Chitirai Festival

The ‘Chitirai Thiruvizha’ ( The festival that happens in the Tamil month of Chitirai) is an annual feature in a Madurai calendar. There is splendour. Pomp. Simplicity. Devotion. Revelry And a letting down of hair by rural and urban folk. Every body lets their hair down.

Save perhaps the policemen on duty !

Here is a video that i chanced on YouTube !

Pretty much covers one part of the festival spread over many days. The festival itself is a ten day long affair. The pomp and show of a ‘celestial wedding’. The majesticity of a ‘God’ in motion. The piety of the simple. The preparedness of the city. The commerce that keeps knocking on traditions doors. Yet a culture that somehow survives, are all things to see.

Its a must watch.

The next year around, give me a shout if you’d want to visit ! 🙂 The festival involves a deity taken in procession from Alagarkoil into the heart of the city ( a distance of more than 20 odd KM). The young and old rejoice. As part of the festival there is this traditional ‘water spray’ by the young and the old. Specially adorned. Chanting the name of Govinda.

Spraying water to cool things down. Spraying everywhere. Often targeting the camera of a stray blogger !

Here are some images that survived such targeting !

13 thoughts on “Chitirai Festival

  1. Amazing photos Kavi.


    the last photo where one boy is eying the other ones garland is just superb!

  2. Neha says:

    where to shout? 🙂

    this is interesting..our country is a mixture of so many cultures; we celebrate so many festivals over days na..there are two nav ratris, this chitirai festival, Diwali, Roza and such..I don’t think we are aware about those various festivals celebrated in the rural part of India..

    stray blogger? interesting indeed 🙂

    will see the video as soon as I get my broadband connection in place..datacard is not a wise option..

  3. Insignia says:

    I have seen the scenes on TV where Azagar is immersed in the river..Never witnessed it live. Its colorful and revelry in its own form….:-)

    thanks for sharing.

  4. I wish to visit if you wish to join and by road(motorbike) or post more such information if any upcoming festival is there. Will try to visit for sure. What say?

  5. Pooh! says:

    Every year we want to be in Mela Masi Veedi for the Chithirai thiruvizhah. You should be on the mottamadi of R’s home and you would get some amazing pics. Maybe next year

  6. Arundhati says:

    I lived in Madurai for 2 years but visited both Azhagar and Meenakshiamman temple only once each 🙁 My parents probably thought it was too crowded for us kids.

    There is something about these temple festivals, u don’t necessarily have to be religious, but if u r there… u feel the energy, the devotion, the grandeur and yet the simplicity of it ! These festivals must’ve been all the more important in those days when there was no TV or internet 😉

    I have witnessed the Srirangam chitrai thaeru many times though, as it coincided with our summer holds and the temple chariot passed through the street on which my grandparents lived!

    The most impressive one that I went to was the Vedupari, Thirumangai Alwar, at Thiruvaali Thirunagari, a village near Mayavaram in Thanjavur district. It takes place in the middle of the night, in a remote village… I could feel the devotion all around… the young priests who performed the Vedupari recited the Tamil shlokas with such passion… it was impossible not to be profoundly affected

  7. Aparna says:

    Lovely photos. Though I have never been there, I can imagine the scenes in my mind…the devotion, the revelry, the excitement. BTW, have you ever seen the Rathyatra of Puri? That too boggles the mind.

  8. Looks very colourful and exotic. And rather scary! I am not too fond of crowds, especially crowds charged up with religious fervour. Salute your courage, and your camera!

  9. sujata says:

    definitely can be part of amazing cultures of the world!! loved the shot of the kid all decked.

  10. starry says:

    A very colorful and informative all the pics.

  11. Kavi says:

    Sundar : Thanks ! Now thats some compliment…coming from a master like you ! 🙂

    Neha : Seriously ! The cultural diversity in our land has to be experienced to be believed.

    Insignia : You bet ! Colourful revelry indeed. Combined with a certain devout passion that can be inadequately described as ‘awesome’ !

    Hobo : Sure thing ! The motorbike is scary. For its been some time since i did a bike trip. More festivals and soaking up our culture…sure thing !

    Pooh : Oh yes ! Maybe next year !! maybe next year !

    Arundhati : Oh you lived here ! Thats interesting ! To say the least. And you are so right about temple festivals. There is passion, devotion, gathering, fun, dance, joy…! It unleashes a different spirit !

    The Srirangam festival must have been something indeed. Have never seen it. And the other temple that you mention of, the more remote the temple is…the more pristine the celebration..thats my hypothesis.

    Thanks for sharing. Your note adds to my travel bug !

    Aparna : Thanks ! Rathyatra in Puri..I have heard so much about it. Never been to it. I sure will someday soon. Mind boggling stuff. All around..!

    Sucharita : Colourful, scary and exotic indeed. Scary..! Hmm ! Well, these are the crowds that are my own ! So..not much of a salute indeed !

    Sujata : Thanks ! Yes..our cultures are so different…for one human kind !

    Starry : Thanks indeed !

    The holy lama : Thanks !

  12. nsiyer says:

    That was fantastic and the pics reveal the joys of the festival.

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