Erumbeeswarar Temple, Thiruverumbur – Worship & Festivals
The temple priests perform the puja (rituals) during festivals and on a daily basis. Like other Shiva temples of Tamilnadu, the priests belong to the Shaiva community, a Brahmin sub-caste. The temple rituals are performed six times a day; Ushathkalam at 5:30 a.m., Kalasanthi at 8:00 a.m., Uchikalam at 10:00 a.m., Sayarakshai at 5:00 p.m., Irandamkalam at 7:00 p.m. and Ardha Jamam at 8:00 p.m.
Each ritual comprises four steps: Abhishekam (sacred bath), Alangaram (decoration), neivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for both Erumbeeswarar and Narunguzhal Nayagi Amman. The worship is held amidst music with nagaswaram (pipe instrument) and tavil (percussion instrument), religious instructions in the Vedas (sacred texts) read by priests and prostration by worshippers in front of the temple mast.
There are weekly rituals like Somavaram (Monday) and sukravaram (Friday), fortnightly rituals like Pradosham and monthly festivals like Amavasai (new moon day), Kiruthigai, Pournami (full moon day) and sathurthi. The major festival of the temple, the Brahmotsavam, is celebrated during the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May – June).
Other festivals include Annabishekam during the Tamil month of Aipasi (October – November), Tirukarthikai in November – December, Shivrathri in February-March and Pournami Girivalam. Every full moon, tens of thousands of pilgrims worship Erumbeeswarar by circumambulating the hill barefoot. The circumambulation covers the circumference of the hill, and is referred as Girivalam.
The car festival marks the ninth day celebrations of this festival, called ‘Vaikasi Visakam’ that is also celebrated in temples all over Tamil Nadu. The processional deities are brought and placed in the temple car and special pujas are performed before the car is pulled around the temple or the surrounding streets.
The annual Brahmotsavam is celebrated in the Tamizh month of Vaikasi (May – June). It attracts hundreds of devotees who help to pull the temple car of Sri Erumbeeswarar at Thiruverumbur.