Immediately after our trip to Mylai Karpagambal Koil for the Golu, my sister Jayashree decided that she will take me to Vadapalani Koil for Soorasamharam during Kanda Sashti. I readily agreed to this as Murugan is my all time favourite God!
Last Friday, being the sixth and last day of Kanda Sashti, we checked with Vadapalani temple and found that Soorasamharam will start by 7 pm. We left our respective offices by 5.30 pm and met at the bus stop near the temple. Jayashree’s friend, Lakshmi also accompanied us. We entered the road leading to the temple and found several policemen controlling the crowd behind the rope barricades. As it was only about 6.15 pm then, we decided to go into the temple for darshan and then come back and find a place to stand.
As expected the temple was quite crowded. First we had a good darshan of Vinayakar followed by Sokkanadhar, looking very majestic with velli kavasam and suriyan and chandran on either side on the top of the Lingam. We could just have a quick look at the Valli Devasena samedha Subramaniyar as there was a big crowd at this sannidhi. Murugan was looking very handsome with vibudhi kaapu. The huge mandapam near this sannidhi was very crowded and we could not see what was happening inside. We understood that Murugan Ambalidam vel vaangum katchi (before the battle) was happening there. In the front part of the mandapam was the Urchavamurthy on Mayil vaahanam. The Lord was in regal alangaram. We gave the panneer bottle we had bought there and had archanai done for all of us. We took the prasadam and went to Sevvai sannidhi and had a good darshan there. Next was Meenakshi Ammai’s sannidhi. Ambal was looking beautiful in manjal kaapu in a grand pink nine yards sari. We spent quite a few minutes there taking in the beauty of the Goddess. Next was the kannaadi mandapam with Arumugar. I noticed that this mandapam has been made into a smaller one since before. During my earlier visits, I have noticed that the mandapam was big enough for one to do pradakshinam inside whereas now they have made it smaller that one can do pradakshinam only outside the mandapam. We could not see the tail of the queue to the Moolavar - வடபழனி ஆண்டவர் sannidhi as it was extremely long. We just took a chance and jumped onto the high platform and had a quick glimpse of Murugan in Raja alangaram. By the time we went near the Dwajasthambam to do namaskaram, there was a sudden rush and we realised that a smaller idol of Lord Murugan was being taken round the temple.
We immediately rushed out of the temple so that we can find a good place for main event for which we had come – Soorasamharam. As soon as we came out, we noticed that the crowd had doubled and there was no way we could get a place to stand near the temple. We were pushed into a street on the left side of the temple and were allowed to stand there outside the rope barricades.
When we had entered the temple, the loudspeakers were playing devotional songs, but now, we could hear the story of Kandapuranam being narrated with a commentary in between on when the Soorasamharam will begin. As the time neared, there was a frenzy in the crowd and a tiff between the police and the public with the police warning us to take precautions as during the procession, there was a chance of chain snatching, pickpocket etc. People inside the rope barricade objected to our standing in front of them and we were pushed further inside the road.
We started wondering whether we will get at least a glimpse of Soorasamharam from our position and lo and behold, Soorapadman came right in front of us and Murugan fought with him in front of us and beheaded him. Sooran came with Aatu thalai and was beheaded again. Maatu thalai, Puli thalai, Yaali thalai and Yaanai thalai followed and all the battles took place very near us. Each time the Sooran came near us, we were pushed towards the wall by the crowd and as soon as he was beheaded and taken to the centre, the crowd again moved to the centre and so on!
As it was Bala Murugan who defeated the Sooran, the idol of Murugan was quite small compared to that of Sooran. Despite the small stature, the Lord appeared quite royal. After beheading the different forms of Sooran, the Sooran reappeared with his original face and Murugan did the Samharam. The narrator explained that though actually the Sooran took the form of a Maamaram (mango tree) and Murugan cut it vertically and it transformed into Seval and Mayil, it was not possible to show this in this event and hence the Samharam is shown with Sooran’s original face itself. After the Samharam, the procession went to the centre in front of the temple and the crowd started moving. We had a darshan of the huge Urchavamurthy of Murugan decked with many flower garlands and grand alangaram and moved out of the place without getting caught in the crowd.
Thank you, Jayu, for the wonderful experience of Soorasamharam.