29 November 2017

2017 Arunachala Karthigai Festival: Day 7. All Day—Maharadham

The 7th day of the  Arunachala Karthigai Deepam Festival is probably the most popular of all the ceremonial processions of the Deepam Festival. It is the day the Radhams are hauled by devotees around the mada veedhis of Arunachaleswarar Temple.

This day all the panchamoorthies participate in the procession, each in their own wooden chariot. The third chariot to start on procession is that of Lord Chandrasekhara and is known as the Maharadham (Wooden Chariot). 

The last two chariots to proceed around the perimeter streets of Arunachaleswarar Temple are those of the Goddess, and Chandikeswarar (Chandesa) i.e. steward to the Gods.

The Ter (Chariot)

“Ter-pulling Festivals are to be understood as a royal progress. In Tamil Hindu Temple rites, the “ter” is at once a war-chariot, a mobile palace and a representation of the God’s Temple. During these Festivals the God (or Goddess) is enthroned on his “ter” and vested with royal trappings; the great car is then drawn in triumph along its designated procession route.

This route is the Deity’s symbolic kingdom. As He proceeds among His worshippers, He (or the priest-attendants who act on His behalf) receives the offerings which are presented by His subject-devotees; the God returns these presentations in the form of prasad. These ceremonial exchanges affirm the God’s sovereign status, and they also express the bonds of social rank and primacy which are continually being built up and recorded among his devotees.”
[Saints, Goddesses and Kings by Susan Bailey]

---  oOo  ---

The first picture below is a map of the mada veedhis (perimeter streets) of Arunachaleswarar Temple. Processions go clockwise starting at the East side. All the five wooden chariots of the 7th day are permanently stationed on Car Street close to the Alankaram Mandapam (marked on map).

The Chariots are permanently stationed on Car Street near the Alankaram Mandapam

From early morning pilgrims have crowded around the Chariots on Car Street before the start of processions

Maharadham positioned in front of the loading mandapam and ready to start off

Maharadham on Thiruvoodal Street

Maharadham with ladies; pulling on the Chariot's left and gents on the Chariot's right

The chariot has nearly come to the top of Thiruvoodal Street

The chariot has left Thiruvoodal Street and has now turned right and proceeding on the West Side of the Temple on Pey Gopura Street

No comments: