In the last three months, the temple’s head priest Jayakanthan Shivachariar has been happy to see devotees back in the temple. “For five months during the lockdown, we conducted all the poojas as per agama but we (the priests) missed the devotees. When we began to see familiar faces inside the temple, the devotional fervour increased.”
Now, in the margazhi season people are looking forward to the lord Nataraja abishekam that is due next week and hoping that the state government will allow them permission to attend some of the special rituals.
The head priest recounts the poojas done within the first week of lifting of the lockdown restrictions “We began with a shanthi abhisekam (Vaasthu Shanthi and Gramam Shanthi) to mark the cleaning of the place and to remove any negative repercussions of any disease or death during the lockdown period as the devotees were entering the temple for the first time after five months. We also performed murthy, shanthi and samhita homams and a kalasa pooja abhisekam for Kapaleeswarar, Singaravelar, Pillayar and Ambal within the first week of the temple opening up for devotees.”
Since then, people have been able to witness the grand Navarathri utsavam, the Indra Vizha on Puratasi Pournami, Anna Abhisekam on Aipasi Pournami, Kantha Sashti Utsavam for Lord Singaravelar, Deepavali, Karthigai Deepam and the Shanka Abhisekams on five Mondays in Karthigai.
He says that though archanai has not been allowed since September and the devotees are not allowed inside swami and ambal sannidhis, people are happy to pray inside.
Margazhi is an important month for devotees. In the first week of this Tamil month, devotees have flocked to the temple for the deepa aradhanai at 5.15am.
An important feature of margazhi is the 10-day Paavai Vizha that began on Sunday morning with a procession at 5.45am within the temple complex of saint-poet Manickavachakar accompanied by the recital of Thiruvampaavai.
People are now looking forward to is the biggest utsavam of the month that will take place next week. Margazhi Thiruvathirai / Pournami is the occasion for Nataraja abhisekam, an event that attracts several hundreds of devotees to the temple every year.
The grand abhisekam will take place from 11 p.m. on Tuesday night (December 29) followed by anna abhisekam, kalasa abhisekam and alankaram of lord Nataraja.
At 5 a.m. on Wednesday (Dec 30) devotees will be able to have darshan of the grand deepa aradhanai of lord Nataraja. The Theerthotsavam for Nataraja will also take place on Wednesday at the sacred tank of the temple.
Given the feedback from a large number of devotees, Jayakanthan Shivachariar has placed a request with the officials to consider granting permission for the devotees to witness the grand abhisekam at 11pm.
In addition, a request has also been placed for permission for the Saptha Paatha Utsavam on Wednesday when the Lord goes on a procession accompanied by the beating of many different musical instruments.
It must be noted that the temple has been closing for devotees at 8pm over the last three months even though the Artha Jaama Pooja takes place at 9pm and hence a special permission is required if the devotees are to be allowed for the Nataraja abhisekam late in the night.
A decision on allowing devotees for this religious event is expected to be taken during the course of the week.
- Report by S. Prabhu