Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year 2009

Wish you all a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2009
May the Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar brings health, happiness, joy and wealth to you and your family this 2009. At Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, special puja is performed to the deities on this occasion.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hanuman Jayanthi Festival

Hanuman Jayanthi festival will going to celebrate all over India on 27, December 2008. Sri Hanuman is worshipped all over India-either alone or together with Sri Rama. Hanuman is called as Rudhra Avatar, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. He was born of the Vayu Bhagawan and Anjani Devi. He is the living embodiment of Ram-Nam. He was a great devotee of Lord Rama and an exceptional Brahmachari or celibate. Also Hanuman is the best friend of Lord Rama. He possessed all the divine virtues. He is otherwise called as "Anjana Putra", "Vayu Putra", "Maruti", "Anjaneya", etc. There is no temple without Hanuman Statue or Idol. Mostly, Hanuman idols are available at Lord Vishnu temples and Shiva temples too. During Hanuman Jayanthi, Sri Hanuman is performed special abhisekams, pujas and aaradhanas. At Meenakshi Amman Temple special pujas and abhisekams offered to Sri Hanuman on this occasion. Sri Hanuman saves people those who have suffered from Sani Dhosam.
Jai Sri Ram! Jai Hanuman!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ashtami Chapparam Festival: Chariot Procession

One of the prominent festival among the various festivals of Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple is "Ashtami Chapparam Festival", chariot procession. The procession would be held on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 5.30 a.m. Lord Sundareswarar and Goddess Priyavidai in one Chariot and Goddess Meenakshi in another chariot. The chariot is fully decorated with colorful clothes, various flowers and garlands. One of the notable feature of this festival is that Goddess Meenakshi's hair is fully decorated with "Thazhampoo", a kind of flower. The chariot is hand drawn by devotees itself. Another salient feature of the event is that the Goddess Meenakshi's chariot is hand drawn by women devotees alone. The chariot procession starts at 5.30 a.m. The temple priests will perform special pujas, aaradhanas and start the procession. The procession covered all the four veli streets of Madurai.

This festival is one of the Thiruvilayadal of Lord Sundareswarar. The feature of this festival is that Lord Sundareswarar provides foodstuff to all living beings on this day. The story behind this is festival is once upon a time, Goddess Parvathi played a small game with Lord Shiva to test His power. She picked an hungry ant and closed it in a box. Afterwards, She said to Lord Shiva, You are providing food to all living beings is it? Lord Shiva smiled and said Yes. Then what about this ant? This ant is so hungry. You did not provide any food to this being. Once again, Lord Shiva smiled and asked Gowri to view the ant. Maa Gowri viewed and surprised, a small piece of rice is in the box and ant is eating it. What a great miracle is! Ashtami Chapparam attracts devotees from far and near. Thousands of devotees gathered on the four veli streets of Madurai to view the "
Ashtami Chapparam" of Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple.

Hara Hara Sankara Maha Deva
Shiva Shiva Sankara Maha Deva
Soma Sundara Maha Deva
Meenakshi Sundara Maha Deva

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Margazhi Thingal Festival - Mahotsavam - Maha Utsavam

Margazhi - It is the one of the most significant month among twelve tamil months. The Margazhi 2008 festival starts on Tuesday, December 16, 2008. Margazhi festival is celebrated at all temples in Tamilnadu and India. Mainly this festival is celebrated in all Vishnu temples and Shiva temples. Likewise, Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple is also celebrating Margazhi Mahotsavam every year. Margazhi festival is otherwise called as Margazhi Utsavam, Margazhi Maha Utsavam, Margazhi Mahotsavam, etc., The holy pilgrimage to Sabarimala Swami Ayyappa Temple comes to the closing stage at the Margazhi end. The notable feature of this month are Bhakti and Music.
Significance of Margazhi Maha Utsavam

Margazhi month is an essential month among twelve tamil months, since it is the month for deities. During this month, all deities visiting the earth at early morning (ie. Brahma Muhurtham period - 4.30 a.m. to 6.00 a.m.). In Bhagavat Gita, Lord Krishna says, He is Margazhi among the twelve tamil months. Hence all the temples opened earlier and all people go to the temple at early morning during this month. The another importance of this margazhi is that the Tamil Holy Scriptures "Thiruppavai" and "Thiruvempavai" are read during this month.

History of Margazhi Thingal

Margazhi Thingal denotes Margazhi month, in tamil "Thingal" indicates month. The story behind this Margazhi festival is that Goddess Lakshmi incarnated as "Andal" in the earth, which is now called as holy place "Srivilliputhur" (Thiruvilliputhur). One significant feature of this temple is that this temple tower is the "Emblem of Tamilnadu". After certain stage, Andal wishes to marry Lord Vishnu. So, She started Vrata called as Margazhi Nonbu (Pavai Nonbu) during this month. All the days in this month She wake up early morning and hum songs on Lord Vishnu called as "Thiruppavai"
with her friends. Finally, She got married with Lord Vishnu. Some of the few lines of Thiruppavai Song,

"Margazhi Thingal Mathi Niraindha Nannalal
Neerada Podhuveer. . . . ."

Similary, one of the four major saint of Sri Saivam "Manickavasagar" chant songs on Lord Shiva called as "Thiruvempavai".
We could get the full grace of Holy Divine Beings either by reading or listening the holy scriptures "Thiruppavai" and "Thiruvempavai" on this month.

Important days and festivals in Margazhi month

The most important days and festivals in the month of Margazhi are:

  • Hanuman Jayanthi
  • Vaikunta Ekadasi
  • Ashtami Chapparam
  • Thiruvadirai Nakshatra or Star
  • Arudhra Darshan
  • Bogi Festival

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Thiru Karthigai Deepam Festival - Tiruvannamalai Deepam

Thiru Karthigai Deepam is one of the famous festival celebrated by Hindus, which appeared in the tamil month of Karthigai and occuring during the Karthigai star. Hence this festival is called as Maha Karthigai or Thiru Karthigai festival. The festival is going to be celebrated on Thursday, December 11, 2008. This festival is celebrated with oil lamps and lights which denotes the removal of darkness (Ignorance) and enhancing of light (Intelligence). This festival is celebrated in all Hindu Temples. Especially, this festival is mainly dedicated to one of the holy place in South India Temple, Tiruvannamalai, abode of Lord Shiva which is called as Agni Shetram or Agni Sthalam (one of the five attributes called Panchaboothams). Hence, this festival is otherwise called as Tiruvannamalai Deepam, Maha Deepam, Arunachala Deepam, etc.

Video Clipping of Thiruvannamalai Maha Deepam

Also in Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, this festival is celebrating every year very grantly. Lord Shiva and Meenakshi Amman take a procession in the decorated chariot in Rishaba Vahana. The most important thing behind this festival is "Chokkappanai". This chokkapanai will be burned in front of Lord Shiva and Goddess Meenakshi. After completion of the burning, the ash is taken and put in the forehead of Lord and Goddess. Finally the Deeparanda is performed to both Lord and Goddess.

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