- Chittirai festival
- The Chittirai festival that takes place in Tamil Nadu state, in MADURAI and Alakar Kovil Temple and points in between, is one of the largest South Indian festivals. It takes place in the Sanskrit lunar month of Chaitra (Tamil, Chittirai), correspond-ing to April or May. It brings together the Shaivite and the Vaishnavite (see SHAIVISM; VAISHNAVISM) communities of the region in a single, two-part celebration. Apparently, this larger festival is in fact a combination of two festivals that once took place a few weeks apart. The joining of the two into one festival was the work of the Telegu king of Madurai Tirumala Nayak (1623–59).The Madurai part of the celebration tells the tale of MINAKSHI, the goddess of Madurai, and her marriage to Sundreshvara (Shiva). It is focused on the monumental MEENAKSHI temple, with its four 100-foot towers, at the center of the city. Here, the festival lasts 12 full days, but it is the 10th day, when the huge temple car carrying Minakshi and her husband, Shiva, is pulled by devotees on the streets that encircle the temple, that is most dramatic. This temple car is elaborate and grand with wheels about 10 feet high and a canopy over the divinities that reaches to 40 feet. Devotees vie to pull on the heavy one-foot-thick ropes to con-vey the cart on a circumambulation of the temple. This temple parade is carried out each year after Minakshi and Sundereshvara (Shiva) are married.The kings of Madurai were traditionally associ-ated with the god Shiva. The festival’s marriage of the god Shiva to Minakshi not only joins an indigenous, non-Aryan goddess to an ARYAN and Brahmani-cal divinity, but symbolizes a link in sovereignty between Shiva/king and the local population.The second part of the festival starts in the mountains 70 miles west of Madurai. There the god Alakar, a form of Vishnu, proceeds toward Madurai and the Vaikai River as part of his annual outing. As it happens, VISHNU is the brother of Minakshi and is going to give the bride away to Shiva. Unfortunately, when he reaches the Vaikai River, in sight of the great temple of his sister, he discovers that he has arrived late at the wedding and must return. The Kallar community, relatively low-caste devotees of Vishnu, play a prominent role in this part of the festival, which lasts nine days.Further reading: D. Dennis Hudson, The Two Chitra Festivals of Madurai in Religious Festivals in South India and Sri Lanka. Edited by Guy R. Welbon and Glenn E. Yocum (Delhi: Manohar, 1982); William P. Harman, The Sacred Marriage of a Hindu Goddess (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.
Look at other dictionaries:
Meenakshi Amman Temple — View of the temple … Wikipedia
Madurai — This article is about the municipality in Tamil Nadu, India. For its namesake district, see Madurai district. Madurai மதுரை Athens of the East city … Wikipedia
Minakshi — Minakshi is the GODDESS of the city of Madurai. Her shrine is the site of one of India’s most spectacular temples, the Meenakshi Sundareshvarar Temple. Her name (mina, fish; aksha, eye) is understood to mean “she whose eyes are the shape of… … Encyclopedia of Hinduism
Badhri Narayanan temple — Badri Narayanan temple is a holy temple in the Madurai District in the entrance of Alagar Koil in the state of Tamil Nadu.The temple is built in the style of the Badrinath temple.Lord Balaji is in seated position in this temple. An idol of the… … Wikipedia
Meenakshi Temple, Madurai — The Meenakshi Sundareshvarar Temple at Madu rai, dedicated to the goddess Meenakshi (MINAKSHI) and to SHIVA as the beautiful lord (Sundaresh varar), is one of the largest in India. The original temple was built by Kulasekara Pandyan, a king,… … Encyclopedia of Hinduism
Malaysian Indian — Malaysian Indians … Wikipedia
Avinashi — The word Avinashi means that which is indestructible. It is a small town situated near Tirupur and Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. The town is famous for the Shiva temple constructed by Sundarapandiya is closely associated with the great Saiva saint… … Wikipedia
Kovilpatti — Infobox Indian Jurisdiction native name = Kovilpatti type = town latd = 9.17 | longd = 77.87 locator position = right state name = Tamil Nadu district = Thoothukudi leader title = leader name = altitude = 106 population as of = 2001 population… … Wikipedia
Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram — Chidambaram Temple … Wikipedia
Kodumudi — Infobox Indian Jurisdiction native name = Kodumudi | type = small city | latd = 11.08 | longd = 77.88 locator position = right | state name = Tamil Nadu district = Erode leader title = leader name = altitude = 144 population as of = 2001… … Wikipedia