Karthigai Deepam 2022 and 10 day festivities, Thiruvannamalai, TN - a brief note

The annual Karthigai (also spelled Karthikai) Deepam festival is yet another well-known  Hindu festival, particularly in Tamil nadu   that normally falls  in the Tamil month of Karthigai (mid-Nov to mid-Dec) and the main event is on the evening of the full Moon day.  This year more than 25 lakhs of devotees are expected to attend the festivities that will last for 10 long days  and the final event will be lighting Maha deepam that takes place in the evening at 6 pm today (6th of December, 2022). 

Karthigai Deepam, an ancient festival, often associated with God Shiva and  God Muruga (Karthikaya) gives much importance to the  lighting of oil lamps preferably earthen lamps (made from clay).  The  spiritual significance on this day is getting rid of ignorance, ego and gaining knowledge, enlightenment and welfare of the society as a whole. It is the birth day of God muruga (Subramanya)   created by God Shiva with 6 flames  from his third eye (Nettrikkan).  The six babies in Saravana poigai, a celestial lake and were  looked after by six krittika stars. On this day, Goddess Parvathy united all the six forms of Skantda.

Supposedly thi annual Thiruvilakku festival is  celebrated for three days  called  Appa Karthigai, Vadai Karthigai, and Thiru Karthigai. On the culminating day devotees  flock  to  the local temples as well ato  Tiruvannamalai Temple to offer prayers and get blessed  by  Lord Shiva, a symbol of eternity.

Karthigai deepam, Arunachaleswar temple, Thiruvannamalai

procession on the Maada veethi,Arunachaleswar temple,

 Rishaba vahana, Thiruvannamalai.  arunachalagrace.blogspot.com

Rishaba vahana, Thiruvannamalai. arunachalagrace.blogspot.com/

The following are the festivities associated with 10 day Karthigai deepam festival at Arunachaleswar temple, Thiruvannamalai: 

01. The first day Brahmotsavam – Sunday (27.11.2022) – Karthigai Deepam Brahmotsavam festival commences with  the hosting of temple flag  on the gold-plated flag pole (Dwajaroghanam)  symbolic of the start of the 9 day festival. The processional idols of the temple   Arunachaleswarar (on Silvar vahana)  and  Panchamurthis -  Lord Ganapathi, Lord Murugan, Lord Sandeswarar, Lord Arunachaleswarar and Goddess Parvathi are taken out in a procession in the morning and night. Before the procession  the Deeparadhana is done to the deities at the kalyana mandapam.

02. The second day – Monday (28.11.2022) – procession of  god' idol   on silver Indira Vimanam - the chariot of Lord Indira

03. The third day – Tuesday (29.11.2022) – 1008 Sangu (conch) Abhishekam in the Morning is a main puja ritual. At night procession of deities . Highlight: Simha vahana- lion.

04. The fourth day – Wednesday (30.11.2022)  Procession of  Panchamurthi at night  on the silver kamadhenu vahana. The holy wish-granting  tree Karpaviruksha is kept  on the side of the lord.

05. The fifth day – Thursday (1.12.2022) –Morning ritual begins with  Kalasa Pooja  and at night the procession on the silver rishaba (bull) vahana is an important event being watched by lots of people.  The main festival idol  goes  on  a big ratha - about 25 feet tall.The unique feature is a giant umbrella 17 ft  in diameter  is carefully carried in the processon.

The sixth day –Friday – (2.12.2022) –63 Nayanmar (in Tamil Aarupathhumoonru Nayanmargal)  procession in the morning. At night  procession of festival idol of the Lord  on the silver chariot,etc.  

Maha ratha, thiruvannamalai, thiruvannamalai.in

The seventh day  – Saturday – (3.12.2022 )- The car (chariot / Ther) festival falls on the 7 th day and deities are  taken out on five  colorfully decorated  huge wooden chariots.  Devotees  would pull them manually along the  four Maada streets.  The main chariot is  huge and wider,  almost touching either side of the street. 

The eight day – Sunday – (4.12.2022) – The festivity begins in the morning with the  procession  of the idol on the huge horse vahana which is depicted at a gallop - all  four legs off the ground, At Night  God Sri Pichandavar  procession. 

On the ninth day  – Monday- (5.12.2022) - Procession of idol on the Kailasa Vahanam at night - Purusha Mirugam Vahanam

The tenth day – Tuesday – (6.12.2022) – Karthigai Deepam festival starts around 4 am.  Morning 4 am Bharanai deepam will be lit in the sanctum.  And in the evening Pancha murthis will be taken to the katchi mandap. When the Maha deepam is lit at 6 pm on the temple premises, at the same time huge maha deepam will be lit atop the Annamalaiyar hill  behind the temple.  

Darshan of  the Lord emerging in Arthanareeswarar Alangaram  and Maha Deepam is a  great experience  in the evening.  

At night there will be Rishaba vahanam God Shiva will be riding golden  vahana.   Silver Rishba Vahanam of Lord Arunachaleswarar goes procession round the hill, known as Girivalam or pradhiksahana.

After the Festival, flag on flagpole  is lowered marking the end of the festival.  Apart, on several days there will be float rituals  (thepporchavam) and the deities will be taken in a boat in the temple tank called teppakulam.