Monday, February 20, 2012

Annamalaiyar

Annamalayar

Everytime I visit Chennai there are two cities I must visit. One is Kanchipuram and the other Thiruvannamalai. While Annamalai is where my ancestors are from, it is Annamalaiyar himself who brings me back there everytime for he is an absolute joy to behold.

I headed to Kanchipuram in the wee hours of the morning to reach there for the morning abhishegam that we would usually book for to do for Kanchi Kamakshi. After that I headed for a beautiful darshan at Ekambareshwarar temple. It was a Monday and there was a priest sitting there and reciting manthras who obligied me to a sahasranama archanai. When he saw me sitting down at the mandapam in front of the tree to sing, he came by to give me pulisadam my most favourite food which was the prasadam for the day.

I headed straight to Thiruvannamalai and feeling a bit lazy was reading a book when the rays of the sun hit my room and i looked out to find monkeys on the roof and the sun glowing at the gopuram. I immediately headed to the temple to catch the sunset and the evening prayers and to book the margazhi month abhishegam. When i reached the temple the evening abhishegam was going on so I couldn’t give my maalai there. I was walking around the temple when I saw Nadarajar being decorated oddly with a piece of cloth. I walked up to the priest and said will you put the maalai for him and he said yes but only later. If you want to see come back here.

I went to Umaiyaal for prayers and headed back to Nadarajar. That’s when I realised he was going to be decorated grandly for flowers of all sizes and colours arrived in truckloads for the idol is at least 10 feet in height. I sat down to watch the alangaram and sing. I was awestruck at the care and beauty of the decoration. Soon more people joined me. My malai was placed right at the top of Nadarajas crown. Soon they brought out the huge trunk of gold to decorate him. One by one the gold chains and crowns were placed and soon the decoration was done. I took a shot with my camera phone but wanting more I went to the iyer and asked him if I could take a picture. He said yes and I quickly took out my dslr and shot 2 photos before putting it back into my bag. Photos are not allowed in the temple.

All my years of waking up early for Marghali was rewarded with this beautiful darshan which was followed by the singing of Thiruvembavai and the procession of Manickavasagar. I followed the procession right to the end of the street – will post the photos later.

The next morning I was lucky to have been the only two umbhayakarargal for the 4am abhishegam and what a morning it was. Annammalaiyar and umaiyal were a sight to behold. And the malai I had purchased the night before was still fresh as promised by the florist.

And so on Shivarathri, I’m sharing this amazing photo to be seen with everyone. Please note this photo is copyrighted and is not for sharing, stealing or sale.  Anyone who wants to see it printed are welcome to my house ;)

V-Eyez Imagery
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