Monday, March 19, 2018

Koodal Azhagar Temple – Religious Practices & Festivals

Koodal Azhagar Temple – Religious Practices & Festivals
The temple follows the traditions of the Thenkalai sect of Vaishnavite tradition and follows Vaikasana Aagama. In modern times, the temple priests perform the pooja (rituals) during festivals and on a daily basis. As at other Vishnu temples of Tamil Nadu, the priests belong to the Vaishnavite community, a Brahmin sub-caste. Seven poojas or services are performed every day. Each ritual has three steps: alangaram (decoration), neivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for both Koodal Azhagar and Maragathavalli.
During the last step of worship, nagaswaram (pipe instrument) and tavil (percussion instrument) are played, religious instructions in the Vedas (sacred text) are recited by priests, and worshippers prostrate themselves in front of the temple mast. There are weekly, monthly and fortnightly rituals performed in the temple. The temple celebrates festivals on 253 days of the year. The fourteen-day annual Brahmotsavam during the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May - June) is the most prominent festival of the temple. The festive images of the temple are brought in chariot round the streets of the temple in various mounts during all the fourteen days. The Dasavatharam, the ten reincarnation stories are enacted.
The Maasi (February – March) 10 days float Teppa Utsavam on Makam Star in the temple tank, Aadi Pooram (July – August), Krishna Jayanthi – Birthday of Lord Krishna, Purattasi (September – October) Garuda Sevai for the eagle vehicle of Vishnu, Navaratri – the ten-day Dussehra festival, Karthikai (the Full Moon day in November- December), Sayana Seva, Three fruits decoration, Pavithra Utsavam, Five Garuda Seva, The hunting festival, Adhyayana Utsavam, The Birth star Festivals of Alwar and Acharyas, Gajendra Moksham, The New Year Day, Celestial Wedding Festival, Vasantha Utsava and Vaikuntha Ekadasi (the special eleventh day of the waxing moon) are other famous festivals in this temple.
Ten days are celebrated as Karthikai Utsavam (festivities in the month of Karthika), in honour of Thirumangai Alwar, who performed the Mangala Sasanam (or sang the poems in praise of the Lord) of the temple. The Vaikunta Vaasal, the symbolic gateway to the spiritual world, is kept open every year on the 24th morning of the month of Karthikai. “Ra Paththu” is a ten-day celebration that begins on the night of Ekadashi, when a hundred of the four thousand Pasurams (verses of poems composed by Alwars) are sung, every night. Two hundred Pasurams are sung every day for the next ten days and this is known as Pagal Paththu, the rest of the thousand songs are sung on the final day of the celebration. Female energy is harnessed on this night, as the Lord is adorned in the Nachiyar Thirukolam. (Where the Lord puts on the attire of Mahalakshmi). Another unique festival is the Vedu Pari Utsavam during which accounts of the temple are submitted to the Lord Himself.

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