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MADURAI-THE ATHENS OF THE EAST

CHITHIRAI THIRUVIZHA [FESTIVAL IN THE MONTH OF CHITHIRAI]

      People in and around Madurai,tell this true story.......800px-An_aerial_view_of_Madurai_city_from_atop_of_Meenakshi_Amman_temple.jpg
Alagar  [Lord Vishnu] is the elder brother of Meenakshi [ Parvathi consort of Lord Shiva]..Alagar hills is approximately 20km from Madurai district. Alagar was invited to attend the wedding of Meenakshi and Shiva in the Madurai city. He started from the Alagar hills which is a dense forest even now. In order to protect himself from robbers, Alagar dressed himself as a robber and travelled to Madurai.  He was late by one day for his sister’s wedding because he had to travel to Madurai hiding from security and robbers. When he was crossing the Vaigai river, people told him that his sister’s marriage was over without in his absence. He got angry on this and knowing this Lord Meenakshi and Shiva also came to Vaigai river to explain and pacify him. He gave all the gifts he brought to Meenakshi and Shiva for their wedding in a Mandabam (a small building) in the middle of river Vaigai and returned back to Alagar Hill without entering Madurai.
THIS IS THE STORY BEHIND CHITHIRAI FESTIVAL WHICH WAS CELEBRATED IN MADURAI  IN 2011 TOO IN THE MONTH OF APRIL.

The following are the list of events in the CHITHIRAI THIRUVIZHA....

KODI YETRAM [FLAG HOISTING]Meenakshi Koyil.jpgDuring this event, the chief priest of the Meenakshi Amman Temple hoists the holy flag at the Kodi Maram [Flag post] of the temple. This event declares the long event open. The holy flag stays on the flag post till the festival is over.

 

Meenakshi.jpgPATTABISEKAM: Meenakshi is crowned as the Queen of Madurai and she rules the Pandya kingdom for the next four months and her husband Lord Sunderaswarar is crowned as the king of Madurai and he rules the Pandya kingdom for the next eight months.

DIKVIJAYAM: When Meenakshi Amman is crowned as the Queen of Madurai she conquered the whole world, she went to KAILAAYAM [The abode of Lord Shiva in the Himalayas]  to conquer. But,on seeing Lord Shiva in the battle field she liked him and married him.

 

Alagar Meenakshi Sundaresar.jpg
MEENAKSHI THIRUKALYANAM:  [MEENAKSHI’S WEDDING]
Meenakshi  Thirukalyanam is a grand wedding celebration of lord Meenakshi and Lord Shiva in Madurai . Lord Shiva came to Madurai to marry Meenakshi. It was a grand wedding celebration. This Tradition is still followed in Madurai.

THER THIRUVIZHA: {Chariot Festival}
temple view.jpgThe day after Meenakshi Thirukalyanam, is Ther Thiruvizha [Chariot Festival]. The King and Queen of Pandya Kingdom Lord Sunderaswarar and Meenakshi go to see their citizens in a well decorated chariot which is a huge and magnificent wooden structure.Thousands of people gather on the streets of Madurai to pull the chariot and to witness the celebration.

Etir Sevai:
Part of the Chithirai Brahmotsavam takes place at Lord Kallazhagar Temple at Alagarkoil, The ‘Ethir Sevai' begin on the fourth day of the festival. Alagar enters the city and the people gather in large numbers to welcome him.
 

Alagar Vaigai Elenthuarulal:
After the holy marriage of Madurai Meenakshi Amman her brother tries to come to the marriage. Lord Alagar comes from Alagarkoil to Madurai slowly and by making couple of stops on the way. The entire episode of Alagar reaching the Vaigai river bank, hears that marriage is over, gets angry and returns back to Alagarkovil after giving the gifts to Meenakshi and Sundereswarar in a mandapam in the middle of river Vaigai, is recreated and witnessed by devotees in Madurai.

JALLIKATTU:
Old_jallikattu old.jpgThis sport is conducted in a place called Alanganallur which is 30 miles from Madurai.
                  Jallikattu is a traditional sport, which is played during the PONGAL (harvest festival) in the month of January. Cape Buffaloes are famous for standing against a lion and fighting them. Most of the Jallikattu buffaloes belong to the Pulikulam breed of cattle. These cattle are reared in huge herds numbering in hundreds. These cattle are wild and only cow herd can mingle with them freely without the fear of being killed or attacked. Calves with good body characteristics and good health conditions are taken and are grown and the fully grown cattle are allowed to run in the field or ground, on the day of Jallikattu. These bulls attack because of their basic nature and not because they are frightened or irritated. The palingu(or naatu) maadu, the umblachery and the malai maadu are the other breeds of cattle that are suitable for this traditional sport.

TRAINING OF JALLIKATTU BULLS:-Madurai-alanganallur-jallikattu.jpg

 The calves that are chosen to become Jallikattu bulls are fed with nutritious diet so that they change into strong and sturdy beasts. The bulls are made to swim for exercise so that their legs grow stronger. Calves once they are grown a little are taken to small Jallikattu events so that they are familiar with the game and they are trained. Some training is given to different kinds of bulls so that they get to know the restraints of the rope. No other training is required for the bulls. Once they are released into the field, the instinct takes over.

THE GAME:

When the game is all set and the players are ready to for playing, the bulls are released in the field. The villagers run along with the bull and try to control the bull. The villagers get special prizes and cash prizes, for controlling the bull. The government said that a team of veterinarians would be present at the venue for testing and certifying the bulls for participation in the event to provide treatment for bulls those get injured.

JALLIKATTU IS A DANGEROUS GAME BUT IT IS ALSO A TRADITIONAL GAME AND IT TAKES PLACE ONLY IN MADURAI, SIVAGANGA DISTRICTS IN TAMIL NADU. BUT MADURAI IS MORE FAMOUS FOR THE JALLIKATTU. IT CAN BE LIKENED TO THE BULL FIGHTS IN SPAIN.

 

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Time Capsule-2011 by Team GVC11-13 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License