The grand league of Chithirai Thiruvizha
Posted by srijita das on May 8, 2017
From the cheerful folk performances, the glittering procession of deities, fun-filled fairs, brightened Temple streets to the various appetizing street food and the very experience of nudging through the crowd; Chithirai Thiruvizha is the Tamil Nadu’s greatest acclaimed event. Held in the famous Meenakshi Temple, this year the Chithirai Festival began on 28th April and will last until 10th May.
It is during this time when the temple town, Madurai comes alive with myriad moods and colors. A sea of people from all around the world throng to witness this grand carnival that is unique in its ways. The Chithirai festival in Madurai is amongst the world’s longest annual commemorations and has been in existence for more than four hundred centuries. It rejoices this festival with an aim to unite the followers of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva by re-enacting the wedlock ceremony of Lord Sundareswarar (Shiva) and Goddess Meenakshi (Lord Vishnu’s sister).
Now, I have no plans to bore you with its history and importance further, something you can find in any travel info website or guidebook. I will rather tell you the few exciting and interesting things that the city offers during this time of the year to its guests.
Witnessing traditional Tamil wedding
The Chithirai Festival is a great opportunity to live the local life in Madurai and see a traditional Hindu wedding ritual. The festival is celebrated with lots of excitement and hype. The celebrations extend all over the city, and the streets are flooded with devotees.
Traditional car fest
The car festival in the Madurai Meenakshi Temple is a splendid display. Plonk yourself on top of a tall building in the Masi Streets to get an aerial view of the jam-packed roads and the beautifully decorated enormous temple car, making its way through the crowd.
The royal feast
After the celestial wedding of Goddess Meenakshi, the mega feast is a delicious experience. Throughout the day, a three-course meal is cooked in batches and is served to lakhs of devotees. The feast turns out to be a grand success every year.
Pudumandapam shopping delights
Pudumandapam is an ancient monument from the 17th Century and is often dubbed as the ‘oldest shopping mall.’ It is an explosion of colors with stalls that are selling a huge range of items right from glass bangles, printed kurtas, dress materials, junk jewelry to kitchen utensils.
Shop till you drop at Chithirai Expo
The local government here organizes the annual Chithirai exhibition that will give you an amazing budget shopping experience. Name it, and you find every item with alluring festive discounts here. You can also take a fun ride on the giant wheel that is put up in the center of the ground.
Treat in the Street
The street is dotted with stalls and other small vendors that offer delights for the soul. Hop from one stall to the other along the street and relish the local cuisines of the town like the Kamarkat, bhushi halwa, javvu-mithai, etc.
Cool for summers -‘Neer mor pandals’
After a tiring shopping venture, quench your thirst in the ‘Neer mor pandals’ that are spread across the road-sides offering refreshing drinks of buttermilk and Panagam.
Fancying Godliness in the streets
Pull an attire and dress up as fictitious characters to take part in the paraphernalia of the processions. Adults and kids wear various outfits to resemble various gods and are taken to the streets in the evening.
A night full of life
Throughout the night, people descend on the streets actively participating in the celebration and immersing themselves in the festive spirit. Colorfully lighted and decked up arcades of Gods and Goddesses are taken out in a procession on the roadways. There is dance, music, fun and laughter all through the night.
The touch of supreme divinity
This ten-day festival ends with Lord Kallazhagar’s (incarnation of Vishnu) heroic entry into river Vaigai. The idol is positioned on a galloping golden horse that is taken into the river amidst the masses. It’s a visual treat to observe this splendid event and feel the surge of spirituality.
Pack your bags and get set to travel Madurai this summer to indulge in an ecstatic spiritual affair! 😀
For bookings click on Chithirai Thiruvizha or call us on 080-304-59999
Tips and other relevant info
- The carnival commences with a flag hoisting ceremony on the first day. However, the most important celebrations occur towards the end of the festival.
- If you wish to see the grand wedding, then you are required to obtain an entry ticket to the place where the ceremony takes place.
- Most of the activities happen outdoors, and the weather remains hot. Hence, choose your clothes wisely.
- One must carry a bottle of water, scarfs, and sunscreen to escape the heat.
- Start early every day when here to enjoy and witness the different rituals that are conducted right from morning till midnight.
- Keep your belongings under strict supervision, such as your wallet and camera. Losing them in the crowd is easy.
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About the Author
Srijita is a travel writer and is currently on a mission to discover and write about lesser known destinations. She attempts to reach out to the world and talk about her experiences she had while adventuring into the woods or sometimes in the waves of an ocean, in her blogs. She loves to eat everything edible and dreams about touring the world.
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