South Indian harvest festival of 'Chithirai' celebrated in Madurai
The South Indian harvest festival of 'Chithirai' was celebrated in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, recently.
The festival is observed with the aim of seeking the blessings of Lord Kallazhagar for a bountiful harvest.
The festival is celebrated at Madurai's famous Meenakshi Temple.
The wedding of Lord Shiva, known as Sundareswarar in southern India, to his consort Meenakshi, is enacted by devotees as part of the festival celebrations.
After the celestial wedding, Lord Kallazhagar is said to start his journey from the Alagar Hills to enter the Vaigai River, a ritual which is witnessed by thousands of devotees in Madurai.
Principal Ssecretary of Hindu Religion, Dr. Kannan, said: "Arrangements themselves have been impeccable and the public participation has been really huge this year, and with the blessings of Lord Kallazhagar who is going to wear, I believe, a green and silver blockade cloth, the farmers and people will be benefited by a bountiful harvest and rains which are already in evidence."
Dressed in colourful attire and with turmeric and sandal paste smeared all over the body, devotees escorted Lord Kallazhagar in the procession .
This procession is a highlight of the entire festival where the Lord departs from Alagar Koil (Temple of Alagar) situated 23 kilometres from Madurai and then it culminates on the banks of Vaigai River.
This year, the festival was celebrated from May1 to 14.
(Posted on 15-05-2014)