22 November 2017

2017 Karthigai Deepam Festival: Pidari Amman Urchavam—Tuesday November 21, 2017

The Pidari Amman Shrine is located in the Third Prakaram of Arunachaleswarar Temple. In front of the Shrine stands a huge stone Trishul (Trident). On Tuesday, November 21, 2017, Pidari Urchavam was observed at this Shrine.

Goddess Pidari is an aspect of Kali in a rural setting and regarded as a consort of Siva. Pidari is the ferocious aspect of Amman. The Mother Goddess gives life but Kali takes life. Goddess Pidari is the feminine form of Kala—time. Kali is the energy or the power of time. Her blackness swallows all that exists and the emptiness of space is her clothing, for when the Universe is dissolved, the power of time remains without maya (veil).

Kali’s extension, Pidari and her worship; evolved as a fighter and warrior and gained importance with the influence of Tantrism where she is known as Kala Pidari. The Pidari Goddess, in line with Shakti manifestations, emphasises fierce symbolism. At times Pidari is the sole resident deity in a village. As devata, She is the all-in-all for the village from simple prayers to divine blessings. Otherwise she watches over the main deity of a temple in her role as ‘kaval deivam’ while taking her seat in a structure on the right hand side of a temple entrance. She joins the ‘kavaldeivam’ or Protection Gods’ similar to that of Ayyanar, Muniandy, Karuppana Swamy or Veerabhadra, all of whom are warrior-protection village gods.

Pidari shares Kali’s attributes and is depicted holding a noose, trident, skull cup and a pointed knife. The noose is sometimes replaced by ankusha—the elephant goad. The damaru that she holds is entwined by a snake, thus sharing Siva’s characteristics. She has flaming hair and three eyes. Sometimes her breasts are decorated with snakes. She has a terrifying appearance with long incisor teeth to frighten off evil spirits. Her sculptures are sometimes synonymous with Goddess Mariamman and lime strung as a garland—‘elumichai malai’ is her favourite.

Goddess Pidariamman Alangaram

The Goddess on procession on way to the Pidariamman Shrine

Pidariamman Shrine, 3rd Prakaram

Huge stone Trishul in front of the Pidariamman Shrine

After puja at Shrine, the Goddess carried out of Arunchaleswarar Temple through the Thitti Vassal Gate

The Goddess on her Simha Vahana in Mandapam

The Goddess will now be taken on procession around the perimeter (mada veedhis) streets around Arunachaleswarar Temple

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