- Classifieds – Main
by Sasidharan Pillai
PEARLAND, TX, April 15th to 24th The festival of Meenakshi Chithirai Thiruvizha is one of the most important annual festivals held at the famous Meenakshi Temple at Madurai. Here in Pearland we follow the same tradition. This year it began on April 15th with several special attractions within the festival, such as Meenakshi Pattabhishekam, Thirukalyanam of Lord Sundareswarar with Goddess Meenakshi, and the Ratham festival. Many Houston residents who are regular visitors of MTS, carry the memories of Chithirai Thiruvizha fondly. The Mahotsavam began with dhwaja-arohanam (flag hoisting) on April 15th and concluded on April 24th with dhwaja-avarohanam. The purpose of such festivals is believed to shower all of God’s creations with health, wealth, happiness and prosperity.
It is interesting to know the sequence of rituals that comprise this festival. A decorated podium will be set up inside the main temple at the center where the utsavamurthys of Meenakshi and Sundareswaran to indicate the gruhasta ashrama (married life) of Lord Shiva with his consort Parvathi, and their son Ganesh and Karthikeya. Sri Meenakshi has a special place as the female energy (Shakti) during the Utsavam. In order to preserve the sanctity of a temple as a place of worship, certain rituals are also performed everyday of the festival. This will be held outside in a tent for convenience in accordance with the basic guidelines established by the Shastras. “Since the temple has been designed according to the principle of Vaastu Shastra, rituals are followed that recognize that periodic (annual) worship ceremonies are needed to please the deva paarshadas (attendants of the deities). Deva Paarshadas safeguard the temple premises and devotees kinetics of the earth. Rituals to please these powers (to remain favorable towards us) were carried out during the 10 days of mahotsavam.
Sri Meenakshi –Sundareswarar (Thirukalyana Utsavam) on Sunday, April 24th:
The celebration started with a seervarisai procession from Ganesh temple accompanied by Nadaswaram. Malai matruthal (garland exchange), pidi sutruthal and oonjal seva was done perfectly by the priests with so many ladies participating. The devotees were coming in continuously at one point Kalyana Mandapam was full. MTS priests followed all the steps for a beautiful celestial wedding of Sri Meenakshi and Sundareswarar, Devotees were involved in performing rakshabandanam and kanyadhanam. More than 1,500 devotees witnessed the festival and got the blessings. After the wedding, utsava murthis procession with Ratham and all the vahanas was a beautiful sight to watch. The Nathaswaram and the Chenda Melam music brought Indian Temple festive mood to all the devotees.
It was indeed an amazing and blessed day. It looked like Meenakshi holding the rainfall to complete the procession and other rituals of dhwaja-avarohanam and take all the utsava murthis inside the main temple for the final arthi. Everyone enjoyed the grand banana leaf sit down lunch with the traditional wedding menu served by many volunteers. After the lunch the cultural program was a visual treat for the devotees. Amazing dance performances by five graduating seniors was a wonderful conclusion to perfect celebration. Chairman thanked all the staff and volunteers.