I have been meaning to write a series on Arupathimoovar after the series of Azhwars, but never got around doing same till now.
The first time I tried, I wanted to begin with the Arupathimoovar festival in Mylapore, but since I could not combine with it, I dropped the idea.
Now right after this year’s Arupathimoovar festival, I hope to start with a blog on one Nayanmar on every Monday and Thursday.
To begin with, Arupathimoovar festival is something I have only heard of all these years. Despite being a Chennaite, I have never had the opportunity to see the festival.
This year, I wanted to go at least on one day and as usual thanks to my sister Jayashree’s persuasion with a bit of pressure on me, I visited on the day of Arupathimoovar urchavam.
I have to say that I was zapped by the sight of the whole area. First of all, vehicles were stopped at the junction of Luz Church Road and only pedestrians were allowed beyond this point. I was stunned to see the ever empty Thirumayilai MRTS station full of people.
It was a great sight to see refreshments being distributed free of cost at a number of thannir pandals (தண்ணீர் பந்தல்) (these are still called thannir pandals though they offered right from biryani, sambar rice, biscuits, chocolates and what not!). As far as I could see these thannir pandals were not just around the temple but in the whole area all the way to Alwarpet.
The path was already full with roadside vendors selling a variety of stuff right from coconut/banana/camphor to be offered to the Lord to toys for the kids.
One eyesore were the paper plates and cups strewn on the same path as well as in the median. Some had even thrown leftover eatables. Of course this was the first time I was there during the festival so I am not sure whether this happens every year or it was messier this year!
The crowd was so much that people were really pushing each other to move forward. I managed to reach the junction before the theppa kulam and there was some breathing space. I could hear the police announcing names of people from different parts of the city who had missed their kith and kin and was in search of them which made me feel a bit bad about not making an attempt to attend this festival even once despite having lived in Chennai all my life!
In front of theppa kulam was a long line of Gods and I saw Kolavizhi Amman first followed by Draupathi Amman, Periyanayaki sametha Vaaliswarar and Ganapathy.
|Kolavizhi Amman (கோலவிழி அம்மன்)|
|Draupadi Amman (திரௌபதி அம்மன்)|
After these Gods were the great Arupathimoovars preceded by Poompavai and Sivanesar!
I could read the name placards of some of the deities only as it was a procession of four nayanmars on each palanquin.
As I was slowly taking photos of the first few rows, suddenly the procession started moving at a good speed and I managed to catch a small movie of same.
All this while, my sister Jayashree was somewhere in the crowd and we were communicating only on the mobile. Jayashree, who is more familiar with the rituals of the day as she had visited last year, said that what I saw was only the tip of the iceberg and processions of many Gods and Goddesses led by Kapaleeswarar and Karpagambal were elsewhere. As I did not have much time and was a bit keen to catch the CSK match and had a long way to go home, I called it a day.
Kindly wait for the blog on Nayanmars on Thursday, 12 April 2012!