Sri Andal Jayanthi (Aadi poorum) - temple car festival of Sri Andal temple, Srivilliputhur

SriVilliputhur Andal temple, rath yatra.

Srivilliputhur Andal and her hair style. Photo Gallery - Divyadesams

The annual Aadipooram festival at SriVilliputhur Andal temple, Tamil Nadu is an important one  celebrated here with religious fervor. Being a colorful festival, it is a long-drawn one starting on the 19th of July 2018 and ending on 30 July. This year the Aadipooram date is 13 August.

This temple is a popular one dedicated to lord Vishnu (Rangamanner /  Vadapathrasayi) and his consort is Andal, daughter of Priyaazhwar, a great Vaishnavite saint who wrote  Tamil devotional hymns in praise of the lord. Considered as one of the important Divya Desam shrines glorified  by the Azhwar saints of 6th to 9th centuries, lots of people visit this temple and the temple Gopuram - tower is one of the tallest in south India and is the emblem of the Tamil Nadu State Government. Sri Andal, being an ardent devotee of the lord here, wrote Thirupavai devotional hymns which are recited in all Vaishnavite temple across Tamil Nadu during the month of Margazhi (December - January). Equally famous are the hymns Thirupallandu composed by  saint Periyazhwar.

Srivilliputhur Andal-Rengamanner Temple

Srivilliputhur Andal-Rengamanner Temple

Aadi Pooram festival - a 12 day event is celebrated in the month of Aadi (July August) in Tamil Nadu and also in other southern states. It is celebrated on the day of Pooram or Poora Nakshatram (ie.13th August this year). This day gains much significance as it is celebrated as Andal Jayanthi - the birthday of Sri Andal who is believed to be the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi and also of  Sakthi Devi.

Srivilliputhur, Tamil Nadu, India.

Since the presiding deity's star is Pooram (as per Tamil Calendar) much importance  is given to this Aadipooram festival  in which thousands of people from various places participate with dedication and Bhakti. The major event is pulling the huge chariot (rath) with the deities along the adjacent streets. After early morning special pujas, the presiding deities, Sri Rengamannar and Goddess Andal in a decorated palanquin are placed in the decorated  car. The rath yatra will start around 8.30 am, wending its way through four streets amidst devotees chanting of  Azhwar pasurams. The Yatra will end at the temple back before noon. The unique feature of this festival is it marks the  adoption of the presiding deity Andal by Periyazhwar after he accidentally discovered her near a Tulsi  maadam (Tulasi stand)  in the garden of Vadabadrasai Temple at Srivilliputhur on the eighth day of the Tamil month of Adi. The temple car used to be a  heavy one  (40m tall and 650 tonnes) in the past and it took  lots of time to pull it back to the temple. For unknown reasons before 2000, the annual car festival - practice of drawing the temple car by the devotees was suspended. The credit goes to Sri Vanamamalai Jeer, who revived this car festival by suggesting certain modification (he is the head of  a Mutt -  a monastic institution) to  the temple car.

 Hydraulic wheels with break system were introduced in the recent past to ease the forward pulling of the chariot. The car connected to the giant ropes at both sides will be pulled by the devotees. Besides, heavy bulldozer or heavy-duty tractors will be used from behind the car to push the rath forward.  Kumbabishekam, the consecration of the Andal temple took place on 20 January 2016 on a grand scale and golden filials were also installed at the  Andal temple. This temple follows Thenkalai samprathayam and  Fridays and Saturdays are auspicious days to visit the temple  for puja and prayer.