Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thai Poosam - Theppotsavam Festival Video Clippings

Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple Theppotsavam - Theppa Thiruvizha
Mariamman Teppakkulam (Mariamman Tank), Madurai

Palani Temple Thai Poosam Festival

Melmaruvathur AdhiParasakthi Siddhar Peetam Thaipusam Festival

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Thaipusam: Thai Poosam and Theppotsavam Festival

Thaipusam (Thai Poosam) is a festival celebrated by the Hindus all over the world. This festival is mainly dedicated to Lord subramanya (son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi) and Amman on the full moon day in the Tamil month of Thai (January - February) particularly on Pusam star. This festival is pointing to the celebration of the birthday of Lord Subramanya. Thai Poosam is celebrated at all temples, especially at the following temples in a grand manner. At Palani Temple, one of the six abodes of Lord Muruga, Thaipusam is celebrated as a ten-day festival with great passion. People and devotees from various countries and cities come here during this festival. At Melmaruvathur AdhiParasakthi Sakthi Peetam, Thai Poosam festival starts with Thaipusam Jyoti and celebrated with a ten-day festival.

Thaipusam at Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple

At Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, the deities Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar will be taken out to attend the Theppam Festival at Marriamman Theppakulam. The temple will remain closed on this occasion and Pujas and offering will not be made on that day at the Sree Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple. This festival is called as the "Float Festival" (in Tamil: Theppa Thiruvizha, Theppotsavam).

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Thai Amavasya - Thai Amavasai

Thai Amavasya or Thai Amavasai is the new moon day in the Tamil month of Thai which is mainly dedicated to ancestors, forefathers, parents and other relatives who have died. Special prayers are offered to the ancestors and forefathers who have died on this day. Generally devotees visited Lord Shiva temples on the Amavasya day. Especially Thai and Aadi Amavasya are very important Amavasya than any other Amavasya. On this day, more devotees from various parts of the world take a holy dip in the various Theerthas-Thirthas (Holy Rivers and Seacoast). At Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, Thai Amavasya is celebrated every year. Special Pujas and prayers offering to Lord Sundareswarar and Goddess Meenakshi. The day is of great importance at the Rameshwaram Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple. Thousands of people take holy dip at Rameshwaram Agnitheertham (seacoast) in the morning to offer pithru tharpanam and pujas to the dead ancestors and forefathers. People believed that the souls of forefathers and ancestors who have died visit the earth on this Amavasya day to bless their children.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Kanu Mattu Pongal Festival and Famous Alanganallur Jallikattu

The third day of the Pongal Festival is the Mattu Pongal Festival mainly dedicated to the worship of cattles like Cows, Bulls and other farm animals. People pay thanksgiving and worshipped the cattles on this festival, since they help for the cultivation. Indian people believed that the Cow as the manifestation of Goddess Lakshmi and Bull as Nandi, who is the gate keeper of Lord Shiva. So, People offer prayers and Pongal to the Cow, Bull and other farm animals. At the early morning, the cattles are bathed, decorated and the horns are sharpened and painted with various colors. Also the cattles are fully adorned with garlands and tinkling bells. Special prayers offered to Lord Ganesh and Goddess Parvathi on this occasion. At Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, special prayers, pujas and deeparadhanas would be performed to Nandi during the Mattu Pongal Festival. Another notable feature of the Mattu Pongal Festival is the Jallikattu popularly known as Manju virattu.

Significance of Alanganallur Jallikattu

Jallikattu is a kind of sport played by the Tamilnadu People as a part of a Pongal celebration. This heroic sport is held at Alanganallur, near Madurai which is called as the world's famous bull fight. Bundles of money are tied to the horns of bulls which the villagers try to retrieve. Only men take part in this game and those who control the horns of the bull will get a money bundle which is tied to the horns of it. During this valiant game, many people might get injured and even death also occur.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Sabarimala Makara Jyothi Darshan - Video Clippings

Thai Pongal Festival - Makara Sankranti Festival

As we all know, agriculture is the main and major occupation of India. In order to pay thanksgiving to Sun, Earth and Cattles, Pongal Festival is celebrated every year in the mid of January, the first day of tamil month calendar of Thai. Hence the festival is called as "Thai Pongal Festival" or "Makar Sankranti Festival". It is the most important and popular Hindu Festival. Festivals are the occasions would bring the happiness and joy to the people. The significance of Makar Sankranti is the day on which the sun begins it journey northwards. During the Pongal Festival, the fresh and newly rice cooked along with jaggery, cashew-nuts, ghee, etc. and offered to Sun God. Rangoli plays an important role in Pongal Festivals. Every home is decorated with various colorful kolams in all the three days of Pongal Festival. During this occasion, every family members, relatives and friends will share and exchange the Pongal Gifts and Greetings among them. The Pongal Festival is celebrated three days viz.
  • First day - Bogi Festival, dedicated to the worship of Lord Indran
  • Second day - Pongal Festival, dedicated to the worship of Lord Surya, Sun God
  • Third day - Mattu Pongal Festival, dedicated to the worship of Cattles
Pongal Festival at Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple

At Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, special pujas and aaradhanas to be performed to the deities on the Thai Thingal Festival. Another important feature of this temple related with the Pongal Festival is that Lord Sundareswarar and Goddess Meenakshi would present the sugarcane to the "Stone Elephant" on this occasion. This is the one among the 64 Thiruvilaiyadals (Miracles) of Lord Sundareswarar which is called as "Kal Yaanaikku Karumbu Alithal". This elephant is situated at the center of the Madurai city near the banks of River Vaigai and the place is now called as "Yanaikal".

Wish You All A Very Happy, Prosperous and Sweet Pongal
Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum

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Important Days of Thai Thingal

The following are the important occasions of the Tamil month calendar of "Thai".
  1. Thai Pongal Festival
  2. Makara Sankranti Festival
  3. Sabarimala Makara Jyoti Darshan
  4. Mattu Pongal Festival
  5. Thai Amavasya
  6. Republic Day
  7. Thai Poosam - Theppa Thiruvizha - Theppotsavam


Bogi (Bhogi) Festival: First Day of Pongal

Bogi or Bhogi Festival is the first day of Pongal Festival. It is celebrated to pay the vote of thanks to Lord Indran, who is the God of Clouds and Rains. This is the one of the famous festival celebrated by the South Indian people, especially Tamilnadu people. Hence the festival is called as Tamilar Festivals. The Bogi Festival is occurred at the last day of tamil month of Margazhi.

On this occasion, the houses will be cleaned and whitewashed. The homes are decorated with Rangoli known as Kolam. This festival is otherwise called as the first day of harvesting festival. Before cutting the paddy, the farmers performed puja to the Lord for the successful harvesting. Another importance of Bogi festival is that burning the unwanted & old things and apply the the new ones. In tamil, a proverb says related to this Bogi Festival as
"Palaiyana Kazhithalum Pudhiyana Puguthalum"

Another notable event of this festival is that Lord Krishna lift the "Govardana Mountain" with his little finger to save the people and living beings from heavy rains on this occasion. Hence the people prayed to Lord Krishna on this day.

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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Arudhra Abhishekam & Darshan - Thiruvadirai Star

Arudhra Darshan is otherwise called as Arudhra Festival. This festival is fully dedicated to Lord Nataraja nothing but Lord Shiva performed cosmic dance. Arudhra Darshan falls on the full moon day and in the Thiruvadirai star in the Tamil month of Margazhi and the Darshan would be on Saturday, January 10, 2009. The Arudhra Abhishekam would be performed to Lord Nataraja on Friday, January 09, 2009 night.

Philosophy behind Lord Nataraja
The cosmic dance of Lord Nataraja represents Creation, Protection, Destruction, Embodiment and Release. In essence, it represents the continuous cycle of creation and destruction.

Arudhra Darshan at Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple

In Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, inside the shrine of Lord Sundareswarar, on the right hand side a huge, good-looking and fully silver adorned Nataraja is there. He is called as "Velliyambala Nataraja". There is a small difference between the Nataraja idol in Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple and other Nataraja idols, if you noticed clearly. Generally, Lord Nataraja raised his left leg in all temples, but at Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, Lord Nataraja raised his right leg because of the prayer offered by Pandiya King. This is the one of the speciality of this Lord. Various Abhishekams, Special Pujas and Aaradhanas would be performed to Lord Velliyambala Nataraja whole night on January 09, 2009. Come and participate on the Arudhra Darshan Festival and attain the grace of Lord Nataraja.

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Sarva Vaikunta Mukkoti Ekadasi: 108 Mangalasasana Divya Desams

Vaikunta Ekadasi - One of the major festival celebrated in all Vishnu temples every year. The occasion would be on Wednesday, January 07, 2009. This is the most important and special Ekadasi among 24 Ekadasi in a year. Vaikunta Ekadasi falls on the eleventh day in Margazhi Shukla Paksha in Tamil Calendar. This Ekadasi is otherwise called as "Sarva Vaikunta Mukkoti Ekadasi", "Mokshada Ekadasi". On this occasion, a special event is performed in all Vishnu temples called as opening of "Vaikunta Dwara" (the door of heaven), especially in all 108 Divya Desams. In tamil, Vaikunta Dwara is called as "Sorga Vasal" or "Paramapatham Vasal".

In Madurai District alone, three Divya Desams are there viz., Koodal Azhagar Temple, Azhagar Temple, Thirumogur Temple. Special Abhisekams, Pujas and Aaradhanas would be performed to Lord Vishnu on this occasion. At
Madurai Koodal Azhagar temple, the Vaikunta Dwara will be opened at 7.00 p.m. on this occasion. Similarly, at Sri Rangam temple, it will be opened at early morning 4.00 a.m. The main observance of this day is fasting (avoiding food made of rice) and chanting Narayana Mantra whole night without sleeping. It is believed that venerating Lord Vishnu on Vaikunta Ekadasi will help to free soul from cycles of rebirth and grant moksha.

Madurai Koodal Azhagar Perumal - Vaikunta Ekadasi Utsavam
108 Divya Desams: An overview

Sri Ramanujar, a great saint worshipped Lord Vishnu had established 106 temples for Lord Vishnu in the earth called as Divya Desams. Azhvaars composed the songs "Mangalasasanam" on the Lord and temples which are called as "Mangalasasana Divya Desams". Among 108 Divya Desams, 106 are in the earth and other two "Vyuham" (Thiruparkadal) and "Sri Vaikuntam (Thiru Paramapatham)" are out of this earth. The first divya desam is "Sri Rangam" and the last divya desam is "Tirumala Tirupati". Chant Narayana Mantra on Vaikunta Ekadasi and free from the birth cycles.

Om Sri Mathe Ramanujaya Namaha!
Om Namo Narayanaya Namaha!

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