Karthigai Deepam, the most important Hindu festival celebrated during the Tamil month of Karthigai is of religious and philosophical significance. The lamps lit around drive away the darkness in one’s life and it is related to the victory of good over the evil.
Though Karthigai Deepam is celebrated in a very special manner in all houses and temples, there is a most popular destination where Karthigai Deepam is very ceremoniously celebrated called Tiruvannamalai situated at a distance of 190 kms from the state capital Chennai.
In the City of Salvation, Thiruvannamalai, stands the majestic temple representing one of the Five cosmic elements on earth, “Fire”. The huge mountain itself is worshipped as Lord Shiva and the architecturally beautiful temple is more than thousand years old built by the Early Chola Emperors. Lord Shiva is believed to have manifested himself as a huge column of fire as a spiritual revelation that God is omnipresent.
Tiruvannamalai is one of the most renowned sacred centers in South India. Have you ever been to this city with spiritual vibes around attracting people from all corners of the world, curious to know about life and its various mystic moments.
Tiruvannamalai has been witnessing lakhs of tourists and devotees though out the year. You will be wondering whether you are in the medium sized town in India because of the number foreigners roaming around the region. The Spiritual seekers volunteer themselves to stay in any of the Ashrams in Tiruvannamalai, searching for something beyond the imagination of the manhood with their meditations and yogic practices.
The significant event in Tiruvannamalai is the Girivalam. I was really surprised to know about the customs of circumambulating the mountain on every full moon day. Lakhs and lakhs of people go around the foot hills of distance fourteen kilometer. Devotees from across the country arrive at Tiruvannamalai to participate in this holy event happening monthly. I could see hundreds of stalls emerging around the foot hills to serve food, water and the other necessary things to the pilgrims. The entire pathway is lit with enough lamps to facilitate the devotees to proceed with their circumambulation without any difficulty.
The most prominent festival celebrated in Tiruvannamalai is Karthigai Deepam, the annual gala event falls on 23rd November this year. The religiously significant event is attended by lakhs and lakhs of devotees. The town wears a festive look and the elaborate arrangements are made by the local officials to accommodate the huge crowd.
The Karthikai Brahmotsavam, this year has seen an exotic commencement with the elaborate rituals and ceremonies at the Thiruvannamalai temple, ending with the grand final day on 23rd November 2018, there has been wide range of celebrations and festivities throughout the city spreading the sanctity around.
The significant day of this Karthigai Brahmotsavam is on the Karthigai Deepam Day, when the rituals start at around four o’ clock in the early hours. To mark the commencement of the “Periya Karthigai”, Bharani Deepam is lit at the temple. A unimaginably huge cauldron is placed atop the Thiruvannamalai hills. Several hundred meters of cotton cloths are used to make the wick. Here comes the most exciting and sacred moments of Karthigai Deepam. At around six o’clock in the evening, the lamp atop the hill is lit which is visible across several kilometers radius.
Thousands of devotees assemble to witness this mega event when the Lord’s presence is felt in the form of fire. Light always brings a ray of hope into those who are in dark. Philosophically, if we surrender ourselves to the feet of Lord Arunachaleswara, he will put all our sins into the fire and purify us and with this faith and belief, the devotees take the Lord around the temple. The procession takes place in the golden chariot which marks the grand conclusion of this ten days long Karthigai Brahmotsavam. The devotees take back the blessings and the cherished memories from this vibrant sanctimonious place.