IMPORTANT FESTIVALS OF THE TEMPLE
The important festivals are as follows:
This is celebrated for seven days in the month of April/May with the hoisting of the sacred flag on the Dwajasthambam (Dwajarohanam) on the day on which the star poosam falls after the new moon occurring in the Tamil month of Chithirai (Medam in Malayalam) the festival commences. On the previous day evening vasthusanthi is performed to ward off the evils. For all the days of Utsavam much importance is given for Veda Parayanam by learned pundits. There will be Abhishekams and special poojas during this period. For the first six days the Utsavamoorthy is taken in procession in a Decorated Ratham (car) specially built for the purpose within the agraharam during nights. This procession will be accompanied by Nadaswaram and Veda Parayanam. On the Seventh day which usually would be on the day on Chithirai Star, the main Utsavam is celebrated. On this day around 5.30AM Prathikshaya Mahaganapathy Homam will be performed and after completion Rudhrabhishekam and Poomodal for the Presiding Deity will took place and at around 9.00AM the Utsava Moorthi is taken in procession on Caparisoned Elephants through the entire agraharam. When the devotees would offer, for the Lord Paddy, Rice, Jaggerry, Plaintain, Malar, Sugar, Avil and Coins in containers and this is known as “NIRAPARA”. This procession would be accompanied by Chanda Melam and it would be over by about 12 noon and thereafter Maha Dheeparadhana takes place and Annandhanam will be served in our Padasala.
The second session starts at 2 PM with the Kelikottu at the temple premises and there after Panchavadhyam commences at 2.45 PM. After playing the instruments there for about one hour the procession with Caparisoned Elephants starts with Panchavadhyam and when it reaches the Eastern Side of the Agraharam the Panchavadhyam comes to an end and Pandimelam played with Chenda commences and the procession returns to the temple around 7 PM and Maha Dheeparadhana takes place during this hour the full temple will be decorated with Dheepams and Niramala which is a worth watching and thereafter there will be display of Fireworks.
The night session at about 10 PM there will be display of the Chenda Instrument by experts on this line called “Thayambaka”. On completion of this programme at about 2 AM again the session starts from Kelikottu at the temple premises and there after Panchavadhyam commences at 2.45 AM. After playing the instruments there for about one hour the procession with Caparisoned Elephants starts with Panchavadhyam and when it reaches the Eastern Side of the Agraharam the Panchavadhyam comes to an end and with Panchari Melam procession and this goes on till dawn before termination in front of the temple and thereafter for the Elephants food will be served.
Later, at about 9 AM on that day (8th day), the Manjaneer Arattu takes place with One Elephant where the Utsava Moorthi is taken procession in the Agraharam and thereafter to the Pallasamkolam (tank) for a holy bath after the prescribed rituals when the villagers also take bath in the tank as a sacrifice. After returning to the temple the Dwajarohanam (bringing down of the sacred flag) takes place and Mahadheeparadhana is performed to the Deity and with this the Annual Utsavam Celebrations come to a close.
On a suitable day (Wednesday or Saturday) within the Utsavam period referred to as above “SASTHAPREETHI” is celebrated to please Dharma Sastha when special poojas are performed and Devotional Songs in praise of the Lord are presented and feast served to all the residents in the Agraharam as well as to those in the neighbouring areas.
Moreover during the Utsavam Celebrations before the Main Utsavam Day “MAHAGANAPATHY LAKSCHARCHANAI” is performed and prasadams will be distributed.
This falls in the month of Avani (August/September) every year. Special Poojas and Abhishekams are performed in the morning and the Unchavrithi Deity is taken in procession in the Ratham and in the Night Special Neivedyam of “ELAYADA” is offered to the Presiding Deity and will be distributed.
This is celebrated for 9 days in the month of Purattasi (September/October). The members of the village offer Abhishekam to the Deity, by turn in the morning with Dravyams such as Milk, Curd, Panchamirtham, etc. and in the Evening there will be Illumination with Dheepams in the Temple. After Mahadheeparadhana Bhajan will be there and after Special Neivedyams such as Kozhakkattai, Neiyappam, and Plantains, etc. will be distributed. On the 10th day (Vijaya Dasami) there will be special chanting of Vedas in the morning followed by KALABHABHISHEKAM (KALABHAM) to the Deity for which 4 to 5 litres of Pure Solid Sandal Paste. After adding the required perfumery items the sandal paste is converted into semi-liquid form and thereafter applied on the head (Sirasu) of the Idol which would cover the Presiding Deity fully and the next day the sandal paste is distributed as prasadam to all the villagers. After the Kalabhabhishekam there will also be a feast for the villagers.
This is usually celebrated on the Second Saturday in the month of December in praise of Lord Ayyappa. In the morning at around 8 AM there will be “LAKSHARCHANA” to Lord Dharmasastha will be performed. A namavali ‘MADHAGAJA VAHANA MAHAMATHE HARIHARA SOONO NAMOSTHUTHE” will be sung nonstop for 12 hours from 8 PM to next day 8 AM and thereafter Mahadheeparadhana. The celebration will conclude with a lunch to the villagers.
Apart from the above, daily Ganapathy Homam during the month of Adi, Avani Avittam (Sravanam), Mandala Pooja, Special Pooja and Abhishekam on Pradosham days, Panaka Pooja on the day of Thai Poosam, etc, are also performed in the temple.
(Reproduced from Souvenir released during the Maha Kumbhabhishekam held on 31.05.2002)
MELARCODE KAVADI POOJA
Thaipoosam is an important festival celebrated for Lord Subramanya. The major attraction of this pooja is the offering of Kavadi to Lord Subramanya by devotees. Kavadiyattam is associated with the thaipoosam festival. Thaipoosam is celebrated during the Malayalam month of Makaram (January-February) and the day of the star Poosam around Pournami (Full Moon).
In North Melarcode village, Kerala, the Kavadi pooja festival is being celebrated in a grand scale, by the SUBBARAMA PATTER’s Family. This festival has been continuing for the past 380 years by the descendants. Prime importance is given to the spiritual aspects such as Rudra abishekam, Vel Pooja and Singing of the ever green Kavadi songs. The Kavadi pooja is performed on the auspicious Kirthigai day in the Tamil Month of Thai (January). During the pooja, “Vellam (Jagary) Mudira” is filled in and the same will be attached to both sides of the Kavadi.
The Kavadi from Melarcode is very attractive and beautiful in all aspects and it is a testimony of the perfect workmanship. The Kavadi is of various sizes, the arched structure decorated with flowers, peacock feathers, velvet silk clothes of various colours. It takes the labour of 60 days with 10 skill full labourers working on it. The main components are the flowers, flags, the balls and the garland-all of which are made of netti-which is specially brought from Kolkatta every year. It must be noted that the Kavadis are remanufactured every year afresh. After pooja, devotees who are prepared to take the Kavadi will seek the blessing from the guru and the guru places the Kavadi in their shoulders. The Panaka pooja is conducted during the night of the Kavadi pooja day. Next day early in the morning the family members and associates aggregating around 200 people will start the Kavadi yatra to the temple town of Palani, walking the distance of 120 kilometers in 5 days.
Elaborate arrangements are in place at all the halting point’s enroute to Palani. Food is served for the Kavadi troupe and other devotees who join them at various points during the Kavadi yatra. Upon reaching Palani, the famous Panchaamirtham is prepared using the Vellam Mudira. Panchaamirtham Abishekam is performed to Lord Subramanya on the Thaipoosam day. Milk Abishekam is performed to the deity the next day.
During the entire journey, Kavadiyattam and bhajans are conducted keeping the devotees spell bound. The pooja is performed with a very spiritual fervour chanting the Kavadi songs. After Melarcode Late.Vaidyan Subramania Iyer, it is Shri.M.V.Krishna Iyer, his younger brother who is on the saddle now.
Several songs have been composed by the family members. ‘Sree Subramania Subrapatham’ has been composed by Late M. S. S. Mani Iyer, the founder Trustee of “Mayuravaha Charities”, (Bharat Batteries). He dedicated the Subrapatham to Lord Muruga at the Palani Temple. ‘Karthikeya Pancharathinam’ has been composed by Brahamashri M. V. Krishna Iyer.
Recently a CD titled “MELARCODE KAVADI POOJA” released by Mayuravaha Charities is the first of its kind in the WORLD. The CD in the mp3 format consists of Viruthams, Panaka Pooja Songs and Murugan Bhajan Songs for duration of 3 hours. The CD was launched at the Ancestral House at North Village, Melarcode with the traditional Rudra Abishekam, Vel Pooja & Panaka Pooja.
The main objective of this CD released is to propagate this ancient tradition in all parts of the world and serve as a precursor for the younger generation to take up this evergreen padathi in a big way.