(Last Updated on : 15/07/2013)
Temple Festivals of Southern India are celebrated in various religious abodes with pomp and show. Southern Region of India consists of mainly four states namely Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka
, Tamil Nadu
. Andhra Pradesh is enamoured with thousands of religious centres, where weekly, monthly or annual Andhra Pradesh temple festivals are held. Every village and town in Andhra Pradesh
has some kind of temple or place of worship where religious festivals are held, accompanied by fairs.
Some of the Andhra Pradesh temple festivals are of restricted magnitude, while others have a wider significance. Amaravati
Srisailam, Tripurantakam, Kaleswaram, Daksharamam, Kalahasti vemulavada and Inavole are the most important Saiva Kshetras and Srikurmam, Simhachalam, Nellore, Tirupati, Ahobilam, Srikakulam yadagiri, Bhadrachalam and Mamgalagiri are the most important Vaishnava Kshetras or religious sites in the state.
l, Mandapaka, Alampuram, Secundrabad
, Bejawada, Sulurpeta and Donakonda are important Sakti Kshetras. All these places host some significant Andhra Pradesh temple festivals. The Andhra Pradesh temple festivals attract millions of devotees throughout the year, and the rituals observed here are traditional, in accordance with the Agamas. Kotappakonda Temple Fair is held in Narasaraopet taluk of Guntur
district in the temple of Koteseswara Swamy. On the Mahashivarathri day, a big fair is held and lakhs of people participate in it. Devotees who come here vow to get their heads shaved. Many of them come to the hill from their villages with decorated and lighted prabhas to convert their vows. Maridamma Festival is held in the Maridamma temple, in Peddapuram taluk in East Godavari district. Celebrated for thirty-one days from the Amavasya in the month of Jyeshtha to the Amavasya in the month of Ashadha, this Andhra Pradesh temple festival also hosts dances like kolatoms and display physical feats and skills with sticks.
Sambhulingeswara Kalyanotsavam is another Andhra Pradesh temple festival, celebrated during Mahasivaratri for five days. On the first day, Prabhas are come out in procession. Cash, silver and gold ornaments, coconuts, fruits and flowers are offered to the Lord, along with cows and calves, tying - them to the Dhwajasthambha in fulfilment of their vows. It is believed that childless women, who perform Sambhulingeswara Kalyanotsavam for five days, wearing wet clothes, would surely be blessed with children. Fasting and Jagaranam are also observed. A large five-day fair including cattle fair is held near the temple. Yellaramma Jatara is another Andhra Pradesh temple festival, celebrated in Yellaramma temple in Tanuku Taluk of West Godavari district.
Kerala Temple Festivals
are best known for their colour and grandeur. The most colourful temple festival of Kerala is Thrissur Pooram which attracts thousands of devotees and spectators from all part of the state and India.
Thrissur Pooram festival
is celebrated in Medom (April-May) and consists of processions of rich caparisoned elephants from various neighbouring temples to the Vadakunnatha Temple. The most notable processions are those from the Krishna Temple at Thiruvambadi and the Devi Temple at Paramekkavu, both situated within the town itself. Shaktan Thampuran, the Maharaja of erstwhile Kochi state, introduced Thrissur Pooram. The Pooram festival is also well known for its magnificent display of fireworks. Two rival groups representing the two divisions of Trissur
, Paramekavu and Thiruvambadi display fireworks with royal grandeur. Each group is allowed to display a maximum of fifteen elephants and all efforts are made by both the parties to secure the best elephants in South India and the most artistic parasols, several kinds of which are raised on the elephant during the display. Each party to excel the other does the commissioning of elephants and parasols in the utmost secrecy. Beginning in the early hours in the morning, the celebrations of this Kerala Temple Festivals
last till the break of dawn, the next day. Thrissur Pooram is still considered as the major Kerala Temple Festival in south India.
Among the rival groups participating in this Kerala Temple Festival, the most important ones are those from Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi temples. At the close of the Pooram both these groups enter the temple from the western gates and come out through the southern gate to stand in a row, face to face, one from the round and other from the Municipal Office Road. This spectacle of the Kerala Temple Festival is highly enchanting. Although this grand festival is known as Trissur Pooram, it is in fact the end of the eight days Utsavam Festival of nine temples.
Karnataka Temple Festivals
boasts a multi-religious population and thus their religious festivals are of special prominence in south India. Festivals of all religions are celebrated here. Buddhist and Jain festivals like Buddha Poornima and Mahaveera Jayanthi are quite famous in certain regions of Karnataka.
Karnataka Temple Festivals
also marks the importance of the specific temples in the state. Dasara festival in Karnataka
is important festival which celebrates women power. Chamundeshwari is the personification of courage, strength and power and thousands of devotees pray to her during Dasara. When the male gods failed to destroy the demon, it was the Devi who stood up to the occasion. Deepavali is the festival of diyas or deepas all over the nation; however it is celebrated in Karnataka temples too. The temple premises are lightened with colourful lights. This five-day long temple festival marks the Demon Narkasura, killed by Lord Krishna
. It is also called Kaumudi Deepam or Dipalika. The temples of Karnataka are decorated in typical traditional style during the Karnataka Temple Festivals. These festivals are usually performed by the temple priests; however sometimes priests of higher status are invited to perform the greater rituals. Yajna is an important part of the Karnataka Temple Festivals.
Vaikunta Ekadashi is a temple festival in Karnataka that occurs in the calendar month of Marghazhi or Margashira, usually in the winter months. Ganesha Chaturthi is a popular Karnataka temple festival, celebrated on the day Lord Ganesha resurrected to life on earth with the head of elephant. This festival is observed in the lunar month of bhadrapada, shukla paksha chathurthi and lasts for 10 days, ending on Ananta Chaturdashi.
The Karnataka Temple Festivals also include the famed Gowri Habba
, celebrated a day before Ganesh Chaturthi
. It is a significant festival in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh & Tamil Nadu. Goddess Gowri is worshiped through out India for her ability to bestow upon her devotees power, courage and valour. She is the most powerful of all the Goddess and is the very incarnation of Aadhi Shakthi Mahamaya. It is believed that on the thirteenth day Thadige of the month of Bhaadrapada Goddess Gowri is welcomed at her patents' house, in reality the temple where she is worshipped. The next day Lord Ganesha, her son comes as if to take her back to Kailasa. The Swarna Gowri vratha is chanted on the occasion, to please the Goddess.