Kaarththikai Vilakkeedu Festival of Tamil Nadu - Part 2

Thread started by virarajendra on 6th December 2011 09:39 PM

Author - Virarajendra

Kaarththikai Vilakkeedu (Thirukkaarththikai) - An Ancient Tamilian "Festival of Lights" of Tamil Nadu & Kerala - Part 2

கார்த்திகை விளக்கீடு தமிழர் தம் தொன்மை மிகு தீபத் திருநாள்

(9) Kaarthikai Vilakkeedu during the period of rule of Chola dynasty in Tamil Nadu

The Kaarththikai Vilakkeedu - the ancient festival of Tamil Nadu received great patronage under the medieval Cholas with they themselves being ardent Saivites. Many temple inscriptions of their period speak of this great festival celebrated in the name of God Siva.

In the year A.D.1002 during the rule of Rajaraja Chola - 1, Arulmoli Muventha Velaar arranged for incomes from two villages in Venkuntrakkoattam in Perumadi Nadu to be used for expenses among other festivities also for Ghee for lighting Kaarththikai Vilakku (during Karththikai festival) at the Rishabapurieswara temple at present Gingee Taluk in South Arcot district.

South Indian Inscriptions vol 17, Ins No:243

Sri Kunththavai Piraatiyaar (elder sister of Rajaraja Chola - 1 and) the daughter of Ponmaalikai thunjina Thevar (Sunthara Cholan), in this year A.D.1010 during the period of rule of Rajaraja Chola - 1 provided 34 goats in charge of a group of 30 Traders living in the vicinity of the Ravikulamaanikkaeswarem temple built by her at Nallur Nadu at Rajarajapuram, present Thaathaapuram in Villupuram distrct, Tamil Nadu, for provision of ghee to this temple. Kunththavai Piraatiyaar herself instructed them to provide this ghee for burning Kaarththikai Vilakkuhal, and for 30 Naali paddy to be provided to this temple annualy for this deity's Kaarththikai Vilakkeedu (festival) in the month of Kaarththikai.

Avanam Journal - Vol 16, published by Thamilaka Tholiyal Kalakam, Thanjavur

Rajaraja Chola - 1 in the year A.D.1014 among the main festivals he arranged to celebrate annually at the Rajarajaeswarem temple in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, was the Kaarththikai Vilakkedu festival on the day of Kaarththikai Natchatthiram in the month of Kaarththikai in this temple of Sri Rajarajaeswara with the bronze images of Adavallaan and his Consort carried in procession, and on both images having entered the sacred hall, all offerings were made to the God with camphor being burnt instead of wick.

South Indian Inscriptions Vol 2, Part 2, Ins No: 26

From the period of rule of Rajendra Chola - 1 the son of Rajaraja Chola - 1, the Thiruvannaamalai temple drew the attention of the Cholas and received their great patronage. During the Chola period the presiding deity of Thiruvannaamalai temple was known as "Thiruvannaamalai Udaiyaar".

During the period of Rajendra Chola - 1 in the year A.D.1024, one Salukkikulakalan Kalappiriyan provided endowments to the Priests with money to be kept in the treasury of the Kaalahasti temple in Chitoor district in present Andhra Pradesh, to light lamps on the theepastambam, to provide big food offerings, with Perum thiruamirthu, Kari amuthu, Parupamuthu, Neiamirthu, and Thayiramuthu, and for sacred cloth coverings to be placed on (Sivalingam) Thiru Kaalahasti Udaiyar in the (month of Kaarththikai) on the Kaarththikai naal (natchaththiram) day (being the Kaarththikai Vilakkeedu festival day)

South Indian Inscriptions Vol 17, Ins No: 305

During this same year of rule of Rajendra Chola - 1 in A.D.1024, another individual named Arulan Devan Tuduvan gave endowments remitted to this treasury of Kaalahasti temple in Chitoor district for items required to conduct the Omam ritual, for the big Archanai (to Thiru Kaalahasti Mahadevar) and for food offerings namely Parupamuthu, Pulukkukari Amuthu, Neiamuthu, Thayir amuthu, Adaikaai amuthu etc on the Karththikai Vilakkeedu day.

South Indian Inscriptions Vol 17, Ins No: 320

In the 2nd year of the reign of Ko-Rajakesarivarman alias Sri Rajendra Chola Devar, the Officer Ambalavan thiruppoudaijar alias Virasikamani Muvendavelar being seated in a mandapam within the enclosure of the temple of Pidariyaar at the Kuvalala Nadu of Vijaiya Rajendra mandalam……provided Kannataka Panditha who was conducting the Maddapaththiyam for Goddess……gifted all pooja items ….for the day of the Karrtigai nakshatra in the month of Karththigai…

Epigraphia Carnatica - Vol 10, Ins No:120

The Kaarththiki Vilakkeedu being connected with Adi-Mudi Thedal legend and the Thiruvannaamalai temple at Thiruvannamalai district, Tamil Nadu, was celebrated in a big way at this temple.

During the rule of Rajendra Chola - 1 in the year A.D.1031 his "Service Assistant" (Panimahan) Udaiyaan Paandiya Divaakaran granted (probably on the order of Rajendra Chola) seven kalanju of gold to the Sabaiyoar of this temple, for expenses for Thiruvannaamali Udaiyaar temple to be taken in procession and for providing Peruamuthu to the deity, and to provide chatti choru for Adiyaars on the Thirukkarththikai thirunaal.

South Indian Inscriptions Vol 8, Ins No: 66

In the year A.D.1039 during the rule of Rajendra Chola - 1 the Thevathaanam land (of Thiruannaamalaiyaar temple) were authorized by Adikaari Venkadanaan alias Rajaraja Muvenda Velaar of Uyyalondaan Valanaadu of Cholamandalam, to be cultivated and from the Bogam (Aruvadai) in each year, the paddy and the gold (from the proceeds of paddy sales), were to be utilised on the sacred days of Kaarththikai Thirunaal and Panguni Thirunaal to serve the Thiruvannaamalai Udaiyaar and to feed Adiyaars inclusive of Sivayogikal, and the Adiyaars from outer regions.

South Indian Inscriptions Vol 8, Ins No: 68

In the year A.D.1050 during the rule of Rajadhiraja Chola - 1 his 'Service Assistant' (Panimahan) Arangan Aravanaiyan Valava Thivakara Muvendha Velaan, (probably on the order of Rajadhiraja Chola -1) from the interest earned being two Kalanju gold, for the blessings of Aadavallaan (Nadarajar) at Thiruvanaamalai Udaiyaar Koyil on the Kaarththikai Vilaa in the month of Kaarththikai arranged for 'Santhaadal' (Santhanam - Aadal = Santhana Abisekam) and for Santhanam to be sprayed while Aadavallan was taken in procession. This offering made (to Aadavallaan) on this day was to be performed annually.

South Indian Inscriptions Vol 8, Ins No: 82

In the year A.D.1050 Rajadhiraja Chola - 1 son of Rajendra Chola - 1 grantd gold for the deity Aadavallaan (Nadarajar) at Thiruvanaamalai Udaiyaar Koyil on the Kaarththikai Vilaa (Vilakkeedu) day arranged for 'Santhaadal' (Santhana Abisekam) and for the Santhanam to be sprayed while Aadavallan was taken in procession, which was to be performed annually.

Epigraphia Indica Vol 21, Ins No: 38

In the year A.D.1102 during the rule of Thiribuvana Chakravarththi Sri Kulothunga Chola - 1 being the 'thirty secondth' Thirukkaarththikai (since he ascended throne) celebrated at Thiruvannaamalayaar temple 500 kuli land was donated for the twenty Thiruveethi Aandaarkal and for two chiefs of Vengaikkaa for them to continue with their 'sacred work' (Thiruppani).
South Indian Inscriptions Vol 8, Ins No: 147

During the rule of Kulothunga Chola - 1 in A.D.1118, the Jananaatha valanaattu Sri Chola Kerala Saruppethimangalaththu Sabaiyor.....on behalf of the headman of the village Naaraayana Parameswaran arranged for Poosai Valipaadukal to the Parameswar of this village (at the temple Iraiyaanaraiyur present Elavanasur) and for Thiruvamuthu to the Thirupalliyarai Nampiraatiyaar Shrine set up by Thondaimanaar annually on the day of Thirukkarthikai.
Annual Report on Epigraphy - 1906, Ins No: 164

During the rule of Kulothunga Chola - 2 in the year A.D.1140 two new villages in Thiruvaarur were newly demarkated and named as Anapaaya Nallur and Vinotha Nallur, and the revenues from these villages were ordered to be used for Poosai valipadukal and for offerings on the auspicious days of an year, at Aaludai Nambi and Paravai Naachchiyaar (Tamil Saiva Saint Suntharamoorththy Nayanaar & wife Paravaiyaar) shrine at Thiruvarur Udaiyaar Sri Moolataanam Udaiyaar Koyil (Thiruvaarur Theagarajar Temple), among which was the Thirukkaarththikai Thirunaal.

During this same period the revenues from the existing village Gangaikonda Chola Nallur alias Sivapaathsekara Nallur in Thiruvaarur was ordered to be used were ordered to be used for Poosai valipadukal and for offerings on the auspicious days of an year, at two other shrines namely of Aaludai Pillaiyaar (Tamil Saiva Saint Thirugnanasampantha Naayanaar), and Thirunaavukkarasu Thevar (Tamil Saiva Saint Thirunavukkarasa Naayanaar) at the Thiruvarur Udaiyaar Sri Moolataanam Udaiyaar temple, among which was the Thirukkaarththikai Thirunaal.

The part of the revenue used for Kaarththikai Thirunaal festivities in all three shrines within the Thiruvarur Theagarajar Temple were for providing offerings such as Poori-Avalamuthu, Milakamuthu, Adaikaaiamuthu, Elaiamuthu, Thiruamuthu, Paruppamuthu, Kariamuthu, Uppamuthu, Neiamuthu, Thayiramuthu, Sakkarai, Seerakam, Sirai theangaai, Paakku, Ponakapalam, Naadan manjal, Karuvaalaippalam, and Oil for Thiruvilakkukal (sacred lamps).

South Indian Inscriptions Vol 7, Ins No: 485

Further under construction

(10) Kaarthikai Vilakkeedu during the period of rule of Pandiya dynasty in Tamil Nadu

No. 104 (Page No 68)

(A. R. No. 104 of 1907)

Kallidaikkurichchi, Ambasamudram Taluk, Tirunelveli District

Kiri-Krishna temple –on the same wall

Jat. Kulasekhara I : year 9+3 : 1201-02 A.D.

During the period of Maaravarman Kulasekara - 1 in the year A.D 1202 the gift of one ..... was made by a certain Kadi Narayanan Si-Kayilayamudaiyan alias Vijayarayar, for a special offering of tiruppongam to the Deity with I kalam of rice, ghee, curd etc, on the day of a festival in Krittika in Karttigai month every year in the temple of Nalayira Vinnagar-Emberuman with the interest on the amount endowed.

It was during the period of Sadaiyavarman Sunthara Paandiyan - 1 (A.D.1251-1292) ruling from Mathurai the Pandiyan empire grew to its maximum, encompassing the Chera country, Chola country, Kongu country, Bana country, south Andhra country, Kakatiya country and north Sri Lanka. His uncle Vikkrama Paandiyan (A.D.1249-1258) who was left to rule over the northern pat of Tamil Nadu by Sadaiyavarman Sunthara Paandiyan included the Thiruvannaamalai region who worshipped at this temple built a paved roadway around the Thiruvannaamalai hill for the convenience of the pilgrims to do the "Malai Valam" (Giri Valam) and named it as "Vikkrama Paandiyan Thiruveethi" with "eight distance stones" (Saalai Katkal) indicating the distances.

(11) Kaarthikai Vilakkeedu during the period of rule of Vijayanagara & Naayakkar dynasties in Tamil Nadu

There is an inscription in the central shrine of Brihadamba temple at Devikapuram at Arni in North Arcot of the Vijayanagara king Virapratapa Krishnayadeva Maharaya dated A.D.1521. It records one Sadasiva Nayakkar provided ghee for lamps during the festival of Thirukkarththikai in this temple for the merit of the chief Thirumalai Nayakkar

Inscriptions of the Madras Presidency - by V. Rangacharya - Vol 1, published by Asian Eucational Services - New Delhi

In the year A.D.1680 Arulumaan of the Madam at Icchkkudikai in Naanji Naattu Koataaru alias Mummudi Cholapuram, constructed this Madam and provided lands for its maintenance, and for celebration of many religious festivals in this Madam among which were the Thirukkaarhthikai celebration and the Maarkali thiruvilaa, and for a lamp (kuththu vilakku) to be lit on this Karththikai Sirappu ('sirappu' = vilaa) and Maasi Thiruvilaa days for Maheswara Poosai.

Avanam Journal - Vol 12, published by Thamilaka Tholiyal Kalakam, Thanjavur

(12) The Pirakarams (Walkways), Gopurams, Structures, and Layouts of various Shrines of Deities within Thiruvannaamalai Temple Under Construction


Thiruvannaamalai Temple traces it's origin from a period much earlier than third century A.D. prior to the period of great Tamil Saiva Saint Maanikkavaasakar Swamikal {Thiruvaathavoorar (A.D.285-317) of Tamil Nadu.
(Refer to my Research Thread in this same Mayyam Website titled "The era of the Tamil Saiva Saint Maanikkavaasaka Swamihal)"

The structures upto third prakara of this temple would have been of "burnt brick" from earlier periods, and renovated by kings and benefactors of subsequent periods. It was only during the medieval Chola period precisely during the rule of Aathiththa Chola (A.D.871-907), the Karuvarai of Annaamalaiyaar the Muhamandapam and the Mahamandapam surrounding the Karuvarai each enclosed within seperate walls and roofed have been converted into a Kattrali (granite temple).

This is confirmed by the references in the 'Anbil Cheppedukal' and in the Inscription in the Karuvarai of the Annaamalaiyar shrine which are as follows:

"....Aathiththa Chola built arrays of great temples (out) of Katkal (granite Stone) for Paraman (God Siva) who burnt the Muppuram. They were (all) tall and unperishable....."
Cholar Cheppedukal - by Pulavar Mahadevan & Munaivar Sangaranaarayanan - Tamil University, Thanjavur.
Epigraphia Indica - Vol 15, pages 44 to 72

".....Svasti Sri Ko-Rajakesaripanmar (Aathiththa Chola - 1) year (of rule) 13 (A.D.884), the (Chieftain) Vaanakovaraiyar Kunamanthan....Sitran - Puliyur Naadan gave donation of twenty kalanju thulai pon(gold) as "Thiruvannaanaatu devathaana bramadeyam" for the tank of Puliyurnaadi Chathurvedimangalam....."
Inscription on the built-in floor first Pirahara of the Annaamalaiyaar shrine, of Thiruvannaamalai temple.
South Indian Inscriptions - Vol 8, Ins No: 65

This is very first dated Inscription found in the entire Annaamalaiyar Temple complex engraved on the built-in floor of the Annaamalaiyar Karuvarai (Moolasthaanam), and also being the very first inscription on endowments made to this temple after the Karuvarai and Muhamandapam, Mahamandapam, have be converted into a Kattrali during the period of Aathiththaa Chola.

Futher there are two inscriptions on endowments made by two benefactors during the period of Ko-Parakesarivarman (Paraanthaha Chola - 1) son of Aathitha Chola - 1, two inscription on the endowment made in gold for providing 99 goats for provision ghee for burning nunthaa Vilakku by Kilaan Adihal queen of Paraanthaha Chola - 1, and one inscription on endowment made by Kannaradevan brother of Paranthaha Chola - 1, (another son of Aathiththa Chola by his Rastrakuda Queen Ilangopittchi). The period of these inscriptions in the Karuvarai of Annamalaiyaar that of Athiththa Chola's period, that of Paraanthaha Chola's period, his Queen Kilaanadihal (daughter of a Tamil Chera king), Athiththa Chola's ally the Chieftain Vaanakovaraiyar all prove that the Karuvarai and Muhamandapam were made into Kattrali only during the period of Aathitha Chola.

Paranthaha Chola - 1 due to some animosity with the 'subsequent' Vaanakovaraiyar king of Vaanahapaadi after the period Athitha Chola, declared war and defeated Vaanakovaraiyar and captured his kingdom and assumed the title Vaanavatharaiyan 'Cholan the king of Vaanar' and also named the doorway of the Mahamandapam as "Vaanavatharaiyan Cholan Vaayil". Among many Shrines within the Mahamandapam there is an array of 63 - Tamil Saiva Saints of Tamil Nadu and Kerala spread partly on both sides of the Mahamandapam of the second pirakara. There are also two small Mandapas at the entrance within the Mahamandapam entrance known as 'Thevaara Paaraayana Mandapam' and 'Sabaa Mandapam'.

The first pirakarem is around the Karuvarai outer wall, and the second pirakarem is around the Mahamandapam outer wall. The third Pirakarem is outside the Mahamandapam outer wall. From second pirakara to the third pirakara there is a side doorway on the Mahamandapam outer wall leading to Unnaamulaiamman Shrine.

The Ganapathi Shrine and Murugan Shrine on the either side of entrance to the Mukha Mandapam the outer the outer boundry wall of third pirakaram and the "Kili Gopuram" are the structures set up by Rajendra Chola - 1 (A.D.1011-1044). The original name of the present 'Kili gopuram' was "Uththama Chola Vaasal" with gopuram that is (Uththama Cholan gopuram) after one of the titles of Rajendra Chola - 1. It is in the third Pirakara wall and on this 'Uththama Chola Gopura Vassal' you find most of the Chola Inscriptions including the four different lengthy inscriptions of endowments made during the rule of Rajendra Chola - 1 to the Thiruannaamalaiyaar temple.

The fact that the Kili gopuram was earlier known as "Uththama Cholan" Gopuram named after Rajendra Cholan - 1 and earlier the Karuvari doorway was named as "Vaanavatharaiyan Cholan vaasal" after Paraanthaha Cholan - 1 are confirmed by the following two Historical references:

"....Udaiyaar Thiruvannaamalai Udaiya Nayinaarkkum Naachchiyaar Unnamulai Naachchiyaarkkum Rayer Krishnadevarayer thanmamaaka pannuviththa Thiruppani......Vaanavatharaiyan Cholan vaasal kathavu, kathavu kaal, metpadi Uththama Cholan Thiruvaasal kathavu metpadi palakanivaasalvaasal pon poosinathum......"
Inscription on the fifth prakaaram of the Thiruvannaamalai Temple.
South Indian Inscriptions - Vol 8, Ins No 165

The Unnaamulai Amman Karuvarai was a structure by Kulothunga Chola - 1. The Chithambareswara Shrine, Ekaambareswara Shrine, ......arossibly the Structures set up by Rajendra Chola - 1.

All other subshrines within the "boundry wall of the third Prakara" were all were structures undoubtedly constructed by Rajendra Chola - 1. The above conclusion is confirmed by the fact that among all the Inscriptions found on the third Pirakara outer wall and on the Kili gopuram, three lengthy Inscriptions on the third Pirakara wall belonged to the period of Rajendra Chola - 1 (A.D.1011-1044) there iThe Unnaamulai Amman Karuvarai was a structure by Kulothunga Chola - 1. s an Inscription (No... on third Pirakarem) of the period of Rajathiraja Cholan (A.D.1018-1054) and Virarajendra Chola (A.D.1063-1070) both sons of Rajendra Chola - 1 (A.D.1011-1044) which are the earliest among all Inscriptions found on the 'third Pirakara wall'.

The Thondaimandalam region after Cholas fell into hand of the late Pallava king Kadavaraya line named Koperunsinghan -1 (A.D.1216–1242) followed by the rule of his son Kopperunchingan - II (A.D.1243-1279). It was during their period the "third Pirakaram" outer wall with the three Gopura vaayils in the north, west and south were built, and the east Gopura vaayil was not constructed by which time Koperumsinghan lost his territory to Hoysala Balaalaa the king of south Karnataka.

The southern Karnataka dynasty namely the Hoysalas who also made Thituvannaamalai district as their new capital city and the Hoysala king Viravallaalan (Hoysala Ballalaa) ruled for a period over this region. It was during his period the Vallaala Gopuram and the sorrounding walls were built around the "fourth Pirakaaram".

After Hoysalaas the Thiruvannamalai region fell into the hands of the north Karnataka kings namely of Vijayanagara. It was during the period of Krisnhnadevaraya built the eastern gopuram and the outer walls of the "fifth Pirakaram", eleven tier Gopuram, Aayiramkaal mandapam, Vasantha Mandapam, Sivagangai theertham, Thirumalaidevi Amman samudram.





Outer Raja Gopurams

The outer South Gopuram ("Thirumanjana Gopuram") was built by ...... - 1 (A.D.1364-1387) who ruled from Mathurai, after being 're-instated' by ---------- -------

The outer West Gopuram ("Peai Gopuram") was built by ----------- in A.D.1559 during the period of --------- (A.D.1559-1563) in Mathurai.

The outer North Gopuram ("Ammani Ammaal Gopuram)" was built by r (A.D.1564-1572) who demised half way through it's constuction (later known as Mottai Gopuram), and was completed by --------- in A.D.1878 during the ----- period of Tamil Nadu.

The outer East Gopuram (also known as "Raayer (Raja) Gopuram") was started in the year A.D.1512 by the Kannada Vijayanagara king Krishnadevaraaya (A.D.1509-1529) and completed in the year A.D.1590 by Nayakkar king Sevappan (A.D.1520-1560) who ruled from Thanjavur.

(13) The present day celebrations of Kaarththikai Vilakkeedu festival at the Thiruvannaamalai Temple

The great Thiruvannaamalai Arunaachaleswarer Temple of Thiruvannaamalai district, Tamil Nadu, India, being associated with the Adi-Mudi Thedal legend continues to celebrate the Kaarththikai Vilakkeedu festival annually on a very grand sale. The Kaarththikai Vilakkeedu festival popularly known as Thirukkaarththikai and Kaarththikai Theepam festival, is the main ‘annual big festival’ (varundaantha Peru Vilaa) of this temple among many others, and is known as the' Brammoatsavam' in Sanskrit.

The Kaarththikai Vilakkeedu annual big festival is celebrated at Thiruvanaamalai Arunaachaleswarer Temple for 'thirteen days' commencing from the Uththaraadam natchathiram upto the Kaarththikai natchaththiram of the month of Karththikai.

Prior to this ten days festival at Thiruvanaamalai Arunaachaleswarer (Annaamalaiyaar) Temple a three days Vilaa is held at the Thurkkai Amman temple with images of Thurkkai Amman, Pidaari Amman, and Wikneshwarar images are taken around to streets at nights.

On the first day of the ten day festival at Thiruvannaamalaiyaar temple the images of Panchamoorththikal (Siva, Sakthi, Vinaayakar, Murugan and Chandeswarer) are taken around in procession around the streets in silver vimaanams in the morning and in different other vaahanams in the evening.

However on the 'sixth day' both in the morning and evening the images of the above mentioned Deities are taken around in procession around the streets in various vimaanams and vaakanams and in addition in Silver Cart (Velli Ratham). However on the sixth day further the images of the 63 - Tamil Saiva Saints of Tamil Nadu and Kerala are taken around in procession in vimaanams.

The the 'tenth' day is celebrated very grandly being the Barani natchaththiram day, and in the early morning the "Barani Theepam" is lighted on the top of Thiruvannaamalai hill signifying the Adi-Mudi Thedal legend, followed by poosai valipaadukal and other religious rituals within the temple. In the evening the "Maha Theepam" is lit within the temple.

The next three days following Barani theepam is followed by Theppa Utsavam and Girivalam of Thiruvannaamalai hill.

The Videos with the following URLs gives a glimpse of the Kaarththikai Vilakkeedu festival as celebrated at the Thiruvannaamalai temple in Tamil Nadu.











This year (2013) the "Kaarththikai Vilakkeedu" is celebrated at the Sivan & Murugan temples with Lamps being lit on the 18th Sunday evening populerly known as "Kaarththikai Theepam" and "Kumaraalaya Theepam", as the Kaarththikai Natchathiram commences at 12-26 p.m in the night on 17-11-2013 Sunday and ends at 1-57 p.m in the night on 18-11-2013 Monday. The Vishnu Theepam is celebrated as Vishnualaya Theepam with the commencement of the full moon day on the Saturday night at 8-22 pm on 16-11-2013 and ending at 9-57 pm on Sunday night on 17-11-2013. In the Ephemeris 'Vaakkiya Panchangam' the Lighting of Kaarththikai Vilakkuhal at homes is given as 17-11-2013 Monday.

The reason being, if the Kaarththikai natchatthiram falls on the full moon day then Saivites light Karthikai Vilakkuhal on this day known as 'Maha Kaarththikai Deepam'. (This year it happens to be Maha Kaaththkai Deepam day) If they both are not in conjunction then on the Kaarththikai Natchathiram they light lamp as Karththikai Deepam day, and on the full moon day following or a day before too they light lamps known as the Sarvaalaya Theepam day (i.e Veedukalil Theepam)

(14) The present day celebrations of Kaarththikai Vilakkeedu festival at Siva temples in TamilNadu and Kerala

At Madurai Meenakshi Sundereswarer Temple, Kaarththikai Vilakkeedu festival is celebrated very grandly every year. The images of God Shiva and Goddess Meenakshi are taken in in procession around the streets in a chariot having Idapa Vaahanam. The 'chokkapanai' is burnt burned in front of God Shiva and Goddess Meenakshi and the ash are placed on the forehead of the respective images. Following same thuupa alaththi is performed to the images.




(15) The present day celebrations of Kaarththikai Vilakkeedu festival at Saivite homes in Tamil Nadu & Kerala

Karththikai Vilakkeedu also known as Thirukkaarththikai is celebrated in Saivite homes as the worship of God Siva in the form of Fire with much piety, signified by the lighting of oil lamps on this auspicious day in their homes.

On this day the houses, house fronts and terraces where the lamps are to be lit are washed or water mopped, and cleaned before evenings. In the evening inmates of the house have a bath and dressed in traditional dressforms, with the young girls and elderly women with pottus on their foreheads and pookkal (flowers) in their hairdo adding to the dressforms.

They hang Maavilai mango leaves) thoranam with falling poochcharam in between altenatively at the doorways of their houses. The young girls and ladies draw Kolam designs of rice flower in front of their house and in the Shrine rooms sitting rooms etc. The Shrine room which too are washed and cleaned, are adorned with Poochcharam and Poomaalai on the Images of the Deities principally on God Siva and God Murugan images.

The table in front of the images are doned with tray small fresh flowers (for poosai valipaadu with malarkal), a kinnam (container) with fresh water, the powdered Sambiraani for thuupa valipaadu, Katpooram for theepa valipaadu, santhanam, kunkumam and Thiruneeru (vipoothi) in small metal containers.

This reminds us of the Tamil Thevarem of Tamil Saiva Saint Thirunaavukkarasar of Tamil Nadu, who while worshiping God Siva at a temple shrine says, “…….I cannot remember forgeting (to offer) the Salam (water), Poovodu (flowers), Thuupam (incense fumes) (as offerings) and the musical recitation of songs (Thevarems) in Tamil…….”

Amuthu (Neivethiyam) offered (padaiththal) especially with Pori urundai, Vadai, and appam. The Poosai valipaadu is done with the fall of day with the main kutthuvillaku in the shrine room lit and some ahal vilakkus lit around the shrine room, with sambiraani thuupam fumed and katpoora theepa alaaththi made to the deities in the shrines room singing of Pottri” praise from Thiruththandakam Pathikams with flowers sprayed on the idols of the deities. This is followed by other Thevarems and ‘vendal’ from the deities. In some homes the poosai with flowers is done with Sanskrit puja mantras.

After the valipaadu in shrine room the Sambirani Thupam is fumed around the whole house and the velimuttram. There after the Kutthuvilakkus at the centre of the Kolangal are lit, and oil ahal vilakkus lit and kept around in a decorarive manner at the doorways and velimuttram. Women place the lamps also on the windows, balconies, boundry walls in a neat long array. These oil lamps glow in all Hindu houses all over the streets giving a festival atmosphere.

The Karththikai Vilakkukal shedding bright light to homes from all the lamps lit on this auspicious day in worshiping God Siva in the form of Fire, is beleived to expel the darkness (evils) and bring forth much brightness (prosperity and glory) to the inmates of the houses with the blessings of "God as Siva" (God Siva). Karthikai Deepam is a festival of TamilNadu and Kerala which is celebrated especially by Tamils and Malayalees throughout the world.

The Video on the following URL gives a glimpse of Karththikai Vilakkeedu at Saivite homes.






(16) The Kaarththikai Vilakkeedu in Murugan Temples and Saivite homes

On this auspicious day of Kaarththikai natchathiram in the month of Karththikai another mythological legend cameforth among Saivites wherein God Siva streamed the powerfull rays from his eye on his forehead (Nettrikkann) focused on the water in the pond named Sarvanap Poikai, and from the six stream of rays cameforth six babies who were all collected together by six Karththikai women, and when put together miraculously turned into one with six heads known as God Aarumukan (Murukan). Hence this day became also auspicious in the worship of God Murukan (God Skanda) celebrated with special rituals and worship in Murugan Temples in Tamil Nadu and elsewhere with the lighting of Kaarthikai Vilakkukal, and was known as the Kumaaraalaya Theepam.

Kaarththikai Theepam (Deepam) is celebrated in the name of God Murugan at the Palani temple, Thiruchchedur temple etc of Tamil Nadu in a big way. The Saint Arunagirinaathar of the sixteenth century - an ardent devotee of God Murugan worshipped him at the "Murugan shrine" at Thiruvannaamanai Arunachaleswara temple and received his great blessings. It was from this temple he composed the famous Thiruppukal (in Tamil) on God Murugan.

The Video on the following URL gives a glimpse of Karththikai Theepam in respect of Muruga Valipaadu at Murugan Temples and Saivite homes.








(17) The Kaarththikai Vilakkeedu in Vishnu Temples and Vaishnavite homes of Tamil Nadu & Kerala

There is another mythological legend that cameforth among the Vaishnavites of Tamil Nadu and Kerala on the Kaarththikai Theepam festival of the month of Kaarththikai. In reality they celebrate this festival as Karththikai Vishnu Theepam, in short as Vishnu Theepam or Karththikai Deepam commemorating the feat of God Vishnu (God as Vishnu) - in his incarnation as Lord Vaamana who pressed down the king Mahaabali into the 'paathala ulakam.'

On this day the homes are washed and cleaned with Kolam decoration done, in preparation for lighting of main Kuththuvilakku placed at the centre of the Kolam decorations with Ahal Vilakkuhal made of clay lit and placed all around same. The lighting of lamps are done in the evening afer the poosai (puja) valipaadukal to the Vishnu Idol in their Shrine rooms decorated with colourful flower garlands and the fuming of incense (thuupam), and offering of food items the Naiveththiyam that are special for this occasion namely the Kaarththikai Adai, Vellam Seedai, Athirasam and Pori Urundai.

Unlike the Kaarththikai Vilakkeedu celeberated in Siva Temples on the Kaarththikai Natchatthiram day of the Kaarththikai month - either or not in conjunction with fullmoon, the Kaarththikai Vishnu theepam is a festival observed essentially on the "full moon day" in the month of Kaarththikai in Vishnu temples and Vaishnavite homes of Tamil Nadu.

The Arulalaperumal (Vishnu) temple at Kancheepuram of mid sixteenth century has inscriptions that refers to a festival called Thiruk Kaarththikai Thirunaal, which in this instance refers to the Vishnu Theepam.

Vishnu Theepam is presently celebrated in a 'big way' in Sri Ranganaatha Swamy temple in Sri Rangam, Parththasarathy Temple in Chennai, Ulahalanda Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram, and at Varatharaja Temple in Chennai with colourful temple rituals and poosai valipaadukal to the main Vishnu idol and the other idols of deities. "Sokkappanai" too are lit in many Vishnu temples on this occasion in the evening.

The Video at the following URL illustrates the festival of Karththikai Deepam as celebrated at Sri Rangam temple.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6X40...layer_embedded Karthika Deepam at Sri Rangam



The other great significance of the Kaarththikai Theepam to the Vaishnavites of Tamil Nadu (the Sri Vaishnavites) is that it was on this auspicious day of Kaarththikai natchathiram in the month of Kaarthigai the Thirumangai Aalvaar the youngest among the twelve Tamil Vaishnava Alvaars, who was born in the village of Thirukkurayalur in Tamil Nadu in the early seventh century, and was a contemporary of the Tamil Saiva Saint Thirugnanasampanthar (A.D.641-657) of Tamil Nadu.

This is confirmed by the follwing references;

"......aarth thelunthu meignana nal arivan ivan kidavum, verththu maayaiam puvithanai vittakantridavum, theerthth anaakiya Naaranan thiruvarul athanat, Karththikaith thiru mathiyinit Karththikai naalin......."
Kuruparambarai puraanam - part 2, Thirumangaiyaalvaar Thiuvavathara Aththiyaayam

".....vaayththa pukal Mangaiyar Koan maanilaththil vanthuthiththa Karththikaiyil Karththikai naal kaan....."
Upathesa Rathinamaalai page 8

A community among the Vaishnavites of Tamil Nadu known as Mandayam Iyengars celebrate the Vishnu Theepam on the fullmoon (pournami) day of the month of Kaarththikai month as 'Yaanaip Pandikai'.

On this occasion small elephants made of clay, wood, bronze, silver or gold are prepared for the 'poosai ritual' with lamps of various shapes lit around - the elephants and their house. Women both young and old in their traditional dress circumbulate three times around the elephants sprinking milk and coconut water performing the poosai ritual. This is an important festival among the Mandayam Iyengars.

The Video on the following URL gives a glimpse of Vishnu Theepam at Vaishnavite Temples & homes in Tamil Nadu & Kerala.




(18) The Kaarththikai Vilakkeedu days as State Holidays

It will be much prudent if the ancient "Tamilian Hindu Festival of Lights of Tamil Nadu" be declared as State Holidays of Tamil Nadu, falling on two days with the "Kaarththikai Thingal (Month) Full Moon Day" - falling either on the first day or the second day of these two days, during which period the "Kaarthikai Natchaththirm of the Kaarththikai Thingal" definitely falls - in conjunction or with the full moon a day before or after. This will facilitate the Saivites (both Siva & Murugan worshippers) and Vaishnavites (worshppers of Thirumaal {Vishnu}) in celebrating the "Kaarththikai Vilakkeedu Festival" with their performance of "religious worship and rituals" in the traditional and festive manner.

(19) The Kaarththikai Pournami celebrated in Andhra Pradesh

During the period of the Tamil Chola Emperor 'Rajaraja Chola - 1' (A.D.985-1014) in Tamil Nadu, the entire (old) Andhra Pradesh which also included the newly partitioned Telingana State came under the sway of the mighty Chola empire. From the year A.D.996 to A.D.1070 the entire (old) Andhra Pradesh became a "protectorate" of the Chola Empire, and from the year A.D.1070 to A.D.1135 it came under the "direct rule" of Cholas with the Chalukya/Chola king Kulothunga - 1 of the "female line" of Chola dynasty ruling from Andhra Pradesh having succeeded on the Chola throne as the next Chola Emperor of Tamil Nadu in the absence of 'legitimate successors' in the "male line" of Cholas. His claim and succession to the Chola throne was based on the fact that his queen (Mathuranthahi), his mother (Ammanga) and grandmother (Kunthavi) were all Tamil Chola Princes who married in the Vengi royal family of Andhra Pradesh.

It was during this period many Chola Siva temples were built in various regions of (old) Andhra Pradesh, and the Hindu festivals and rituals practiced in the Siva temples in the Chola country were also introduced in the Siva temples in Andhra Pradesh. One such festival was the "Ancient Tamilian Festival" the "Karthikai Vilakkeedu", also known as "Karthikai Deepam" and "Karthikai Deepalu"

Presently many Siva temples in Andhra Pradesh celebrate Karthikai Vilakkeedu as "Karthikai Pournima" with rituals 'slightly' varying from Tamil Nadu with the lighting of a 365 strand wick, and also celebrating at the closest river banks with the lighting of clays lamps on plantain tree barks and moving them into river after performing religious rituals to God Siva at the river banks.

At the present 'Rajamundry' the former "Rajamahendravaram" which was a new city built adjacent to the Godavari river by the Vengi king Rajaraja Narendra grandson of Emperor Rajaraja Chola - 1 of Tamil Nadu, and at the present Vizagapattinam the former "Kulothunga Chola Pattinam" which was another new city built 'also' near Godavari river by Kulothunga Chola -1 the great-grandson of Emperor Rajaraja Chola - 1 of Tamil Nadu, the Karthikai Deepam continues to be celebrated grandly as 'Karthika Pournima' and as 'Karthika Deepalu' in addition to many other temples of Andhra Pradesh including the great Kalahasti temple (Thirukalaththi), Drakshirama temple and the Sri Sailam temple.







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