Karthigai Deepam festival at Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple, glore with earthen oil lamps

karthigai deepam,Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple, TN.dailythanthi.com

Madurai Meenakshi temple, TN en.wikipedia.org

Karthigai Deepam, also called Karthika Deepam or Thirukarthigai Deepam  falls on November 26, 2023 (today). Under the full moon, people light diyas on Karthigai Deepam day to dispel negativity and bring in positive thoughts and welfare.. People celebrate the Karthika Deepam festival by visiting nearby temples and seek blessings of the Lord during the  tamil month of Karthigai.

On the day of Maha Deepam, the huge and popular temple, one of the fascinating temples in India - Meenakshi Amman Sundareswarar temple, Madurai, TN  becomes vibrant. At this temple this festival is a 10 day event and lots of devotees visit he temple each day. The festival  commences with temple flag  hoisting on the gold-plated  flagpole-Dwajasthambam in the inner part of the temple in the sannadhi mandapam. Following this ritual, daily both in the morning and in the evening  well-decorated  deities - Meenakshi and Sundareswarar will give dashan to the devotees.   

As part of the festival, the processional  deities (Uchavars) of Goddess Meenakshi Amman and Lord Sundareswarar are taken around the temple in a procession accompanied by music and lots of devotees. On the evening of Karthigai Deepam   Laksa Deepam (one lakh earthen lamps) will be lit throughout the temple, particularly around  the temple tank-Thamarai Kulam. The steps all around the tank and halls are adorned with lights, At night, it is one of an exhilarating and joyful experience. 

On the night of Thirukarthigai God and his consort along with Pancha murthis will be taken from the temple in a colorful procession  through  the Masi Veeethis (streets). Near Therradi, on the Pookadai street, there will be a Chokka panai event in the presence of a large number of devotees. 
In all temples in this city including  Teppakulam Mariamman temple, Muktheeswarar temple, Paechi Amman temple, etc., karthigai deepam will be lit. 

An interesting thing is in Madurai during the deepam festival all kinds of earthen lamps are on sale such as peacock lamp, elephant lamps,  lamps with 5 faces to place wicks, lamps that float in water, etc. Also available are porcelain lamps of different sizes. It is believed that unmarried girls, if lit up the lamps in a place of worship will get married soon. In all homes including madurai, throughout the month of karthigai lights are light at homes for welfare of the families'.  

Chokka Panai (bonfire) is yet another interesting event  witnessed by a huge gathering..  The Temple has been adjudged the best 'Swachh Iconic Place' in India as on 1 October 2017 under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.  It is a historical temple built by Pandayan Emperor Sadayavarman Kulasekaran I (1190 CE–1205 CE).