Karthigai Deepam Festival
The Karthigai Deepam festival is celebrated in the Tamil Month of Karthigai (November – December). It begins on Uttradam day with flag hoisting and goes on the nine days. In the early hours of the tenth day Bharani Deepam in five agantams will be lit in Arunachaleswarar’s Sannithi. In the evening, the Pancha Murthis will be brought to the Katchi Mandapam. At dusk (Pradosha) the Karthigai day synchronizing with the full moon day, the deity, Ardhanareeswarar is taken out to this place with the five deepams, which are put in a big receptacle near the flug-stuff. At the same time the beacon light on the hill is lit. The huge concourse of devotees from all parts of our country in a million voice raise a cry simultaneously “Harohara to Annamalai” which will rend the air. It is a sight for the Gods to see!

ROWS OF agal vilakkus in front of every house… this is the image that at once comes to mind when we think of Karthigai Deepam – the festival of lights that is celebrated throughout Tamil Nadu during the month of Karthigai (November-December). Not many of us are aware that it is one of the oldest festivals celebrated in the State, perhaps even before people began celebrating Deepavali and Navarathri. Also, unlike many other Hindu festivals, Karthigai is basically a Tamil festival and is virtually unknown in most other parts of the country.

One of the earliest references to the festival is found in the Ahananuru, a book of poems, which dates back to the Sangam Age (200 B.C. to 300 A.D.). The Ahananuru clearly states that Karthigai is celebrated on the full moon day (pournami) of the Tamil month of Karthigai. It was one of the most important festivals (peruvizha) of the ancient Tamils. Avaiyyar, the renowned poetess of those times, refers to the festival in her songs.

Karthigai is essentially a festival of lamps. The lighted lamp is considered an auspicious symbol. It is believed to ward off evil forces and usher in prosperity and joy. While the lighted lamp is important for all Hindu rituals and festivals, it is indispensable for Karthigai.

Karthigai Deepam Festival Legend
There is an interesting story explaining the link between Karthigai and lamps. Legend has it that Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma began to quarrel as to who was the more powerful of the two. While they were fighting, Lord Shiva appeared before them in the form of a huge pillar of fire. Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma gave up quarrelling and decided to find the top and the bottom of the pillar.

Accordingly, Brahma assumed the form of a swan and moved upwards. Vishnu transformed himself into a boar and started digging deep into the earth. But even after searching for several years, neither of the two was able to find the ends the pillar. Finally, they realised that the pillar was none other than Lord Shiva.

Soon afterwards, Lord Shiva appeared as a hill (Arunachala Hill) at Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu. Indeed, the very names `Tiruvannamalai’ and `Arunachala’ translate as `holy fire hill.’ The Shivalinga in the temple here is the agni linga. The tiny lamps lit during the Karthigai festival (Karthigai Deepam) are believed to be the miniature replicas of the fire linga. Every year thousands of devotees from Chennai and elsewhere flock to Tiruvannamalai to see the spectacular Karthigai Deepam there.

Geographic accessibility
This town Thiruvannamalai is situated in 187 kilometers away from Chennai, formerly known as Madras- Capital of Tamil Nadu and there is a railway station on the villupuram – Katpadi rail route. This town stands on an elevation of 266ft ( 79.80 M ) above sea level.


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