Celestial wedding of Meenakshi of Madurai - list of events - Chithirai festival

Celestial wedding of Meenaskshi with lord Shiva(Sundareswarere)Prokerala.com

Meenakshi Kalyanam - the divine  wedding of goddess Meenakshi with Sudareswarer (lord Shiva), Madurai (2500 year old city) is  one of the widely known  fairs and festivals of Tamil Nadu, S. India. The venue of this annual festival is at the world-famous Meenakshi Temple (originally built in the 6th century; present structures were rebuilt between 1623 and 1653 after Delhi sultanate invasion led by Malik Kaufer). The  festival falls in the months of April – May (Hindu month of Chaitra).  During the two week  festival Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Shiva are well decorated and taken out in a  procession  accompanied by traditional instrumental music provided by the trained artists around the streets and is watched by people in thousands. The entire temple complex is well decorated with flowers and festoons and lots of pilgrims visit the temple during the festival time and attend the pujas. The temple chariot procession around the broad street is part of Chithirai festival. 

Madurai Meenashi temple, Tamil Nadu. www.inde.org.in

The following  is the list of events associated with Meenakshi Kalyanam:

01. Kodi Yetram - flag-hoisting. Any important Hindu temple festival commences with Flag-hoisting on the Kodi Maram (Dwajasthambam in Sanskrit). During this short, but important event, the chief priest of Meenakshi Amman temple will hoist the holy flag on the Flag post of the temple which will be in front of the main shrine. It is equal to declaring the event open and  the flag will be on the flagstaff  until the end of this festival. This year flag hoisting took place on 28 April, marking the beginning of Chithirai Thiruvizha.

02. Pattabisekam or coronation ceremony is yet another interesting event. On this day, goddess  goddess Meenakshi is crowned as the queen of Madurai and she ascends the throne to rule the Pandya kingdom for the first four months. Then, in the next 8 months, her husband  Lord Sunderaswarar will be crowned as the king of Madurai.

Dikvijayam event assumes much importance because it provides goddess Meenaskshi a chance to see her would be lord. As part of her rule in the Pandya Nadu,  Goddess Meenakshi went to   wars  with countries. Upon her war expedition to Kailaayam (Kailasam - the Place of Lord Shiva in the Himalayas), she got a chance to see  Lord Shiva and resolved to marry him. She realized that actually she was the consort of Lord Shiva.

04. Meenakshi Thirukalyanam, the great grand wedding  of  Meenakshi Amman and Lord shiva (Lord Sundereswara) in Madurai is the main event. Lord Shiva is believed to visit Madurai  to marry Meenakshi. For centuries this tradition has been followed. This year the joyous celestial wedding took place on May 7.

Temple Chariot. Official Website Of Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Thirukkoil

Ther Thiruvizha takes place soon after the celestial wedding. The day after wedding, the King and Queen of Pandya Kingdom Lord Sunderaswarar and Meenakshi  are believed to come out of their abode to see the people. The idols (Utchavars) of Sudareswarer and Goddess Meenakshi are well adorned and placed on the chariot (Ther in Tamil), a huge, beautiful wooden artistically designed chariot. This event is marked by the pulling of the huge chariot  along the Masi streets by the devotees.Theerotan took place on May 8.

Goddess Meenashi KalyanamIndo American News

06.  Part of  Madurai Chithirai festival includes a  grand procession of Lord Vishnu (Lord Kallazhagar), the brother of Goddess Meenakshi, Lord Azhagar  travels from his abode in Azhagarmalai (18 km from Madurai) to get his sister married to Lord Sundareshwarar. This divine journey from his abode to his sister’s wedding, on a golden chariot, is yet another  legend behind celebrating the Chithirai Festival, Madurai. When Vishnu comes to know that the wedding is already over while crossing the Vaigai river, he returns to Karuparayar Mandapam. on May 11 he removes the curse cast on sudhabas (Manduka) Maharishi by sage Dhruvasa. Manduka gets the human form from frog (mandukam). There at theenur mandapam he takes ten avatars and finally returns to Azhagar Kovil, his original abode on May 14, 10.30 am. Thia year on May 10, 6.28 am,  the lord entered the Vaigai river.

Kallazgagar Perumal (Vishnu),Azhagar Malai. Madurai. Temple Advisor

Kallazhagar (Vishnu). Anudinam
07. The festival begins from the second day of the lunar month that is exactly two days after the new moon.