Balaji gurukal, the 52 year old hereditary priest at Sri Kapaleeswarar Temple, has just had an exhausting fortnight at the Panguni Utsavam.
Almost every night, he stayed back at the Thiru Kalyana Mandapam till the lord returned late night. The alankaram of the evening had to be undone and this was followed by an Ekantha Thirumanjam. And then he got down to an extensive alankaram for the next morning’s procession.
By the time all this was done, it was well past 3am.
“Ahead of every single procession, the biggest task was to stick to the time announced in the lagnam for the Deepaarathanai,” he says. ” It involved the co-operation of various service personnel at the temple including the support priests, Vedic members, the othuvars, the paricharakar and the sripatham.”
He credits his wife and daughter for their unflinching support during the utsavam “They were my biggest supporters and the pillars of strength. When I went home, my daughter would be waiting with an energy drink and food to get me back in shape. She asked me to be like ‘Captain Cool’ (MS Dhoni of CSK) during this Utsavam.”
He says the arthanareeswarar Thiru Kolam on the fourth evening gave him the biggest satisfaction while the Thirupura Samhara alankaram on the Ther morning was another favourite of his.
The Thiru Kalyanam evening was a tense one.
“I had to ensure that the Mangalya Dharanam takes place as per the announced Lagna but for this to happen all the events preceding it had to go as per schedule. It was a very tense evening but I remembered the ‘Captain Cool’ tag that my daughter had given me.”
He acknowledges the mentoring role played by his cousin Kapali Gurukal who was seen at most of the processions through the utsavam. “He guided the younger priests to manage the procession in an orderly manner.”
He says, this year saw unprecedented crowds at the utsavam. And he is breathing easy now.
- Report, photo : S Prabhu