Andal temple Therottam at Srivilliputhur, TN took place this year in grand style

Srivilliputhur Andal temple Ther, TN.

The temple town  of Srivilliputhur where goddess Andal was born was in an euphoric mood  on 22 july when thousands of devotees pulled the huge Ratha (Ther)  with devotion along the four Car Streets that were full of people to witness the event and get blessed by the presiding deities Andal and Rengamannar. It is the only place where the temple chariot carries both Vishnu and his consort Andal in manakkolam in wedding regalia.  In many temples there are separate cars for the god and goddess. This was part of the 10 day Aadipooram festival to mark the birth star, Pooram of Nachiyar Andal.

Srivilliputhur Andal temple Ther, TN.

Above image: Long ago the  Andal temple chariot was  heavy  above 600 tons and stood  40 m tall.  The  huge wooden  chariot, donated by Madurai Naik  ruler Thirumalai Naicker, was damaged, so on the advice of  Sri Ranganarayana Jeer, the 19th head of Vanamamalai  mutt (a monastic institution), a  new chariot was made. The ratha (chariot)  had  its maiden run in 1849 C.E.  This is the same ratha that is being used today for the Therottam.  It is 75 ft in height and is as tall as a nine - story building. ''The panels and woodwork from the old chariot can be seen in the 'Gopala Vilasa mandapam' in the temple''. The  huge wooden base has countless nicely carved images and sculptures depicting scenes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana. The carvings include interesting episodes from the life of Sri Andal.....................

The crowds began to gather at vantage points from the wee hours of Saturday.To avoid untoward incidents, the local district administration posted a large posse of police personnel to  guide and guard the crowd throughout the rath yatra. Besides, the police  had CCTV cameras installed  at certain places on the ratha route and also had deployed plainclothes personnel.  Along  the car route and other places the electricity department switched off the power supply. Special arrangement was made for potable water and restrooms for the visiting devotees. 

The deities Andal and Rengamannar, after certain temple rituals, were  taken to the decorated  ther / car by temple priests about 8 a.m. The car began to roll down the street in the presence of senior govt. officials from the district administration and from the HR&CE who also pulled the rope.  With religious fervor, the devotees pulled the huge car from the starting point. The shouting of Govinda Govinda ranted the air all along the route.  

As part of tradition prasadams’ which included garlands and ‘vasthrams’ for the Andal deity  were presented  by the priests from the Srirangam Ranganathar temple and from Alagarkoil Sundararaja Perumal temple.  This tradition during this festival has been around for centuries. 

This temple town is famous for   palgova (milk sweet) which carries GI tag and the gova makers had a swell time all through the day. 

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