Karthigai Deepam at Tiruchy rock fort temple, Tamil Nadu, 2019

Kathigai deepam, rock fort temple, Trichy city, TN maalaimalar.com

Kathigai deepam, rock fort temple, Trichy city, TN hi-in.facebook.com

Kathigai Deepam festival at Thayumanavar Swami Temple in the rock fort complex of Tiruchirappalli city, TN  was celebrated with gaiety and religious fervor on the 10th of December, 2019.  Devotees in tens of thousands climbed the hill and visited the temple that is on the way to the Uttchi Pilliyar (God Ganesa) temple. The tallest rock outcrop in this  region from where the Cauvery delta begins, the granitic rocks of this area belong to Archean group, the oldest rock formation on earth, more than three billion years old. This is similar to the Canadian Shield, Canada,  geologically speaking.

Placing wick & vessel,  ,Karthigai Deepam, Trochi 2019. maalaimalar.com

Here, at a height of 272 feet atop the hill, Maha deepam was lit on the Karhigai day around 6.15 pm. Soon, in the Hindu households in this city and neighboring places Maha Deepam was lit  with devotion  by the people to invoke God's blessings. One has to climb physically 472 stone steps to get to the top of rock fort temple. Preparations were underway a week before the main event and, as part of it, a huge copper cauldron/ vessel that could contain 900 liters of oil and a huge wick made from  300 to 400 meter of cotton cloth. Gigely oil and 'Illupennai' were used to keep the flame going. The temple employees made special arrangements to take the vessel and the wick to  the hill top as there are no roads to the top. The employees used big ropes to take the vessel, etc to the top.  The wick had to absorb the oil  as much  possible so it was a slow process to mix oil in the vessel. The state owned HR & CE  made all the necessary arrangements far before the main event.

Trichy, TN  rock-fort with temples  tripadvisor com

This Shiva temple in this part of Tiruchy is a popular one and here the god in the swampu form (self-manifested) - west facing Lingam. According to the temple legend  God Shiva helped a pregnant woman by the name of Rathnavathy, his ardent devotee  deliver the baby in the guise of  a mother,  hence the God is referred to as Thayyum Aanavar in local parlance (acting as a  real mother).

pillared hall inside the temple.en.wikipedia.org

This historic temple that has columned structure,  was built by Pallava king Mahendravarman I in the 6th century AD. It is one of the popular rock-cut temples in South India. Tirugnana Sambandar, a 7th-century Tamil Saivite poet, sang the glory of Thayumanavar in eleven verses in Tevaram, a famous devotional hymn.