Event Date: 8th February 2020.
Festivals are an integral part of Kerala culture. Kerala, being a land of diverse culture and religion, celebrates myriads of festivals that are diverse as well. The beauty of Kerala is magnified by these festivals that not only portrays the culture and heritage of the state but also exhibit the devotion of the people for their respective deity. One such festival is the Thaipooyam Festival, dedicated to the Hindu deity Lord Subramanya (Lord Muruga), son of Lord Shiva. It is celebrated with great devotion all across Kerala, especially at Subramanya Temples or some Shiva Temples. This year Thaipooyam Festival falls on 8th February 2020. Koorkancherry Sree Maheswara Temple, Thrissur and Sree Subrahmanya Swamy Temple, Haripad, Alleppey are the famous temples in Kerala that celebrate Thaipooyam Festival every year with great grandeur.
Read on to know more about Thaipooyam Mahotsavam 2020:
Thaipooyam Mahotsavam 2020:
Thaipooyam is a famous Hindu festival celebrated all across South India like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, etc and also by the Tamil speaking community settled in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, South Africa, and elsewhere around the world. Thaipooyam Festival is all about faith, endurance and penance and is dedicated to Lord Subramanya, son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi. Lord Subramanya is also known as Muruga, Karthikeya, Sanmukha, Shadanana, Skanda and Guha.
Every year Thaipooyam Festival is observed on the Pushya star of Makara Masa which falls between the months of January and February. Thaipooyam Festival is recognized as the celebration of the victory of good over evil. The festival commemorates the day when Goddess Parvathi gave her son Lord Subramanya an invincible lance, ‘Vel’ with which he destroyed evil demons.
Legend has it that in ancient times the Devas were defeated by Tharakasura, an Asura king. Devas prayed to Lord Shiva to save them from the demons. And Lord Shiva, from his own power, created ‘Skanda – the evil vanquisher’ which was gifted to Lord Subramanya by his mother, Goddess Parvathi to destroy the Asuras. Devas fought with the Asuras under the leadership of Lord Subramanya and won the battle as Tharakasura was killed by Skanda (Subramanya). Hence, Thaipooyam Festival is celebrated in Kerala to recognize the victory of Skanda over Tharakasura or the good over evil.
Rituals And Celebrations:
The spectacular ‘Kavadiaatam’, a colourful ritual dance is a votive offering to Lord Subramanya during Thaipooyam Festival. Dressed in bright yellow or saffron robes, devotees carries on his shoulder an ornate Kavadi- a huge bow, richly decorated with peacock feathers (peacock is regarded as the vehicle of Lord Subramanya) or flowers, and perform simple moves with twist and spin in a row according to the pulsating beats of percussion instruments like Udukku, Chenda, etc. And the group of Kavadi dancers makes for an exotic sight to behold and the exuberant colours and frenzy induced by the spirited dancers creates an otherworldly bliss to revel in.
As per the rituals, to perform Kavadi, the devotees have to undergo 41 days of strict penance with utter devotion. Kavadi Vratham starts by wearing Tulsi mala or Rudraksha mala worshipped in the temple and the devotees who wish to take Kavadi should wear only yellow or orange dothis from the first day of the Vratham(fasting). They are advised to follow brahmacharyam and are not permitted to travel out of his locality. They should follow a vegetarian diet without the use of drugs or liquors. While following the Vratham they should not wear footwear’s and shirts. The success of the Vratham depends on completing the 41 days penance in worshipping the Lord and following the guidelines strictly without any violations.
Kavadiyattam symbolizes the dance of Lord Shiva and it starts at a slow pace and at the end it reaches the faster pace like that of Shiva Thandava. Kavadi is considered as a symbol of burden and some Kavadi dancers even pierce their cheeks with lances and dance in a trance as an offering to Lord Subramanya. Devotees believe that their evil deeds and thoughts will come out of their body by piercing own body as it is painful and self-punishment.
Thaipooyam Festival and its spectacular Kavadiaatam attracts thousands of people every year due to its sheer vibrancy and ecstasy on display. The captivating procession of caparisoned elephants is added delight and the dazzling display of fireworks marks the end of this colourful festival.
Though the presiding deity of the Koorkancherry Sree Maheswara Temple in Thrissur is Lord Shiva, Thaipooyam Festival is one of the grand festival celebrated here in reverence of Lord Subrahmanya, son of Lord Shiva. The temple witness thousands of devotees during Thaipooyam Festival. Sree Subrahmanya Swamy temple Haripad in Alleppey district is another famous temple in Kerala that celebrates Thaipooyam Festival with much pomp and devotion. It is considered as one of the oldest temples in Kerala, established even before Kaliyuga by Lord Vishnu, who is said to have appeared as a saint to sanctify the temple.
Popular Tourist Attractions In Kerala:
Kerala is a favourite hotspot of tourists worldwide. It is renowned for its amazing tourist destinations dotted with natural wonders, historical edifices, and architectural marvels in the form of stunning temples and churches, palaces, monuments, etc. Some of the popular tourist attractions in Kerala are:
By Air: Kerala has 4 International airports, one at Cochin, others at Trivandrum, Calicut and Kannur respectively. Hence, it is easy to reach Kerala by air.
By Rail: Kerala is well-linked to all major cities of India like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, etc via rail. So, Kerala is easily accessible by rail.
By Road: The good network of roadways makes travelling in Kerala easily which directly connects the neighbouring states of South India like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Kerala State Transport buses and private buses are easily available to and from various parts of the state.
By Water: One can even reach Kerala by Ship also. The Port of Kochi and Vizhinjam International Seaport are the major ports of Kerala that serve as the major marine sea routes to Kerala from various countries. To travel in Kerala, one can make use of public ferry services, houseboats and speed-boat. Passenger boat service is operated along the waterway from boat jetties at Alleppey, Kollam, Fort Kochi, Ernakulam etc.
Come and witness the ritualistic yet spectacular Thaipooyam Festival and feel its divine bliss.
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