Arunachala Karthigai Festival: Day 2. Morning - Surya Perai Vahana
On the morning of Day Two of the Karthigai Festival, Surya Perai is the Vahana for the Lord. Surya is the representation of Fire (or Agni) and the fourth element of the Panchabhutas. The essential character of Fire is to generate heat and according to Hindu Mythology, Agni is one of the Eight Guardians that guard our Universe (known as Asta-dik-palakas).

During each procession the panchamoorthies are seated on their respective Vahana. The word "Vahana" denotes "that which carries, that which pulls" and signifies the mount of the God. The mount represents a Divine attribute associated with the God.

Sun God at Arunachala
On the advice of Brahma, Bhaskara (i.e. the Sun-God) who is a mass of refulgence but who was harassed by Asuras, devoutly worshipped the Lord of Arunachala.

After plunging into the sanctifying pure Tirtha created by Brahma, he circumambulated Arunachala, the Lord himself.

After gaining victory over all the Daityas and (the privilege of) circumambulating Meru, he gained supreme refulgence that destroys the brilliance of enemies.
[Skanda Purana (P), Chapter 6, Verses 32-34]

Aditya whose shape was formed by Tvastr blazed with brilliance. The Lord of Planets attempted to cross Sonadri. The horses of his chariot lost their power and became tired. Due to the refulgence of Sonadri he became devoid of glory. Even with all the attempted motion of the possessor of cluster of rays (i.e. Sun), he became unable to go to the heaven. On the advice of Brahma he propitiated Arunachala. When the Lord was pleased, he obtained the path of the sky and splendid horses.

Ever since then the Sun never crosses the mountain named Sona but goes circumambulating him.
[Skanda Purana (P), Chapter 6, Verses 45-49a]

Arunachala is replete with mythology connected with the Surya, the Sun God. To find out more about Surya's connection with the Hill, go to this link

Lord Vinayaka to lead procession seated on Rat Vahana

Preparing Surya Vahana at Alankaram Mandapam

Lord on resplendent Surya Vahana

Proceeding along the mada veedhis

Vinayaka on Rat Vahana and the Lord on Surya Perai Vahana

2016 Arunachala Karthigai Festival: Day 2. Morning - New Mahadeepam Cauldron
On morning of the 2nd day of the 2016 Karthigai Deepam Festival, the new cauldron was brought to the Alankaram Mandapam for puja and aarti and to be viewed by eager devotees.

After which the new Cauldron was pulled by tractor around the Mada Veedhis (perimeter streets surrounding Arunachaleswarar Temple).

New pot

New pot

2016 Arunachala Karthigai Festival: Sugarcane Cradles
There are a number of Temples in Tamil Nadu at which parents pray and make a vow that they may bear a child. In such Temples, one can see wooden and cloth cradles hanging from trees as representative of a vrata (vow) between the parent and the Deity that their wish of progeny might be fulfilled. On successfully bearing the child the parents who made the vow, return to Arunachaleswarar Temple and carry the child in a sugarcane cradle on circumambulation of perimeter streets.

Boon cradles hanging from branches of Mahila Marams in Temple's Third Prakaram

Child being carried inside sari cradle hanging from sugar canes

Sugar cane with cotton sari cradle

Stacks of sugarcane available on streets

Car Street with lots of activity and milling devotees

Family in Temple Compound, Fifth Prakaram

2016 Arunachala Karthigai Festival: Day 2. Night - Indra Vahana
At Arunachala, Indra has a special significance as he associated with the Asta Lingam with the cardinal direction of east. The Indra lingam is dominated by the Navagrahas, Lord Surya and Lord Shukra (Venus). Devotees are blessed with long life and prosperity on worshipping the Indra lingam.

Indra is the King of the Gods and ruler of the heavens. He is the God of thunder and rain and a great warrior, a symbol of courage and strength. He wields a lightning thunderbolt known as the vajra, rides on a white elephant known as Airavata and also has a golden chariot drawn by ten thousand horses.

The formidable thunderbolt-wielding Indra strikes an imposing figure but as king of the Gods he is generally benevolent, being generous to his worshippers, guaranteeing peace and prosperity and delivering beneficial rainstorms to end droughts. He can also be called upon in times of war to give support with his Divine weapons and a favourable intervention.

Indra Vahana