord Arunachaleswarar and Goddess Unnamulai 

The commencement of the utsavam or festival is marked by a ceremony called the Dhwajarohanam or the hoisting of the flag. Dwajasthambam literally means "flag pole." Comparing the Temple structure to the human body; the main sanctum is the head, Mahamandapam, the central portion is the body and the Rajagopuram represent the feet. 

At Arunachaleswarar Temple the flag post is located outside the Shiva Sannidhi and is made of wood with an overlay of brass and a gold coating.

Raising of the Flag

A cloth flag is hoisted during Temple Festivals (Brahmostavam) according to the rules of Agama. The flag tree is representative of Lord Shiva, the flag tree cloth marks Shakti, the flag marking represents the soul and the thread of the flag marks grace. 

Dhwajarohanam is a public act of sankalpa (action made to impress an idea on the mind) which indicates a vow undertaken (in this case) by the people of the town to celebrate Brahmostavam. Hence no-one present within the town limits on the occasion of the Dhwajarohanam is expected to leave the town or do any other thing such as marriage etc., until the Festival is over. The close of the Festival is marked by the Dhwajavarohanam or the lowering of the flag. 

Offical beginning of 2015 Karthigai Deepam Festival

Between the raising and lowering of the flag, Arunachaleswarar Temple will be host to two kinds of activity during the day. Each morning and evening the five deities; Siva, Sakthi, Subrahmanya, Ganapati and Chandikesvara go around the perimeter streets of the Temple. Before leaving the Temple, the Gods are worshipped in the mandapam hall where a homam is performed twice a day, and thereupon the Gods receive on their foreheads a black spot made of ash (vibhutti) mixed with ghee. On the seventh day the same deities, each on a wooden radham, are led around the Temple perimeter streets in a day long procession 

Devotees attending the Flag Hoisting Ceremony

During this 2015 Karthigai Deepam Festival the Gods of Arunachaleswarar Temple will be taken out seated on differently built Temple vehicles (vaghanams) like Rishaba (Bull), Elephant, Cow (Kamadhenu—a mythical animal), palanquins, chariots or Radhams (Thers). 

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