Sunday, April 08, 2007

108 Divya Desam -Srirangam Serthi Festival- April 2007

The Only Day in the year Lord Ranganatha is seen together with Ranganaayaki Thaayar

On Sunday 1st April 2007, on the occasion of Panguni Festival, Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam started very early in the morning on a very interesting journey, one that lasted 3 ½ hours, around the four Uthirai and Chithirai streets.

The story goes thus:

The word was out that Lord Ranganatha had lost his ring. The reality was he had presented it to his beloved- Kamalvalli Nachiyar at Uraiyur when he had been there earlier in the week.

(On Thursday 29th March 2007, Lord Ranganatha, in all his splendour, took the 6 km trip across the Cauvery in a golden palanquin to meet his beloved Kamalavalli Naachiyar for the ‘Kalyana Utsavam’, where the entire marriage formalities between Lord Ranganatha and Kamalavalli Nachiyar was enacted at the Uraiyur Temple)

Lord Ranganatha goes around the streets to collect money to buy a ring

In order to buy a ring back, and not to be caught out by his consort Ranganayaki Thaayar at the Srirangam temple, the Lord comes out of the temple at 6am and goes around the Chithirai and Uthirai streets in a procession to collect money that will help him buy a ring.

Leading the way is the temple elephant, followed by the white horse.

Behind them, are 100s of priests (led by ThenKalai Priests in the front and VadaKalai priests behind the Palanquin) from the Srirangam temple singing Divya Prabhandham in a loud high pitched voice as they go from house to house asking for money to buy a ring for the Lord.

(While the Legend is that the Lord was to use the money collected to buy a ring.... now this money collected from households across the four Chithirai and Uthirai streets on 'Serthi Day' is shared by all the priests at the Srirangam temple)

Lord Ranganatha closely follows them in a palanquin. This event is enacted every year as part of the Panguni Utsavam festival in Srirangam on the morning of the ‘Serthi day’.

After over 3 hours on the street in the hot sun, the Lord is keen to meet Thaayar and makes a rushed entry into the temple via the Therku Vaasal (South Entrance). He runs a sprint through the Nandavanam (Garden adjacent the Thaayar Sannidhi to the right of Chakrathaazhvar Sannidhi) to make a hurried entry onto the Thaayar Sannidhi.

An Angry Goddess Ranganaayaki shuts the door on Lord Ranganatha !!!

Much to his dismay Lord Ranganatha, carried by the Seemaanthaangis(with those brightly coloured distinctive turbans on their head) on his palanquin, finds Ranganaayaki Thaayar shutting the door on him. He tries again with a quicker run but he fails to gain entry as the big doors of the Thaayar Sannidhi are shut even faster. This is enacted a few times, but sadly for the Perumal the door is shut each time with greater intensity.

Not just that, the Lord was even pelted with butter by the Thaayaar side. One found smudged faces all around the Lord’s side - butter on forehead, cheeks, shoulders of those who carried the Lord.

Ranganaayaki Thaayar was angry and upset with the Lord for been to Uraiyur (3 days ago) to meet his beloved Kamalavalli Nachiyar and having presented her with his ring.

A Heated Debate -War of Words between Perumal and Thaayar

For the next couple of hours, there is a war of words between Lord Ranganatha (represented by his priests/ Araiyar) and Ranganaayaki Thaayar( represented by her priests). The Lord tries hard to justify his commitment to the Goddess and explains that he went around meeting his devotees and blessing them and that was the reason for his delay.

Thaayar is not convinced. She questions him (and with a lot of suspicion) if that was the real reason or was it because he went out to meet his beloved at Uraiyur. The Lord (through Araiyar) asks Thaayar not to insult him in this manner especially after he has had a tiring trip in the sun that morning.

There is a rendition of Paasurams from the Divya Prabhandham to try and explain the situation and his commitment to the Goddess. The Lord makes a ‘one step at a time’ forward move towards the Thaayar Sannidhi. After an intense debate, with each side trying to go one up on the other, Ranganaayaki Thaayar finally relents saying ­ ‘Nambal Nammalzhvaar Sonnapadiyaale Ungalai Ettrukondom……..’.

Together at the Serthi Mandapam

And the Lord enters the Thaayar Sannidhi and goes to the ‘Serthi Mandapam’ on the Sunday afternoon - the only time in the year when Lord Ranganatha and Thaayar Ranganaayaki are seen together.

Several 1000 devotees queued up through the evening and night to witness this once in a year spectacle. The queue, this year, was so long that it ran outside the Thaayar Sannidhi into almost the Paramapadha Vaasal.

At 10.30pm that evening Chinna Perumal (Selvar) goes on a procession through to the Coloroon where a Ghosti was performed and prasadhams handed out. He returned through the Vadakku Vaasal (Northern Entrance) at 11.30pm.

Devotees continued to have a darshan of the Lord through the night. And late into the night and till the very early hours of Monday morning, Thirumanjanam(Abhishekam) was performed.

Monday 2nd April 2007 - Lord Ranganatha bids adieu (to Thaayar) for another year

At around 7am the next morning, Thaayar goes back into her Sannidhi. And Lord Ranganatha bids good bye to her and leaves the Serthi Mandapam (in the Thaayar Sannidhi). It had been 24 hours of exciting devotional drama.

Lord is then taken on his palanquin to the junction of North- East Chitrai Street. He goes on a Chariot procession around the temple streets before finally getting back into the Sanctum Sanctorum through the Arya Bhattaal Vaasal later that day.



At March 15, 2009 7:12 PM, Anonymous rekhs said...

v interesting read prabhu, thanks a gallon, rekhs

At March 16, 2009 1:05 PM, Blogger PRabhu S said...


Thank You



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home