Arunachala Deepam Festival. Day Nine - Day: Chandrasekhara on Purusha Meruga Vahana
On the morning of the 9th day of the 10-day Karthigai Deepam Festival Lord Chandrasekhara is mounted on the Purusha Meruga Vahana.

This vahana known in Tamil as "Purushamirugam" (man-beast) has the body of a lion and the head of a human being. The sphinx-like creature supposedly has the power to avert evil influences and bad luck. It is also believed to be able to take away the sins of devotees when they enter a Temple and for this reason is often found in a strategic position at Temple gateways and near entrances to the inner shrine.

The form of the "purushamirugam" adorns lamps used in puja ceremonies (deeparadhana) and plays an important role in daily and yearly rituals in Shiva temples.

After giving darshan, Lord Chandrasekhara on Purusha Meruga Vahana starts procession of Temple perimeter streets

Lord Chandrasekhara on Purusha Meruga Vahana

Lord Chandrasekhara accompanied by Vinayaka on procession

2016 Arunachala Deepam Festival. Day Nine - Night: Kailasa (Ravana) Vahana
On the night of the 9th day of Karthigai Deepam Festival Lord Chandrasekhara is mounted on the Kailasa (Ravana) Vahana.

Kailasa (Ravana) or Ravananugraha-murti ("form showing favour to Ravana") is a benevolent aspect of Lord Siva - depicted seated on His abode (Mount Kailasa) with Goddess Parvati and rakshasa Ravana below trying to shake the mountain.

The legend recorded in the Ramayana goes like this:
The ten-headed, twenty-armed mighty King Ravana defeated and looted the city of Alaka (which belonged to his step-brother and God of wealth, Lord Kubera). After the victory, Ravana was returning to Lanka in the flying chariot stolen from Kubera, when he spotted a beautiful place which his chariot could not fly over.

Ravana met Shiva's bull-faced dwarf attendant Nandikeshvara and asked the reason for his chariot's inability to pass over the place. Nandi informed Ravana that Siva and Parvati were enjoying dalliance on the mountain and no one was allowed to pass.

Ravana mocked Siva and Nandi. Enraged by the insult to his Lord, Nandi cursed Ravana that monkeys would destroy him. In turn, Ravana decided to uproot the mountain Kailasa, infuriated by Nandi's curse and his inability to proceed further. He put all his twenty arms under Kailasa and started lifting. However, the omniscient Shiva realized that Ravana was behind the menace and pressed the mountain into place with his big toe, trapping Ravana beneath it. Ravana gave a loud cry in pain. Advised by his ministers, Ravana sang hymns in praise of Siva for a thousand years. Finally, Siva forgave Ravana and granted him an invincible sword. Since Ravana cried, he was given the name "Ravana" - one who cried.

Lord on Kailasa (Ravana) Vahana

Kailasa Ravana Vahana

Devotees watching procession

The Tamil version of the legend narrates that imprisoned under Kailasa, Ravana cut off one of his heads and built a veena from it. He used his tendons for the strings and began singing the praises of Siva which pleased the Lord so much that he bestowed a powerful linga to be worshipped by Ravana at Lanka.

Ravana Vahana

Vahana shows Tamil version with Ravana's head back of Veena