Lord Kallazhagar getting into the Vaigai river in Madurai, a great temple festival of Tamil Nadu - 2019

Lord Kallazhagar entering the Vaigai river in Madurai, The Hindu

Madurai: Lord Kallazhagar getting into vaigai river. .thehindu.com

There is no dearth of Hindu temple festivals in India and almost every month there will be some kind of temple festival associated with certain popular Hindu temples, particularly in Tamil Nadu. The third largest city in TN - Madurai is synonymous with three important  tourist attractions plus pilgrimage. The famous Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple associated with Meenakshi-Sundarar thirukalyanam (celestial wedding), Perumal Kallazhagar getting into the Vaigai river as part of his sojourn in this city to  attend the celestial wedding and the third being Tiruparamkundram close to Madurai, one of the six abodes of Lord Karthikaya (Murugan). The month of Chitrai  (April -May) marks the celebration of many Hindu temple festivals that are held with devotion, despite the hot summer heat and sultry weather conditions.

Madurai city. location map.sarathavilas.com

The entry of Lord Kallazhagar into Vaigai river, the highlight  of the annual Chitrai festival in Madurai,  was a unique event  held with grandeur and festivities. This particular festival has been around for centuries far beyond the colonial period. It was a popular event during the great rulers of Pandya.  This is an ancient city that has been around before 3rd century  and it also goes by the name of Koodal Nagar. Koodal  refers to an assembly or congregation of scholarly people, implying  the three Tamil Sangams held at Madurai. According to  Iravatham Mahadevan, a 2nd-century BCE Tamil-Brahmi inscription refers to the city as matiray, an Old Tamil word meaning a "walled city". This year, lakhs of people attended this annual event that took place during the election time (election to the Delhi Parliament). No doubt, the people occupied the  vantage space close to the river Vaigai where traditionally Kallazhagar  of Azhagarkovil (close to Madurai) would get into the river to cross it. This year because of inadequate rain, the river bed was dry and this helped the devotee watch the Lord on the horse mount closely.


Earlier, the deity from his abode in  Azhagar kovil hills  reached Prasanna Venkatachalapathy Temple in Tallakulam here on Tuesday night. On the early  Wednesday morning lord Kallazhagar mounted on a golden stallion, accompanied by his  countless devotees along with dance groups and  music, began  his long journey to the river. Dressed in fine silk, the idol looked impressive and  hundreds of devotees  physically carried the  huge mount with the lord. Around 6.20 am the  lord entered the Vaigai river and  he was received by Lord Veera Raghava Perumal from the temple in South Masi Street at the  makeshift Mandapam put up  on the Vaigai river bed for the event. Soon after the rituals at the Mandapam, the huge procession  moved over to Ramarayar Mandapam for the theerthavari ceremony. Here,  thousands of devotees dressed as Lord Kallazhagar and Pathinetampadi Karuppu  sprayed water at the Lord as per tradition. This is an unbroken tradition and lots of them do it with religious fervor.
The areas surrounding Goripalayam and Tallakulam,  were charged with devotion as they happened to be procession routes. To cover wider audience, the  district administration had set up 16 LED screens at various spots in and around the area for the devotees to witness the event.

 Alagar  Koyil /TempleMadurai Tour Packages

Drinking water and mobile toilet facilities had been set up at many places for the benefit of the people. But the crowd was a huge one. However, the police and the government agencies did their best to make it  a memorable festival.  Indeed, the entire city was in a state of religious frenzy and it showed that how much emotional and religious attachments the people of this old city have for the Lords Kallazhagar (Vishnu) and Sunderer (lord Shiva).