14 March 2017

King Vallalan's Funeral Rites: March 12, 2017

King Vallalan was an ardent Saivite who made many improvements to Arunachaleswarar Temple. What is now known as Tiruvannamalai was located near the geographical centre of the King’s empire, which led him to often make long stays at this place. It is generally believed that during the last fifteen years of his reign he permanently resided at Tiruvannamalai.

In a concluding verse on King Vallalan in the Arunachala Puranam, Lord Siva undertakes to perform King Vallalan’s funeral rites for him, a task which is normally performed by the son of the deceased. The promise is still remembered in Tiruvannamalai and each year King Vallalan’s funeral is re-enacted to commemorate the event. 

This annual commemoration which occurred this year on Sunday 12 March, 2017; began with Temple priests reading out the news of King Vallalan’s death to Lord Arunachaleswarar. Then the Lord was carried in procession to the village of Pallikonda Pattu, close to Tiruvannamalai, for performance of the King Vallalan's sraddha rites. 

This year's immersion occurred in a specially created water tank at Pallikonda Pattu. 

The connection between Pallikonda Pattu and the life and death of King Vallalan is no longer known. It is unlikely he lived at that place, since his palace is thought to have been located about a mile to the east of the main Temple. Until about a hundred years ago the last remains of what was reputed to be his palace could still be seen there, but around the turn of the century the land was levelled and cultivated and the railway line from Villupuram to Tirupathi now runs across the site. 

King Vallalan

Vallala Gopuram

Procession from Arunachaleswarar Temple to Pallikonda Pattu

Specially created tank for immersion

The Sulam being immersed in tank

After immersion, abhishekham is performed on the Sulam

After abhishekam, aarti offered to Sulam


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