The Makar Sankranti festival is celebrated in Karnataka during the harvest season. This is the time when most crops are harvested and hence the bounty of nature is appreciated by the farmers. Special dishes are made using the freshly harvested crops and it is often a treat to the entire household.
Description :- On this glorious Republic Day let’s celebrate our hard earned freedom and spread the message to our children of the great hardships our national leaders underwent to gift us this day. Let the shining young buds blossom to be great leaders to lead our country to more success and greatness! Jai Hind!
Description :- “Have a wonderful time with your loved ones this December”. This is a beautiful quote and I totally agree; love, joy and peace are the most important elements that can make any festival special. So make sure to share these “ingredients” and have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!
Madurai is the third largest city in Tamil Nadu and is closely associated with Tamil language. It is an ancient city and is mentioned in some of the literary works in the 3rd century. The Menakshi Amman Temple here is one of the landmarks here, around which the city is built. It is a large temple complex and is dedicated to Shiva and Parvati, known as Sundareswarar and Meenkshi here. The Rath-Ytra festival here is one of the important festivals when a large number of devotees come together and pull the chariot.
Rath-yatra means chariot festival and we see this at many temples. The Rath-Yatra at Puri Jagannath Temple is the most famous among them. Rath-yatra at Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple is called Ther Thirivizha in Tamil. It is one of the events that is celebrated during the Chithirai Thiruvizha, in the month of April. Here we celebrate the marriage of Goddess Meenakshi with Sundareswarar. It lasts for one month in which the first 15 days are for Goddess Meenakshi and the other 15 days are for Alagar. Alagar is Lord Vishnu and considered as the brother of Goddess Meenakshi.The festival starts with the chief priest of Meenakshi Amman Temple hoisting the holy flag. It remains hoisted till the end of the festival. The first event in this chain is the crowning ceremony of Meenakshi.
After this is the Dikvijayam, where Meenakshi goes and conquer all the countries and then goes to conquer Kailash also. But on seeing Lord Shiva she falls in love with him. The next event of the festival is Meenakshi Thirukalyanam, the marriage celebration of Meenakshi and Lord Shiva. This is followed by Ther Thiruvizha or the Rath-Yatra, where Lord Sundareswarar and Maanakshi visit their subjects in a chariot, which is beautifully decorated. A lot of people gather on the way that the chariot goes and pull the chariot. It is a magnificent procession and is attended by thousands of people irrespective of caste. Then is the arrival of Alagar for the wedding, but on seeing that the marriage is over, he gets angry and goes back, after giving the gifts to the newly married couple.
Madurai is one of the ancient cities in India and is about a 10 hour drive from Chennai the capital city of Tamil Nadu. Before I planned to visit the place, I went through some books that told about the history, culture and traditions of Madurai. It has more than 100 temples in and around it and Meenakshi Ammal Temple is the largest and most important among them. Many festivals are observed in the temples and outside. Some of the Madurai Festivals are Pongal, Jallikattu, Chithirai festival, Avanimoolam Festival, Festival of Cradle, Navarathri and Dance Festival.
Pongal is the harvest festival celebrated in January, which is a three day celebration in which offerings are made to the Sun, Nature and Cattle who have helped us to get a rich harvest. Jallikattu also is celebrated with Pongal, which is the taming of the bull. It is a very dangerous and exciting game in which the bulls are set free on a large ground. Men who are brave and sure of taming the bulls get on to the ground and fight with the bulls till they are tamed. Often people are seriously hurt in the act. Still it is held every year at many parts of Tamil Nadu. People from neighboring villages crowd around to see the fight and encourage the men.
Chithirai Festival is celebrated on the Tamil month of Chithirai, on the full moon day. It comes in April/May. It includes the 10 day festival of the marriage of Goddess Meenakshi with Sundareswarar and also the visit of Lord Vishnu, Alagar, to the marriage and him going back because the marriage is already over.
In the Festival of Cradle Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar are taken to a mirror chamber and kept on a swing for nine days, which rocks gently all the time. Avanimoolam Festival comes in September and is the coronation celebration of Lord Sundareswarar, who is also Lord Shiva. Navarathri is the festival desiccated to Goddess Meenakshi and is held for nine days.
The Dance Festival in Madurai is organized by the Tourism Department where dancers from various parts of India perform various dance forms. The best time to visit Madurai is from January to June.
Madurai is situated on the banks of River Vaigai, and is an important city in Tamil Nadu, South India. The city is also known as the lotus city, because it is constructed in the shape of a lotus. Tamil is the main language spoken here. Madurai was an important cultural and commercial center even as early as 550AD. There are many important tourist places here that are visited by lots of tourists from all over the world. Thai Pongal Festival in Madurai is a three day festival celebrated in Madurai and also other parts of Tamil Nadu, as well as Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
It falls between 13th to 15th January and is one of the harvest festivals in south India. Before the festival the houses are thoroughly cleaned and new clothes are bought. On the first day of the festival special puja is performed and the sickles and ploughs are anointed with sandalwood paste. Then the newly harvested rice is cut with these tools. The rice thus harvested is then cooked with jiggery, sesame seeds, chick peas, ground nuts and coconut in an earthen pot full of milk. There is an auspicious time to cook the rice, which one gets after consulting the astrologer. As it boils, the l=milk spills over and this is called the pongal. A portion of it is offered to Lord Ganesha and then it is taken byh the family. It is also distributed among neighbors and friends. Bhogi Matalu is another ritual observed on this day, where the useless articles in the house are thrown in the fire.
The second day is called Surya Pongal and on this day Surya, the Sun God is worshipped. People wear new clothes and the servants are also given new clothes. The third day is the Mattu Pongal or Gopuja. On this day the cattle is worshipped. They are given a ceremonious bath and their horns are cleaned and polished. Ten the horns are painted and decorated with flowers,. They are then given pongal to eat.
The Thai Pongal is a festival which brings people from all community together and it is celebrated with much pomp and gaiety.