Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Charming Aadi Vel Cart Parade in Colombo

“Any great symbol becomes all things to all men, age after ages it yields to men such treasures they find in their own heart” ~ Dr. Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy, ( 1877-1947), (Sri Lankan Metaphysician, Philosopher and Historian)

Kovil Ilaatha Ooril Kudi Irukka Veendaam” (Do not live where there is no temple) is a famous saying in Tamil. The wooden Vel cart decorated with fresh flower garlands, lines of electrical bulbs in Yellow and traditional cloth hanging paraded through the main streets of Colombo.The 136th Annual Aadi Vel festival was held in Colombo with colour and glamour. Beautifully decorated wooden carved cart left the Colombo Sammaankodu Sri Kathirvelaayuthaswamy temple in Sea Street left in the morning on July 23rd 2010 and reached the Sammaankodu Sri Maanikka Vinayagar temple at night and stayed ther for three nights. The same cart left the Sammaankodu Sri Maanikka Vinayagar temple on 26th July 2010 in the morning and reached the Colombo Sammaankodu Sri Kathirvelaayuthaswamy temple in Sea Street on July 27th 2010 early morning. The colourful procession paraded through the main streets in Colombo. Traditional musicians playing the Thavil and Naathaswaram led the procession. The festival wended through many main streets in Colombo after a lapse of 16 years. The colourful procession started from Pettah and travel through York Street, Echelon Square and Galle Road to Bambalapitty, which has been the route for the annual Vel festival for more the 100 years.

“There was a Cholera outbreak in Sri Lanka in 1874, and the British rulers did not allow the devotees to attend the annual festival and be on the Paatha Yathra to Kathirgaamam. The devotees in Colombo got together, and celebrated the festival. This led us to celebrate the Vel festival in Colombo annually” says the Chief Trustee of the Colombo Sammankodu Sri Kathirvelaayuthaswamy temple Mr. A. Manickavasagar.

The idols of Lord Murugan and his two wives Goddess Valli Ammai and Goddess Theivayaanai paraded in the cart and blessed the devotees on the way. Special Poojas were offered during their comfortable stay at Sammaankodu Sri Maanikka Vinayagar temple in Bambalapitty. The whole temple was decorated beautifully with Yellow colour lights, Banana leaves and fresh flower ganrlands. Devotees thronged the temple in large numbers to welcome and worship the visiting deities and enjoy the traditional musical concerts. And traditional musicians played throughout the colourful procession filled the streets of Colombo. Many devotees worshipped the visiting deities, fulfilled their vows and made new vows.

Illuminated sign at the main entrance of the Sammaankodu Sri Maanikka Vinayagar temple

A view from Lorenz Road in Bambalapitty

The visiting deities travel in a wonderfully carved wooden cart

Mood and moment of the festival

A view of the Raaja Kopuram of the Sammankodu Sri Maanikka Vinayagar temple from Davidson Road in Bambalapitty

According to Kantha Puraanam,Lord Murugan used his Vel to defeat all the evil forces

Devotees throng the temple in the morning and night

Men in White Loincloth in a stretch on the streets

The Vel as a symbol of Murugan's divinity is an object of worship in some of the temples of Lord Murugan

Somaskanda Ramesh Kurukkal of Sammaankodu Sri Maanikka Vinayagr temple accompanied the deities

The worship of Vel holds a unique position

According to the Hindu mythology, Goddess Parvathi presented the Vel (Spear)to her son Murugan as an embodiment of her Shakthi (Power and Energy) to vanquish the evil forces

A long procession on its way

Drummers kept the beat throughout the festival

Business establishments in Sea Street closed to celebrate the festival

Nanthi Kodi or flag of the divine Bull falies high in Bambalapitty

Drum made of animal skin beatsfor the festival

Kanthaswamipillai Somasundaram (53) from Thalawakelle enjoys Kaavadi dancing

The Vel is the symbol of valour, and of the triumph of good over evil

Pathmabhooshanam,Kalaimaamani Valaiyaapatty Subramaniam-Thavil,Thiruppathy Haribabu-Naathaswaram kept the festival in high spirit with their magnificient musical performance

Holy Vel is a mystic divine weapon of Lord Murugan

Ardent devotees of Lord Murugan worship the holy Vel and it is considered as the visible form of God's power

An elaborate idols of Lord Murugan and his two wives Goddess Valli Ammai and Theivayaanai

Saint Arunagirinaathar sings the Vel is a mysterious divine power in Thirupugazh

Cute carvings inside Sammaankodu Sri Maanikka Vinayagar temple

Traditionally torch is carried in front of the procession

Indian musicians perform during the Vel festival

Hinduism is generally regarded as the world's oldest organized religion

Traditional music is being played

Devotees participated in the four mile long procession

Charming view of the Raaja Kopuram of Sammaankodu Sri Maanikka Vinayagar temple

Parades alongwith the morning traffic

Ajith Gunawardena drives the tractor which pulls the Vel cart. He says he is glad and blessed to drive the Vel cart

Devotees flock the streets to worship and fulfill their vows

The brand new Tractor pulls the Vel cart

The worship of Vel is prominent and popular in Sri Lanka

Lord Murugan is known and considered as the God of War

Brand new tractor which pulls the Vel cart is decorated with freh flower garland

Many banners from well-wishers hang around the city during the Vel festival

Pigeons are sit on the edge of the Sammaankodu Sri Maaikka Vinayagar temple

The festival is celebrated for five days

Elaborately decorated Vel cart makes its annual procession

Beautifully carved wooden Horses on the Vel cart

Vel cart and vehicles are sharing the space on the street

The Trident which was immersed in ocean water during the water cutting ceremony in placed on the Vel cart

The Vel cart parades on Galle Road in Bambalapitty

Tots are seated on the edge of the moving Vel cart

The Vel embodies the power and energy of Lord Murukan

The beautiful procession moves at snail's pace

Traditional Thavil musician during the procession

Vel is one such festival with so much exuberance that people participated with devotion

The deities are being taken on a procession by the devotees

Embroidered Sun and Moon taking the lead in the procession

The deities are being paraded in a charming procession

Hindus worship the holy flame by burning the Camphor

A view of the newly being built Raaja Kopuram the Old Kathiresan temple

The festival is held to honour Lord Murugan over his victory of winning the evil forces

Camphor is widely used in Hindu religious ceremonies

Karakam dancers along the streets in Colombo

Hinduism is formed of diverse traditions

Double decker bus service from Moratuwa to Pettah route number 100 travels on Galle Road in Bambalpitty

Night view of the Sammaankodu Sri Maanikka Vinayagar temple

Smashing the Coconuts to fulfill the vows

Many from far and wide gathered to witness the most colourful festival in the city

Lord Murugan along with his consorts Valli Ammai and Theivayaanai are colourful decorated kept in front of the Sanctum of Sammaankodu Sri Maanikka Vinayagar temple


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