Thanjavur big temple Chariot (Ther) festival 2017

Thanjavur car festival Hinduism Today

Paradoxically, the month of Chitrai is a joyous, but tough month in the sense, it is the time of colorful temple festivals in all major temples of Tamil Nadu, and by the same token, it is difficult to get through this month because of hot, scorching  summer heat and frequent power cuts in many places. The Delta districts of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapatnam that constitute  a vast  major agricultural belt  experience drought conditions in many places on account of poor rain fall  and dry Cauvery river. It is quite amazing, that in spite of such harsh weather condition and shortage of potable water, the people's enthusiasm to participate in temple festivals has not dampened their spirit and expression of devotion.

Thanjavur big temple,

Yesterday- Friday 5 May 2017,  was an important festival day for the residents of Thanjavur city. Thousands of ardent devotees pulled the sacred Chariot of the big temple (dedicated to Bragadeeswarar)  through the four main streets, unmindful of dry weather conditions.  The idols of Lord Thayagaraja and his consort Kamalamba were seated on the main chariot. The other idols of Ganesha, Subramaniya and Chandikeswarar were on the other small chariots.  This important temple event is part of the annual Chitrai festival celebrations going on  in  the big temple. This chariot run is the third one and it was in 2015, the temple chariot was run for the first time after a long gap of 100 years. Thanks to the late CM of Tamil Nadu Ms. J. Jayalalitha who took the initiative and had the pretty old, dilapidated chariot  replaced with a new one  and made it available to the temple.

The  major event, started off at the auspicious time 6.15 Am at the big temple, went through all the main street  and around noon returned to its base  on West Main street opposite to Sri Sankara Mutt.  The temple car  stopped at predetermined 14 places on its journey preceded by folk dancers, traditional wind instruments players, etc. The whole atmosphere was charged with joy and devotion. Security precautions were taken care of by the local police and their posse. 

 Devotees and on lookers had a sigh of relief as there were many stalls offering free cool mutter milk, etc to quench their thirst. In view of the importance of this Ther Thiruviza (car festival), the state government had declared a local holiday.  

The temple car festival was conducted in a fine manner without any unsavory incidents. During the time of Rajaraja Chola I of Chola dynasty, more than 1000 years, the car festival was celebrated on a grand scale. Subsequent Nayak and Maratha rulers followed  the tradition . Later in the colonial times, due to paucity of funds, etc the car festival lost its glamor and significance. It is nice the old temple tradition was revived in 2015. 

Thanjavur big temple,