Emperor Rajaraja Chola's ''Sathaya Vizha'' of 2022 celebrated at Thanjavur in a grand manner.

king rajaraja's Sathaya Vizha, 2022, Thanjavur

Every year the  Sathaya Vizha is celebrated on ‘Sathayam’ the day of the birth star of the  greatest Chola emperor Rajaraja, a staunch Saivaite  in the Tamil month of Aipasi. It is said it also marks the commemoration  of   coronation of the great ruler in 985 CE

abhishekams Sathaya  vizha, 2022.newindianexpress.com

It is a grand festival in honor of a popular Chola ruler who was an efficient administrator, patron of arts and a builder of Hindu temples.  The world famous 11th century  Shiva temple Sri Brihadeeswara  temple of Thanjavur built by him still stands as his legacy. 

Sathya Vizha illumination at Big temple, Thanjavur. dailythanthi.com

  Last Thursday of this month (4th November)  marked the 1037th Sathaya Vizha of  Sri Rajaraja and the function was celebrated with gaiety by the local people and  civil administrators with the participation of local politicians. The statue of Sri Rajaraja outside the temple in the Cholan Park  close to the Shivaganga park entrance was garlanded by prominent people. 

Prior to garlanding function,  there  was a ceremonial procession in which the manuscripts of ‘Thirumuraigal’ from the big temple  were taken atop an elephant  to the accompaniment of  music rendered by artists in the front.  The highlight of this procession is  a group of 48 Odhuvars  rendering the Tirumurai  devotional hymns through out the procession  in the presence of  hundreds of  devotees   Thiru gnanasambandhar’s  Thirumurai is a rare compendium of devotional songs in chaste Tamil on Lord Shiva normally rendered by Oduvars at temples  as part of Puja ritual.  A historical fact is the original  manuscripts of this rare gem, it is believed, came to light for the first time during  Rajaraja's reign.  

Following this ceremony,  at the Big temple special abhishekams were performed with devotion and religious fervor by the priests to the huge  13-foot-tall Shiva Lingam (Peruvudayar)- one othe tallest monolithic lingams in India.  

What is unique about this anointment /  special ablution  on the day of Sthaya Vizha is the  abhishekams  were done with 48 substances, including milk, tender coconut water, sandal paste, turmeric paste, panchamirtham, vibuthi (sacred ash), juice of various citrus fruits and rice. It was done before a large group of prominent people of this area. This will be normally followed  by Perundheepa vazhipaadu in the afternoon and Swami purappadu (holy procession) within the temple in the evening.

On the same day in the evening  the  bronze idols of Peruvudayar, Periyanayagi (Parvati), Raja Raja Chola and his consort Logamadevi were taken out in a religious procession within the temple premises.  
There were  musical and dance performances -  kuchipudi- all dedicated to the lord - held on the premises. 

In the morning the garlanding ceremony was attended by District Collector, Thanjavur Mayor, Deputy Mayorand  local politicians. This occasion was graced by  Dharumapuram mutt pontiff Masilamani Desiga  who adorned the statue with a silk cloth. Also present were  D Selvam, the president of the festival committee and Babaji Raja Bhonsale, the hereditary trustee of Palace Devasthanam.
At Pampapadaiyur, a small village  near Kumbakonam at a function on Thursday, Information and Publicity Minister M. P. Saminathan and School Education Minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi paid floral tributes to Raja Raja Cholan. A portrait of the emperor was unveiled at the function. 

The customary  pandhakkal installation ceremony ahead of the annual event was organized by the Sathaya Vizha committee on the. 
 temple premises. It used to be a two day event for reasons of security and caution against Covid 19 now it is restricted to one day celebration. The Tamil Nadu government announced that it would celebrate the yearly Sathaya Vizha now on as state event. CM MK Stalin hailed emperor Raja Raja Chola on his 1037th birth anniversary, which was celebrated on Thursday.