13 November 2016

2016 Pavala Kundru Mahakumbhabhishekam Preparations

Kumbhabhishekam is a ritual that is believed to homogenize, synergise and unite the mystic powers of the deity. Kumbha means the Head and denotes the Shikhara or Crown of the Temple (usually in the Gopuram) and Abhishekam is ritual bathing (hence the term Kumbha + Abhishekam).

Mahakumbhabhishekam is held either to formally consecrate a new Temple or reconsecrate an old one, and generally occurs at twelve-year intervals or specifically following renovation, extensive cleaning or renewal. In the case of the Pavala Kundru Temple, this ritual was performed after completion of major renovation work. The below photographs are of preparations prior to this Mahakumbhabhishekam.

Temporary railings installed on side of steps leading to the Hillside Temple

Railings extending all the way to the top of the Hillock

Devotees climbing to the Temple

Preparations outside the Temple's major shrine room

Scaffolding around Lord Nandi in preparation of consecration of Vimana on top of Shrine

Renovation and painting throughout

View of Tiruvannamalai from Temple

View of Arunachaleswarar Temple from Pavala Kundru

Tent for Yagasala erected adjacent to Temple

Consecration rites extend over several days, with the main ones taking place in the shamian (tent) erected adjacent to the Shrine. The tent becomes a Yagasala, a “House of the Fire Offerings,” where rites of consecration are performed at specially constructed altars. These homams infuse divinity and spiritual power into kalasas (sanctified pots) filled with consecrated water. 

Divine Power is transferred back to the deities by performing an abhishekam (salutary bathing) to the Vigrahas and Vimanas (pinnacles) on the roof of the Temple with the sanctified holy waters from the kalasas accompanied by Vedic chanting and special rites. On that day at the designated auspicious time, when the Kumbha is bathed with the charged and sanctified holy waters contained in the sacrificial pots, consecrated and sanctified pranic powers trickle down a silver wire and enter the Deity installed inside the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Temple. 

After the consecration of the Vimanas on top of the Temple, worship is then specifically performed inside the Sanctum Sanctorum in which further pranic powers are transferred to the Deities 

Inside the Yagasala

Scaffolding around the Vimanas which will be bathed (consecrated) on the final day of ceremonies. 

Pavala Kundru sits on a hillock which is a spur of Arunachala

To view photographs of the actual Mahakumbhabhishekam ceremony go to this earlier link here


S.Kumar said...

This is one of my favourite Temples in Tiruvannamalai. Very unusual. Do the Langur monkeys still come down and visit the Shrine?

Meenakshi Ammal said...

Yes love the Langur monkeys ... the Fred Astaire of primates in their graceful movement and beauty. They used to heavily populate areas around the east side of the Hill, specially near the Pachaiamman Temple. But when they renovated the water tank at Pachaiamman Temple, the monkeys stopped visting in such numbers. As to the Pavala Kundru Temple, there are so many encroachments close to the Temple, the Langurs are not as relaxed as they used to be.

However and very sadly the Langurs have had to forgo their natural shyness (as their habitat is being taken away from them at an alarming rate) and enter more heavily populated areas. They are now commonly viewed on the southside of the Hill at Ramana Nagar and the Ashrams there. As the Bonnet Macaque monkeys previously had a monoply in that area . . . they are not too happy that their elegant and beautiful primate cousins are moving in!