National festivals like the Independence Day and Republic day are celebrated in every corner of the city. Examples are quite numerous where fairs and festivals that are widely popular throughout the country are feted in great jubilance. Navaratri, Diwali, Holi, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha, Muharrum, Birthday of Prophet Mohamed, Christmas, Easter, Good Friday etc are quite significant amongst them. Apart from these festivals there are few fairs and festivals in Chennai, which are exclusive of the city, typifing the fervour and exuberance of the local customs and practices. These are mostly religious festivals held with in the premises of any of the beautiful temples of the region. Among them, the following deserve due mentioning:
Chennai , better known as Gateway to the south has a unique culture and tradition, largely manifested in the numerous festivals that are celebrated very year. Religious festivals deserve special mentioning highlighting the piousness and devotion of Tamil people . Arubathumoovar Festival is one such religious festival. It is organized in Kapaleeswarar Temple in Mylapore, usually held in the month of March to April. It is an ancient temple built by the then Palava kings during eight century. Following the structure of architecture of the Dravidian school, the temple tower, as known as Gopuram in Tamil, has a charm of its own.
The Arubathumoovar Festival is feted by thousands of devotees who gathered here to worship the temple deity, God Shiva. Music, dance and merry making too heighten the festival spirit. Apart from these as part of the festival, the displays of sculptures have proved to be real crowd pullers. In fact this temple houses some stunning sculptures, amongst them, the bronze idols of sixty 'Saivaite Saints' or 'the Nayanmars' are the favorites, nicely adorning the courtyard outside. Arubathumoovar festival is devoted to those Nayanmars.
During festival the tourists visit the courtyard ground just to behold the age-old Punnai tree and the small statue of Deity Parvathi underneath. This shrine is admirable because of its unique form of a peacock, in the gesture as if she is idolizing God Shiva. It is from this legend that Mylapore, the hub of Arubathumoovar Festival, deduces its name Mayil that means peacock in Tamil and Oor signifying town.
Pious devotees arrive in large numbers not just to worship and seek the blessings of the deity. The wonder of architectures and sculptures too make them feel satisfied to their hearts' content.
Even specialized fairs too are in no dearth, mainly organized to promote the industrial growth and development of the city concerned. The most significant among the fairs and festivals in Chennai is the All India Tourist & Industrial Fair. Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organizes this grand affair. Usually held during the January to March, the fair provides the rich industrialists and businessmen to get the platform to prove their acumen in the whole of Indian panorama. India Leather Fair is another special fair organized during December - January. Various Specialized Fairs are also organized often more frequently. Logistics Expo, Interior and Exterior Expo Chennai etc are occasions for producers and traders to display the latest items of logistics systems, warehousing, storage, transportation and distribution.
Vaikuntha Ekadesi Festival
Apart from feting the popular festivals of India, there are several festivals revered by all the people of Chennai and its nearby provinces. One of the famous local festivals is Vaikunta Ekadesi Festival , held during the Margazhi month of Tamil calendar. It occurs in the months of December and January. Thousands of prople celebrate it for twenty days at a stretch. Especially in the district of Tiruchirapalli, this is celebrated with enthusiasm with in the premises of Srirangam's Vishnu Temple. Just like any other , in Vaikunta Ekadesi Festival too music forms an integral part. On a daily basis, the devotees recite the popular songs of the famous poet Thirumangai Alwar. All these songs are composed in praise of Lord Vishnu.
On the tenth day another festival called Mohini Avatara or Nachiarkolam festival is feted and the Ekadesi Festival is occurred on the eleventh day. There are lots more things come afterwards. From eleventh day onwards, the God Ranganatha, is being brought out in a procession through the 'paramapatha vasal', better known as gate of heaven, on a regular basis. The deity is given offerings of several edible items and his blessings sought. The idol is then brought back to the shrine following a similar grand procession. Lastly on the eighteenth day, a skit is performed where the poet Thirumangai Alwar is depicted to come in contact with the divine god. Although this festival is consecrated to lord Vishnu in some places like Parthasarathy temple of Chennai city, this Vaikunta Ekadesi Festival is feted in memory of Lord Krishna.
Music and dance are part and parcel of every festival in Indian. Naturally the fairs and festivals in Chennai too have inherited this practice. During the months of December and January, music concerts and dance performances happens at several halls that have been built in every nook of Chennai city on a regular basis. The famous 'dance festival of Mamallapuram, Kanthuri festival, Pongal and Chennai Music and Dance Festival' are some of them that are quite significant. . Not to mention, the 'floating festival' is unique in its own way, highly famous in Mylapore. The time of its occurrence is January to February.
(Last Updated on : 28-03-2013)
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