Nithyakalyana Perumal Temple, Thiruvidandai – Worship Practices & Festivals
Though the temple is an archaeological site, the temple is active in worship practises. The temple follows Thenkalai tradition of worship based on Vaikasana Agamic tradition. The temple is open from 6:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The temple priests perform the pooja (rituals) during festivals and on a daily basis. The temple rituals are performed four times a day: Ushathkalam at 8 a.m., Kalasanthi at 10:00 a.m., Sayarakshai at 5:00 p.m. and Ardha Jamam at 8:00 p.m.
Each ritual has three steps: Alangaram (decoration), neivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for both Nithyakalyana Perumal and his consort Komalavalli. There are weekly, monthly and fortnightly rituals performed in the temple. Various festivals are celebrated in the temple, with the Chittirai Brahmotsavam during the Tamil Month of Chittirai (during April - May), and Vaikuntha Ekadashi during Margazhi (December - January) being the most prominent. During Brahmotsavam festival, the festival deities of Nithyakalyana Perumal and Komalavalli are taken in procession around the streets of the temple.
The annual festival, Thaipusam, is celebrated with much pomp and splendor. Panguni Ultram, celebrated for 9 days, is another major draw. Thousands of devotees visit the shrine every year. All days are auspicious in this temple. Vaikunda Ekadasi is very devotionally celebrated in the temple in December-January.
Vaikunta Ekadasi is the Shukla Paksha Ekadashi (11th day of the waxing moon fortnight) that occurs in Margazhi/Dhanurmasa (December-January). It is believed that ‘Vaikuntha Dwaram’ or ‘the gate to Lord Vishnu's world’ is opened on this day. Special prayers, yagnas, discourses and speeches are arranged at Vishnu temples across the world on this auspicious day.
The Annual Brahmotsavam is conducted in Chittirai (April-May).
Garuda Sevai, the special procession of the Lord on his vehicle the kite bird called Garuda, is held during the months of Aani (June-July), Aadi (July-August), Thai (January-February) and Maasi (February-March).
The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamilnadu. The temple is one of the most visited tourist destination in the Chennai - Mahabalipuram region.