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
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
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).
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 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
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.